We all know that the food we eat can affect our bodies. But, what about the greater impact food can have on the brain? An article written in Psychology Today discusses the mind-gut connection in relation to the immune system and how food can either prevent or cause certain sickness. We are constantly putting our bodies under stress, physically and mentally. When the body is under stress it releases what are called inflammatory cytokines, which call the immune system to action. Inflammation works to your benefit every day to fight off all the pathogens in the air that make you susceptible to illness. However, high levels of inflammatory response for prolonged periods can lead to chronic diseases like anxiety, high-blood pressure, and auto-immune diseases. Where does the gut get involved in all of this? The gut plays a key role in regulating our immune response, so what we put in our body could make the difference as to whether or not we are healthy, both mentally and physically.
Food can directly affect everything in our bodies from our mood and energy levels to our memory. “Brain fog” is a common term used to describe people who experience symptoms of confusion, forgetfulness, lack of focus and mental clarity. Paying more attention to the foods you are eating instead of just being consumed with cutting calories or eating less can help clear the body of toxins that are affecting your brain negatively and clear the mind of its brain fog. Focus on filling your gut with nutrient-dense, whole foods to help your brain thrive. Your leaner looking frame will just be the icing on the cake. Here are 12 super-foods to start incorporating into your diet today.
Celery is one of the richest sources of luteolin, a plant compound that is said to lower the rates of age-related memory loss. Luteolin calms inflammation in the brain, which doctors and scientists alike now believe to be the primary cause of neuro-degeneration. By inhibiting the action of inflammatory cytokines as earlier mentioned, luteolin can prevent the onset of degeneration in the brain.
2. Bee Pollen
The wide range of nutrients found in bee pollen makes it a great natural energizer. Pollens are about 40% protein and are rich in folic acid, free amino acids, and lots of B-complex, which can help keep you going all day by enhancing the brain’s stamina and fighting off fatigue. So, forget the cup of joe. Add a teaspoon of bee pollen to a smoothie or shake for a boost of energy when you need it for those early morning meetings or that extra push in the early afternoon.
3. Bone Broth
Simply put, bone broth is homemade stock made from animal bones such as turkey or venison. When you ingest bone broth, it feeds the body with collagen, which is the building block of cells, bones, ligaments, and the brain. A Harvard study showed that people with auto-immune disorders experiences a relief of symptoms when drinking bone broth, some achieving complete remission. The glycine found in this broth has also been shown to help improve both sleep and memory.
4. Dark Chocolate
Not all chocolate is created equal. Quality dark chocolate does have some significant health benefits. Not only is it rich in fiber, Iron and Magnesium, the flavonols in dark chocolate improve blood vessel function, which improves blood flow to the brain and in doing so improves cognitive function and memory. It also contains stimulant substances like caffeine and theobromine, which can improve brain function in the short term. Dark chocolate is also one of the most powerful antioxidants in the world. Cacao is so powerful that it actually contains 15 times more antioxidants than blueberries and 20 times more than green tea. Before you get too excited and reach for the Reese’s, make sure the chocolate you buy is high quality organic dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa. In my research I found one company, Hnina Gourmet that makes chocolate truffles with a 95% raw, organic cacao, making it one of the healthiest chocolates out there. Check out http://www.Hninagourmet.com.
5. Sunflower Seeds/Pumpkin Seeds
Both sunflower and pumpkin seeds contain a rich mix of protein, omega fatty acids and B vitamins, which aid in giving you added energy. They also contain tryptophan, which the brain converts into serotonin to boost your mood and combat anxiety and depression. Lastly, a handful of seeds will give you your daily recommended amount of zinc, a supplement aiding in enhancing memory and thinking skills.
Beet roots contain high concentrations of nitrates, which are converted into nitrites by bacteria in the mouth. These nitrites help open blood vessels in the body, increasing blood flow and oxygen to the brain, which helps boost its function. In one study, MRI scans showed that after eating a high nitrate diet, some older adults had increased blood flow to the frontal lobe, which is the area most commonly associated with dementia and other cognitive conditions.
Nitrates can also be found in spinach, increasing blood flow to the brain and improving mental performance. In addition to preventing or delaying dementia, the nutrients in spinach can also aid in preventing cancer cell and tumor growth.
8. Coconut oil
Our bodies are well-oiled machines, with our brains made up of 60% fat. Low levels of fats in food can contribute to depression, Alzheimer’s, and dementia. Incorporating good healthy fats into the diet, even moderate amounts of saturated fat like coconut oil, can help in raising good cholesterol levels, weight loss, and combat dementia. It acts as an anti-inflammatory and has been linked in helping prevent the onset of these brain disorders.
Nuts, especially walnuts, are extremely good for the brain and nervous system. Like coconut oil, they are a good source of omega three fatty acids. They also contain vitamin E, which has bee shown to prevent many forms of dementia by protecting the brain from free radicals. While raw nuts are fine, it is best to soak them overnight for about eight hours before eating them, making them easier for the body to digest.
Maca, a root that belongs to the radish family, is most commonly available in powder form. In addition toalleviating cramps and body pain, it can also cure anxiety, mood swings, and depression. It is also known for increasing stamina. If you find yourself tired most of the time, experiment with maca to see if it helps. Just a small amount could be exactly what you need for a boost! Some have also reported an increase in mental energy and focus.
11. Chia Seeds
These seeds pack a lot of power into a tiny container. Chia seeds are high in protein and rich in omega 3 fatty acids, containing healthy fats to oil the body and mind. They help control blood sugar levels, aid in hydrating the body, and contain a good source of antioxidants. They are also one of the best sources of fiber in the world.
Turmeric, the spice that gives curry its color, contains a chemical called curcumin, which research has shown to boost memory and stimulate neurogenesis, the process of creating new brain cells. Curcumin may also calm inflammation of the brain, which is the primary cause of dementia and Alzheimer’s.
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source: Brain Analysis by Stacy W.
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