Cutting Edge Info

Eat Right, Feel Right

Nutrition & the Brain

The brain is a highly metabolic organ. It needs calories and nutrients to function optimally. Selecting a balanced, healthy diet provides the necessary nutrients for the brain. To improve your brain function choose superior carbohydrates. These are from vegetables, fruits and gluten-free whole grains. A word about gluten. Many people do not tolerate the protein gluten found in wheat, rye or barley, and contaminated oats. In fact, gluten is inflammatory and an inflamed brain doesn't function well, possibly leading to anxiety, depression, fogginess and memory loss. Select brown rice, quinoa, or amaranth for your starches, along with the starchy vegetables corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes and legumes. Just as important as selecting high quality carbohydrates is selecting the best fats. These include fish (primarily wild caught, and excluding swordfish), nuts, seeds, avocadoes, extra virgin olive oil and flax. The B-vitamins, antioxidant vitamins & minerals, choline, phosphatidyserine and gingko biloba show promise in increasing memory. And best of all, the brain loves blueberries. Consider adding supplements after speaking with a health care provider who is knowledgeable about supplementation.

Neurotransmitters & the Brain

Neurotransmitters are brain chemical that influence how we feel and behave. Amino acids from proteins are used to make the neurotransmitters that allow brain cells to network and communicate. Their complex action is what shifts mood and changes thinking. Body dysmorphic disorder is a form of OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). It is characterized by a preoccupation with an imagined or slight defect in appearance. An oversensitivity to the feeling that your body just doesn't look right may be due to abnormally low levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin. A dysregulation of serotonin may contribute to both overeating and undereating. Make sure you have enough protein in your diet, along with the necessary nutrient co-factors, iron, folate, magnesium, thiamine, and vitamin B-6.

Exercise & The Brain

Exercise stimulates the brain to release endorphins. These feel good chemicals boost confidence levels and create optimism. Exercise increases blood flow to the brain bringing with it needed nutrients. To keep the brain healthy eat right, exercise, get enough sleep, avoid smoking and keep your brain active by reading and continued learning.