Everyone understands that eating is a vital function of life and that if you don’t eat, you will eventually die. However, what many people don’t realise is that the choice of food you eat is the most powerful decider of health. And not just your long term health but also how you feel on a day to day basis. Your food choices are impacting your body and more importantly, they are impacting your brain.
For example, when you eat sugars, (including carbohydrates such as bread, cereal, cakes, biscuits) or trans fats (found in cakes, doughnuts, fast food, microwave popcorn), you are lowering your physical energy and impacting your ability to be positive and creative. You may feel mentally foggy, tired, anxious or even depressed.
The food you eat is the fuel for your life but not all fuel is created equally. And certainly when it comes to manufactured food, it is hardly fuel at all. It’s a bit like the fuel you put in your car. You can put in top quality fuel that allows your car to run at maximum efficiency or you can choose fuel that is of lower quality. Your car will still run, but it will be sluggish, underpowered and potentially develop problems over time.
So how do you choose food that will ensure your body and brain is fuelled in the best way possible? In a way that supports your metabolism and increases your brain activity?
Here’s some of my favourite suggestions ...
We’ve been told for years that eggs are full of cholesterol but in truth, they are absolutely beneficial when it comes to supporting your body and your brain. Eggs contain approximately 6g of Protein, Vitamin B12 and vital Omega 3 fatty acids; they deliver amino acids such as Tryptophan that helps your body produce serotonin which is not only the happiness hormone but also acts as a neurotransmitter; they offer a pre-stage of Acetylcholine that plays a huge role in learning and memory and also in improving muscle contraction ability.
If you feel like you’re forgetful or have a bad memory, then eating eggs could really help.
Kale is such an amazing vegetable that it even has its own holiday! National Kale Day has been observed on the first Wednesday of October since 2013 and this vegetable really packs a punch when it comes to supporting your brain.
Kale is full of Vitamin C, an anti-oxidant which preserves your brain receptors and cells from premature breakdown; Vitamin B to help with stress, depression, brain aging and improving lifespan; Folate for brain development; and Vitamin K to deliver anti-oxidants, anti-inflammatories and to protect the many neuro pathways in your brain.
In addition, studies from Oxford University have confirmed the presence of Folic Acid, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin B12 which reduce brain atrophy (wasting away) especially in the areas of the brain that Alzheimer’s affects most.
While all nuts offer amazing benefits to your body and brain, the absolute champion is the walnut. Full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, they may reduce brain inflammation and help keep your brain younger for longer.
In a United States study, it was proved that adults of all ages experienced improved learning, memory recall and reaction times by adding walnuts to their daily diet.
Most spices deliver support to your brain but Turmeric is absolutely outstanding.
The most important component of the Turmeric root is Curcumin which helps your brain to handle inflammation, is a natural pain reliever, assists with Diabetes, Seizures and helps with Cancer, even the metastases that might already be present.
One of the most exciting discoveries about Turmeric is that it acts as an antidepressant that is potentially more powerful than Prozac. And even better news is that it has absolutely no side effects allowing you to combine it with other natural remedies which can help with depression.
*Always choose whole root powder and add fresh cracked black pepper and a fat or oil component.
The energy our brain needs is glucose and the MTC’s (medium-chain triglycerides) in Coconut Oil are broken down to ketones which feed the brain directly by bypassing the glucose metabolism system in your body. A saturated fat, it contains different chains of fatty acids that are easily broken down by your body for digestion and have no impact on your liver.
Coconut Oil is also useful in reducing hunger cravings as it gives energy to your brain and your mitochondria (the power stations from inside your cells). Adding Coconut Oil to your diet can therefore aid in weight loss.
One of the most profound uses of coconut oil is in helping fight insulin resistance a key factor in diabetes. And with latest research suggesting that Alzheimer’s could in fact be classified as Type 3 Diabetes (diabetes of the brain), coconut oil could be a promising treatment for this disease.
Our gut has a lot in common with our brain and the Microbiome, bacteria in your intestinal tract, plays a much bigger role than you might think. Your gut is like a second brain, a backup brain that produces around 30 neurotransmitters impacting your overall health, your mood and even your decisions.
Ideally, the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria in our gut should be balanced but the food we eat, stress and medications can put this balance out of whack. When there are too much bad bacteria, toxicity will create numerous negative effects on your brain. Eating live yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut or other fermented foods will help you restore the balance in your gut while improving your memory and general brain function.
Berries are top of the list when it comes to fruit. They are not only delicious but they also produce a neurotrophic factor, (promoting growth and regeneration) that will stimulate your brain. Low levels of this factor are associated with several neurological disorders including schizophrenia.
Berries have the power to protect your brain from chronic inflammation, remove heavy metals from brain cells and help get rid of toxic proteins that are linked to Alzheimer’s disease for example. They also improve your brain’s ability to make changes and experience improvement throughout your lifetime by increasing brain plasticity.
Adding these seven simple foods to your diet will improve the function of your brain while supporting your body to be healthier. And don’t forget to add a sprinkling of joy and happiness to truly bring your body and brain to life!
Martina Waidhas is an alternative health practitioner, medical intuitive, healer and communicator who works with both humans and animals to facilitate healing in body, mind and soul. She has studied a wide range of healing practices including epigenetics, quantum healing, energy psychology, spinal column and joint therapy and has achieved a master level in both Reiki and the NIS (neurological integration system) therapy. As a former chef, Martina is passionate about the link between food and illness and brings a holistic approach to her work that is second to none. Her unique combination of skills gives her an insight and range of healing practices that allow her to tailor her treatments to suit each individual client.