Brain Food: How to boost your mind's performance

Posted on

The importance of good nutrition for the brain can never be over emphasized

Our moods are affected either positively or negatively according to the nutrition that our bodies receive. When we do not feed our bodies, then we are very likely to become cranky and irritable. Even taking a small snack with a cup of coffee can have a significant effect on our mood within minutes.

It is important to understand just how much the brain depends on good nutrition

Any changes in energy supply to the body can alter the chemistry in the brain, and this affects how our nerves work in our bodies. The brain has neurotransmitters, and these are affected when we do not give our bodies what they need.

Our moods, sleeping patterns, thought processes and more are controlled by the neurotransmitters. A fine balance is required though, as either too many vitamins and minerals or too little of the same can damage the nerves in the brain. It is at this time that people develop problems in dealing with daily tasks that most of us take for granted.

Not all foods are equal and the brain needs a balanced diet in order to function properly

The brain is dependent upon fats, carbohydrates and protein. It also needs essential minerals and vitamins to perform its tasks properly. In most cases, our brains cease to function properly due to deficiencies in a number of minerals.

The brain receives energy from fats, proteins and carbohydrates

While necessary for bodily functions, vitamins and minerals do not supply energy to the body. Most people's brains consume 20-30% of the body's energy at rest. Many people in under developed parts of the world are unable to perform properly as their brains do not receive the right amounts of energy. Poverty stricken people really struggle with obtaining the right amount of energy foods. People who abuse alcohol are also likely to have less than normal functioning brains. Alcohol robs the brain of energy that is provided by certain nutrients.

When people are seriously nutrient deficient, then all sorts of bad things start to happen. The brain starts to slowly but surely shut down, and basic bodily functions become very difficult if not impossible to perform. Activity levels reduce significantly as does the brain's ability to transport oxygen to other parts of the body. Hormone functioning becomes impaired, and the body is unable to resist infection. People who are at this stage become rather apathetic, hopeless and sad.

Pregnant mothers should watch their nutritional intake. Unborn fetuses are especially prone to brain damage if they do not receive enough nutrition while still in the womb. These children are often born with less than satisfactory intelligence, and they have impaired cognitive functioning.

While there is some negative publicity about carbohydrates, they do play a significant role in good brain nutrition

There are simple and complex carbohydrates and it is the complex carbohydrates that we should be focusing on for proper brain nutrition. These carbohydrates include fruits, certain vegetables and whole-grain foods. Insulin is triggered by carbohydrates, and this allows blood sugar to be transported to cells where it can be used for energy. As far as the brain is concerned, the more insulin that is produced, the more tryptophan is transported to the brain. Tryptophan is used to produce serotonin. Serotonin enhances our mood and helps to calm people down and even to sleep, something which is also helped by magnesium.

In conclusion, it is vital that we get a balanced diet of fats, carbohydrates and proteins so that our brains function properly. Our brains are responsible for everything that our bodies do, so look after them.