Your brain uses foods as fuel, just like cars use gasoline as fuel. Different car and fuel combos work better than others, just like some people and food combos will work better than others. Probably not the best comparison because there are only a few types of gasoline, while there are many foods, recipes, and diets.
You get the idea, though. 20% of the calories you consume are consumed by your brain. You might as well get your bang for your calories in brainpower, rather than weak calories. Unfortunately, eating healthy tends to mean that you are sacrificing flavor.
This is one of the reasons that diets tend to fail. You have to have the willpower to remain constant with your diet. While eating does tend to be a tradeoff between flavor and health, I’m sure there are some foods where you can find the best of both worlds.
There will probably also be times when you will have to make the sacrifice for your health. You can do it. I know you can. I believe in you. The power of salmon! Now time for the meat and potatoes literally: some brain foods that are beneficial for the brain.
One of the best foods that you eat and do your brain a favor would probably be salmon. This delicious fish is filled with omega-three fatty acids, which are essential to our health yet are not found in many foods nor are the substance produced in our bodies. Salmon is one of the best sources of this polyunsaturated fat.
Omega 3’s allow for better communication between brain cells because omega 3 plays an important role in lubricating the surface of brain cell membranes. The substance is also known for improving memory and helping to prevent diseases such as dementia or Alzheimer’s.
Omega 3 found in salmon also has many benefits to physical health. It may not seem relevant to mental health, but think about it: the brain and body are interconnected and affect each other.
Therefore what is good for the body will be good for the brain. Some benefits that omega 3’s have on physical health include lowering cholesterol and triglycerides, which are both contributors to blood clots, providing lubricant for joints to ease arthritis.
Another note: Alaskan wild salmon is probably better than regular salmon because foods are always better when found in their natural form.
Processed Foods = Bad
This leads me to my next point, which is to avoid processed foods. Unfortunately, there are many stores and fast-food chains that promote processed foods making it hard to avoid them, but you have to if you want to eat healthily.
There are many reasons to avoid eating processed foods such as containing artificial unpronounceable ingredients, being low in nutrition, having refined carbohydrates, lacking fiber, being loaded with sugar, burning only half the calories from digesting the food.
The worst part of this is that food companies pack these foods with ingredients that are meant to keep us addicted to the foods. Simply avoid processed foods. Both your brain and body will thank you.
Sugar and Fats
Sugar is one of the most common ingredients in food. We crave the food and just can’t get enough of it, yet it is probably one of the worst types of foods for you. It has empty calories, meaning that when you eat it, you are consuming calories, but are getting no vitamins, minerals, or nutrients.
I’ve even read that eating sugar is worse for you than eating nothing at all. We do need some sugar, though, because glucose is one of our brain’s main sources of energy. As for fats, yes, you do need some of them, but not as much as you might think.
I personally have heard conflicting reports, some saying that fats are good for you, and some saying that fats are not. We probably needed saturated fat and meats back in prehistoric times when we didn’t know how when our next meal was going to come.
We needed that caloric density, which fat has nine calories per gram. We don’t need that anymore, obviously. We probably still have some of these caveman characteristics left in us.
Also, our brains are roughly 60%% fat. Given this, you should eat meats and saturated fats, but should be in moderation.
Unsaturated fats such as canola oil, flaxseed oil, olive oil, omega 3’s are usually said to be good for you.
I cannot forget to mention blueberries as one of the necessary brain foods. Personally, I have heard blueberries mentioned as healthy several times. They are natural and organic with antioxidants that were grown from the Earth.
Being organic is another thing to look for when looking for healthy foods. Studies have shown blueberries to be enhancing cognitive abilities as well as slowing down the decline of such abilities as memory or motor skills.
Consuming blueberries also help prevent diseases. Blueberries have vitamin E and C, folate, niacin, and riboflavin.
The magic berry also has anti-aging properties as well as ellagic acid and proanthocyanidins. Chances are you have no idea what these words are. Feel free to ask me what they mean or any other question.
Basically, blueberries are a miraculous fruit that has many potent effects on health. There is a diet out there where people eat a cup of blueberries for each of the three meals throughout the day, mixed in with other foods, of course.
You need some variety. Just remember not to add in any unhealthy additions to the blueberries such as sugar, which gives you empty calories.
The berry can also be added to snack foods such as pancakes or ice cream to make them a little healthier.
The truth about milk
The food pyramid says that we should eat dairy, but there is good reason to cut back on it. We commonly see milk promoted as a highly nourishing food drank by athletes. I always heard you drink your milk if you want to grow up big and strong as a kid. Unfortunately, these messages have probably misguided us and caused us to overvalue the importance of milk.
The truth is that milk only has two nutrients vital to health: calcium and potassium. We’ve all heard about how milk is said to strengthen bones, but there is no scientific evidence to support that milk helps prevent bone fractures. In addition, people in Africa drink very little milk and have some of the lowest rates of osteoporosis in the world.
Astonishingly, 75% of the world’s population is lactose intolerant. I’m not saying to avoid milk like the plague, but I also hope this gives you enough reason to know that you don’t need to drink milk in order to be healthy.
Give vegetarianism a thought
There are many people who have reported feeling great after becoming a vegetarian. By devoting yourself to only eating organic, plant-like foods, you are committing to eating the foods that are highly regarded as healthy by professionals.
When talking about how healthy meats are, there is generally debate. Not so much when it comes to a plant diet. You have three basic choices when it comes to diet: being a herbivore, carnivore, or omnivore.
Most people are omnivores. That’s likely the way to go given that you want variety in your diet. If there were one direction to fall towards, it would be Mother nature’s gifts. Meat products are said to contribute to acidosis and the production of IGF1 protein, which causes cancer, especially if you are older and don’t need it.
I know that the food pyramid says to eat a lot of grains, but certain grains such as wheat and barley contain gluten, which expands in your stomach as the plant’s defense mechanism.
You have my reasons that put milk in its a place rather than fantasizing about its value. I think we see a pattern here that the food pyramid is not a good guide for health. I
It has been replaced by the food plate. Not all scientists believe that the food pyramid is a good guide.
Dr. Walter Willet PhD, MD, said that he believed the food pyramid to be “utterly ridiculous.” What really seems to be a good diet for your health is to eat only fruits and vegetables. They are loaded with vitamins and minerals. They have antioxidants, which help to eliminate free radicals.
Earth grown foods do not have saturated fat, which contributes to LDL cholesterol levels and hardening of arteries, unlike meats. Due to this fact, vegetarians are less likely to develop heart disease. By going vegetarian, you are putting forth a sound investment in your health.