Keeping a healthy mind is essential to leading a fulfilling life. Without our cognitive function, brain power and memory it is difficult to get through the day without feeling tired, foggy or unmotivated.
Our brains have high nutrition needs and require lots of energy to continue performing all of those daily tasks we aren’t even aware of. Thankfully, there are particular foods packed full of nutrients which help to keep the mind active, nourished and happy because if the brain is well fed with the right nutrients then you are going to feel so much better.
There is one particular energy source which the brain cannot do without and that is glucose. Have you ever seen a person having a hypoglycaemic attack? They appear drunk, they slur their words, they act in all sorts of weird ways and they lose the ability to function properly. That is because the brain is being starved of its energy source. Without a constant supply of glucose the brain can shut down to the point where it is hard to concentrate, speak or perform daily tasks without feeling lethargic and unable to think properly.
Of all the calories consumed in a persons day the brain takes about 20% of those calories for itself which must be from nutritious foods otherwise the brain gets very unhappy.
Our health can be very complicated and all systems, parts and mechanisms intertwine with one another to manage the body and keep it in homeostasis (where everything is functioning properly), so if your brain is being starved of nutrients that does have a knock-on effect to other body systems leaving you feeling terrible from head-to-toe.
So, what foods are essential for better brain health and better overall mindset?
First, let’s talk about those foods which cloud the mind and prevent the brain from functioning at its best.
- Processed sugar
- Processed foods
- Trans fat & bad fats
- Soft drinks/soda
- Vegetable oils
- Too much salt, and the wrong kind
- Fruit juice
Consuming these foods on a regular basis deprives the brain of its energy source, glucose. When people hear the word glucose they more than likely think they shouldn’t be eating it because it is bad for you but it is only harmful to your health when it is in the wrong form such as lollies, ice cream or donuts.
Processed sugar is derived from sugar cane or sugar beets and is used in the creation of sweet foods and beverages. Processed sugar is even found in foods where you wouldn’t think it would be. Almost every item on the supermarket shelf has some form of sugar in it to entice consumers to eat the product because it lights up the senses and makes them want more. This type of sugar is not processed by the body effectively enough as the body is not designed to metabolise processed sugar. However, naturally occurring sugars have a more nutritious effect on the body leaving you feeling energised and healthy.
Yes, glucose is the #1 food source for the brain but to preserve brain health there are a couple of other nutrients which the brain requires to maintain its mental wellness such as:
- Curcumin (turmeric)
- B vitamins
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
All natural foods contain a combination of many different macronutrients (carbs, fat & protein) as well as micronutrients (vitamins & minerals). Consuming these natural foods every day and every week provide your brain the right kind of food for better brain health:
- Walnuts (they are shaped like little brains after all)
- Oily fish
- Nuts and seeds
- Plenty of fresh vegetables. Eat a rainbow
- Kiwi fruit
- Green tea
- Dark chocolate (YUM!)
- Coconut oil
- Dairy products
- Citrus fruits
- Red meat
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