8 powerful nutrients to keep your brain nimble!

8 powerful nutrients to keep your brain nimble!

Make two fists with your hands. Place them together facing in, with the wrists touching. That's your brain!

 

Now stretch out your fingers - that's what a brain cell (neuron) looks like. (The outstretched fingers are called dendrites).

 

Congratulations! You're officially a trainee neurosurgeon (recommended: 10 more years of university).

 

Today I talk brains.

 

Because it's easy to neglect that boiled cauliflower sitting up there inside your skull. It doesn't give much feedback, like your stomach would if you devoured a whole greasy pizza. Or your heart after 5 coffees.

 

Your brain is quietly stoic. Weathering the effects of poor nutrition without so much as a peep (until, of course, years later when it decides to short-circuit).

 

That's why proactive nutrition is important.

 

And science says there are certain food-based compounds that are particularly important to keep your thinking blob on it's game.

 

 

1. The right kind of fat

 

Your brain is composed of upwards of 60% fat! Within that there’s polyunsaturated (omega-3’s), saturated and a big whack of cholesterol. Fat keeps your cell membranes flexible & functional, allowing nerve impulses to be conducted smoothly and molecules to move in & out of the cell.

 

Trans fats are a different story. They’re the evil altered kind, with a strange frankenstein structure that creates cell-membrane stiffness & dysfunction.

 

EAT: Fats from pastured animals & wild seafood. Coconut oil, egg yolks, ghee, tallow, butter, high-quality dairy fat, avocados & SOME nuts & seeds (remember, these fats are highly unstable & can be prone to oxidation. Also, they’re rather hefty in omega-6, which counters the anti-inflammatory effect of omega-3.

 

AVOID: trans fats from high-temperature cooking with industrial seed & vegetable oils. Margarine, shortening, refined plant oils, baked goods & pre-packaged sweets, takeaway, fried foods, low-quality confectionary.

 

2. Choline from organs & egg yolks

 

How often have you sat down and said - Gee! I’m really craving some choline tonight! ? It’s not a top-of-mind nutrient. Nor do we readily embrace its sources in modern society. You see, choline is a strange compound - half water-soluble, half fat-soluble, loosely grouped with the b-vitamins but-not-really. It’s an enigma with huge import for brain & nervous system health.

 

It’s part of every cell in your body. A crucial factor for methylation - a process involving DNA transcription & gene expression. Tiny growing babies need ample choline to form their brain & spinal chord. Low levels have been associated with fatty liver disease.

 

And yet - we neglect it. Time to bring it back!

 

EAT: pastured eggs yolks & organic organ meat regularly - liver & heart is best.

 

3. Anthocyanins from berries

 

Here’s one presciption you won’t need to hold your nose to stomach. Brightly coloured berries!

 

Dark-purple delicacies contain anti-inflammatory & anti-oxidant flavonoids called anthocyanins. These little heros protect cells from free-radical damage. And because the brain is so high in fat, saving it from the effects of toxins & oxidation is paramount.


EAT: in-season blueberries, mulberries, blackberries - the gamut of deliciousness.

 

4. Water

 

Booooring! Another reason to drink water. Feel like this message is a little mouldy?

 

It has to be said. The brain needs pure H20 to stay hydrated and happy. Largely water, brain tissue needs ample wet stuff to maintain proper signaling & function.

 

DRINK: pure, filtered water to thirst during the day. Aim for a glass upon waking, one between meals, pre & post exercise & before bed. Always add a pinch of natural salt to remineralize.

 

5. Cocoa flavanols

 

Huzzah! Now we’re speaking your language.

 

Chocolate has too many benefits to list - but here’s one relevant to the brain.

 

It is linked to improved memory. Studies have shown the benefits of cocoa flavanols on a part of the brain called the dentate gyrus, linked to age-related memory.

 

EAT: only the highest-quality, organic dark chocolate.

 

AVOID: those containing GMO soy lecithin, excess sugar, milk solids & other artificial flavourings.

 

6. Proteins for neurotransmitter synthesis

 

Neurotransmitters are the chemical messengers of the brain. They inform our every mood, bodily function. You may have heard of ones like serotonin & dopamine. Well, they’re all originally made from proteins.

 

Thus, you need a diet providing high-quality amino acids to sythesize high-quality neurotransmitters.

 

EAT: tryptophan from pastured turkey meat, bananas & chocolate - the precursor to serotonin. Glutamine from bone-in stews and bone stocks - the precursor to GABA. Tyrosine from eggs, fish & poultry - the precursor to dopamine.

 

7. Herbs & spices such as turmeric, ginger, cumin, sage, basil & rosemary

 

More anti-inflammatory, neuro-protective miracle foods!

 

There is a wealth of research supporting the current turmeric fetish. And rightly so! It is anti-oxidant gold. Protecting your precious neurons & staving off plaque formation. Many other traditional cooking spices are similarly potent, such as cumin, garlic, ginger.

 

More verdant, cooling herbs such as sage, basil & rosemary are increase circulation to the head, offer anti-inflammatory/anti-ox benefits and improve memory.

 

8. B12 from animal foods

 

B12 is a water soluble vitamin that is involved in every cell process in the body. And getting enough is a problem - especially if you’re a vegetarian or have low stomach acid.

 

You need it for proper brain function, blood formation, nerve transmission & to keep Alzheimer’s at bay. And 50 billion other reasons. Make sure you’re getting enough!


EAT: animals. There are no adequate vegetable sources, sorry! Eggs, liver, red meats, seafood & dairy will set you straight.

 

And there you have 'em! 8 wonder foods to support the health of your long-suffering brain. Are you getting them in? What are your favourites? Is there a way to combine them ALL!?

 



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