While your brain may be complex – the way that it determines who you are and how you move through life and perceive the world around you – taking care of it doesn’t need to be nearly as complicated. Here are some simple food habits for good brain health.
1. Fat Can be Good for the Brain
Just under two-thirds (60%) of your brain is made from fat, so you need to nourish it with high quality healthy fats. The brain prefers omega-3 fats above others, but you also need to supply it with some omega-6 fats. Essential fatty acids like this are prone to being damaged though, so try to find an undamaged blend to consume.
2. Your Brain Needs Water
Water is the main component of the brain. You need to make sure that you get enough clean water to keep your brain and body hydrated and healthy.
3. Protein is Good for Brain Health
Everyone knows that they need protein to build muscle, but it’s also necessary for neuron health. If you aren’t getting enough protein, then your neurons struggle to talk to each other. It makes it difficult for you to concentrate, which can cause memory problems and other issues. The protein you consume should be organic if it comes from animals. If you’re a vegetarian then be sure to get grains and legumes to get a complete protein.
4. The Brain is the Greediest Organ in the Body
The brain is the most demanding organ when it comes to energy. It requires a constant supply of good quality carbohydrates. Low sugar fruits and vegetables are great sources of carbohydrates for a sustained energy production, while a refined and processed carbohydrate can offer a short-term boost when needed.
Once again, whole grains and legumes are important here. They provide sustained energy release and give the body a great supply of energy. Eating a variety of fresh produce guarantees that your brain gets all the vitamins and minerals it needs to function properly too.
5. Consider How Coffee Affects the Brain
Caffeine gives the brain a quick rush of energy as it stimulates the production and release of adrenaline. That can make you feel energetic at first, but the feeling soon dissipates and leaves you craving another “fix”. You should consider drinking a herbal tea or have a nice glass of water with a little dash of lime. The last thing most people need is more stress, which is exactly what caffeine will give them.
6. You Need Carbohydrates, but only the Right Ones
Think about what it is that you’re craving. If you really want some chocolate or a lollipop, then chances are you have unstable glucose levels because you ate too many processed carbohydrates. This means that you want to get away from the addiction with small treats to wean yourself off. When people get tired out from not sleeping enough, feeling overwhelmed, and just being stressed out in general, they go for a quick fix or a burst of energy to get them through the day.
A delicious and nutritious green drink, packed full of healthy compounds, can help to balance your blood sugar levels without any cravings. Getting the right fats can also help a lot. When your cells get the fats that they need, they are better able to produce energy. This keeps energy levels high and leads to fewer energy slumps and chocolate consumption.
7. Gut Health Affects Brain Health
The idea that you are what you eat isn’t too far. It’s just that you are what you absorb. That means that you need to take care of any digestive problems that you are dealing with. You need to properly digest and absorb food and efficiently eliminate waste before you can be as healthy as possible. Your brain will only receive the nutrients that are absorbed from food, so it’s worth ensuring that your gut works well.
8. Your Brain Objects to the Same Foods your Body Does
If you have a food intolerance, such as to dairy or wheat, then your brain struggles to stay focused and it has a negative impact on memory. Researchers are still trying to understand why your brain is affected by food intolerances, but if you feel that you might be intolerant to a certain food we recommend leaving it out of your diet entirely. Do it for a few weeks and see how you feel afterwards. Interestingly, the foods that you crave the most are often the ones that are bad for you. They can create an addictive-like response in the body. There’s a good chance that if you feel you can’t live without something, the reality is that your body – not to mention your brain – can definitely do without it.
9. Food Additives Subtract from Brain Function
Take a look at the labels of the foods you eat. If you have lots of fresh produce you might not find much in the way of labels, but there are some additives in tinned and processed foods. These additives may be damaging your body, not to mention your brain. Additives are placed into foods to make them shelf-stable, so that the manufacturer doesn’t lose out because products spoil. There are some additives that are just actively dangerous. MSG is one of these. It is an excitotoxin, which basically means that it causes neuron damage and, when consumed in excess, can lead to neuron loss.
10. A Hearty Breakfast Is a Great Way to Start the Day (For your Brain at Least)
There are lots of benefits to having breakfast, including the fact that it keeps your brain going throughout the day. When you miss out on having breakfast you are setting yourself up to gain weight as it leads to eating more in the day. Furthermore, memory, mood, and focus are all tied to breakfast and can be negatively affected by missing out. If you don’t feel hungry when you wake up, then consider taking a breakfast out with you for when hunger inevitably kicks in.
It’s best to eat early, after being awake for around an hour. That’s why it could be a good idea to prepare breakfast ahead of time and eat it after reaching your destination. It’s better than a muffin and a coffee at your desk for sure. Otherwise, you could try going to bed earlier and waking up early enough to do some exercise before eating breakfast.
It can take a little time to implement these tips, but changing just one thing to begin with is a step in the right direction.