Food is always a game changer in every healthy lifestyle regime. It is also the foundation of a healthy brain. And eventually the basis of your path to a longer life. This is your ultimate list of every-day staple brain food.
1. Brain Water
Water is absolutely essential for healthy brain function. It is involved in every chemical reaction in the brain. It is also indispensable for energy production as it carries oxygen, which is necessary for brain cells to breathe and burn sugar for energy. Water is finally what your brain is made of. It fills in the spaces between brain cells and plays an essential role in forming proteins, absorbing nutrients and eliminating waste.
Lack of water is tremendously harmful. It is the primary cause of brain fog, fatigue, headaches and mood swings. You only need to lose 3 – 4 % of water intake to feel these effects. And that could easily happen simply by going about an average day that included moderate exercise and neglecting to drink water throughout.
Have at least 8 medium-size glasses of water a day, which is the equivalent of 2 litres.
2. Brain Fat
As much as 60% of your brain is made up of fat. It is not made of the type of fat you might be thinking of when having bacon or cream, however. This fat is known as storage fat and is usually visible on a body. The fat in our brain is structural fat. Structural fat is the kind of fat that is biologically active and provides support to our cells and insulation to neurons. In fact, the only fats we actually need to have with food are structural fats to support numerous structural processes in our bodies. And particularly those that our brain is not able to make itself, namely polyunsaturated fats known as PUFA’s.
PUFAs are the most abundant fatty acids found in brain cells. Among all possible types of PUFAs, omega-3s and omega-6s, are best at supporting brain health. The balance of these two fats is essential for proper neuron communication and a healthy immune system. A disruption to this balance could lead to inflammation, which can have a damaging effect on the brain in the long term. Research has found that a ratio of two-to-one (twice the amount of omega-6 to omega-3) is an ideal balance to reduce inflammation. A diet that is high in Omega-6 but low in Omega-3 would have the opposite effect and would increase inflammation in the body.
The problem today, is that people who eat a typical Western diet are eating way too many Omega-6s relative to Omega-3s. Your focus should therefore be on reducing your intake of vegetable oils, such as sunflower, corn, peanut, soybean and cottonseed, which might be adding unnecessary Omega-6 to your diet. This approach should go hand in hand with increasing your intake of Omega-3. Fish, seafood and chia seeds provide the best sources of this.
3. Brain Protein
Proteins are another top brain-healthy nutrient. They are made of amino acids, which constitute building blocks for our brains and bodies. They are essential for all brain and body functions including maintaining healthy muscles, assembling hormones and supporting all sorts of chemical reactions. Amino-acids also act as neurotransmitters which are responsible for how we think, talk, dream, process information, learn and remember. Amongst many neurotransmitters are dopamine and serotonin that play a key role in regulating our moods and keeping us happy.
Generally speaking, proteins are not hard to come by. Several foods contain a complete profile of proteins, which means that they provide all amino acids you need. These foods are generally of animal origin and include fish, milk, eggs, chicken, pork, and beef. Many plant-based foods such as legumes, grains, soybeans, and some nuts and seeds also contain good amounts of protein.
One of the richest sources of tryptophan, which is an amino acid necessary for the production of serotonin, include chia seeds, raw cacao (chocolate!), wheat, oats, spirulina, and sesame and pumpkin seeds. Tryptophan is super important for proper sleep. Animal foods like milk, yogurt, chicken, turkey and fish are also a good source. Organic whey protein is the most bioavailable source of tryptophan.
4. Brain Glucose
Carbohydrates, and specifically the type of sugar that a lot of them contain, namely glucose is another every-day essential for proper brain activity. Glucose is brain’s main fuel and the brain is critically dependent on its constant supply. You might know it from experiencing brain fog or near loss of consciousness, both usually caused by very low blood sugar. While carbohydrates are super controversial, what differentiates “good carbs” from “bad carbs” from the brain’s health perspective is the food’s specific glucose supply.
Thinking of carbs rich in glucose, focus on onions, turnips, red beets, and rutabaga. And fruits like bananas, kiwi, grapes, raisins, and dates. Honey and maple syrup are also excellent.
Instead, sugary foods like candy, cookies, and even orange juice contain plenty of other sugars but hardly any glucose. Glucose is the key difference.
5. Brain vitamins and minerals
Although they are not a direct source of energy, vitamins and minerals assist the energy production. They also play a key role in its activity, growth and vitality. Their role is furthermore to activate a variety of metabolic processes and thereby unlock the nutrition available in foods. As a result, several neurological diseases are caused by vitamin deficiencies. This, for instance, includes dementia, which is often a result of insufficient levels of vitamins B6 and B12.
Some of the most important vitamins and minerals for brain health include vitamins B, D3 and minerals, such as magnesium, copper, selenium and iron. All of these are super important and we guide you through them here. They are also the main foundation of our brand new nootropics.