Malankara World

General Interest Reading

Brain Food - The Good and the Bad

by Astrid Whiting, Columnist and Medical Exercise Specialist

There is a part of your body that uses 20% of the oxygen you breathe, requires 25% of your blood flow, needs over 30% of the water you take in, but is only 2% of your entire body weight!

What I find most interesting about this part of your body is that it demands a whopping 40% of all the nutrients you take in. What is this resource hog? It's your brain.

You Really Are What You Eat

Research clearly shows that what you eat directly influences the functioning of your brain. Memory, emotions, behaviors, thoughts, and the ability to think rationally and clearly are all affected by what foods you put in your body.

Violent, unruly, and disruptive individuals have had substantial behavioral changes when simply put on a diet of nutritious foods.

Students find their attention spans and grades improve when their diet is modified with good nutrition in mind. The list of evidence goes on and on in favor of healthy food choices.

A psychotherapist, I know, will only accept clients for behavioral modification therapy if they are willing to address their eating habits as the first step of healing.

Food is powerful stuff, period!
So, what are you feeding your brain?
Are you willing to improve your eating habits?

Bad Brain Foods

Refined, processed, and pasteurized (heated) foods are bad for your brain, not to mention the rest of your body.

When food is heated, we begin to destroy its living enzymes; its life giving force. Processed food is routinely stripped of its naturally-occurring nutrients, and then fortified with chemical ones.

Next, they pour in colors, sugars and salts. If you can't pronounce the ingredients listed on the package, chances are it's pretty bad for your brain.

Eating these types of foods can result in serious brain imbalances.

When we feed our body unnatural, lifeless, processed material, how can we possibly expect optimal performance from our brain?

Good Brain Foods

A simple strategy, and the one that is a daily component in the Healthy Habit Former, is to cover at least half of your plate with raw fruits and vegetables with each meal.

There is no substitute for all the living enzymes, vitamins, minerals, water content, proteins, and carbohydrates that fresh raw fruits and vegetables provide. No supplement can match Mother Nature's perfect, power-packed, natural foods.

Aside from raw fruits and vegetables, choose frozen or tinned vegetables. Beans, legumes, seeds, and nuts are also great sources of nutrition.

When choosing carbohydrates, such as whole-grain breads, pastas, cereals, or crackers, ensure they contain at least 3.5 grams of dietary fiber in each serving.

As far as meats go, free-range, organic-fed, drug and steroid-free meats are best. Wild fish contain wonderful oils that your brain just loves.

Let's do a little self-evaluation

- How are you generally feeling?
- Is your behavior consistently appropriate?
- Is your memory as sharp as it could be?
- Do you often have anxiety or sadness?
- Is anger an issue for you? Worse yet, violence?
- Do you think clearly?
- Do you typically have a good mood?
- How is your ability to focus, and pay attention?

These highly-important areas of life can be improved by one simple act: Eating nutritious foods.
How simple is that?

The best part of this is that you alone have control over what foods go into your body. You choose every mouthful. You decide if you are going to feed your brain optimal fuels or garbage.

This is one aspect of life where you have control. So, I urge you to take that control, and use it to your benefit.

Bon appétit!

About the Author:

Astrid Whiting, author of the Healthy Habit Former, and a columnist for an international magazine, is a Certified Medical Exercise Specialist, a Nationally Certified Personal Trainer, and Founder of Synergenix Fitness. She brings 25 years of competitive sports experience to her role as a trainer. In addition to that, she is the co-producer of the self-hypnosis CD, "Achieve your Vibrant Healthy Body."

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