But--and here's the kicker--your brain is not only a hog when it comes to nutrients, but it's also quite picky as to which nutrients it allows in past the "blood brain barrier." Only certain types of nutrients can get past the barrier to your brain, so feeding your brain with healthy brain foods can be slightly more complicated than you might think. But, don't stress your brain worrying about this. We will explain it all in clear detail below.
Get a Healthy Brain by Feeding It Brain Foods
The sad fact is that most Americans are starving their brain cells because they eat a SAD diet--that is, the Standard American Diet. The SAD diet lacks almost all the nutrients necessary to feed your brain! So how do you feed your brain? Before we can tell you that, we have to explain about the blood brain barrier, or BBB.
The BBB is just what is sounds like--a barrier that restricts which types of molecules can pass through and reach your brain. In layman's terms, the BBB basically only allows very small molecules (such as oxygen, hormones, carbon dioxide) to pass through. Other types of small molecules, such as glucose, can also pass through the BBB, but they have to first be paired with the appropriate proteins before they will be allowed to pass. As you can see, trying to feed your brain with the right brain foods that will pass through the BBB is a little more complicated than you might have thought at first.
What Kinds of Brain Foods Really Feed Your Brain?
Your brain has several types of "preferred" foods, namely glucose, essential fatty acids, and certain amino acids. Let's take a closer look at each of these.
Glucose is basically sugar. It's not table sugar, but the sugars that your body extracts from digesting simple and complex carbohydrates. Best food sources for glucose include whole grains, complex carbohydrates, AFA blue-green algae, dark chocolate, and, in a pinch, a glass of juice. Skip the simple sugars found in candy bars because you will experience a brain crash after getting a temporary brain high from eating said candy bar!
Essential Fatty Acids
Did you know that "fat brains" are happy brains? It turn out that our brains are made up of about 60% fat, so our brains are always starving for essential fatty acids like omega-3. To get essential fatty acids to your brain, feed yourself brain foods like seeds and nuts, avocados, AFA blue-green algae, and deep water fish.
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, which your brain needs to function well. Your brain needs a variety of different amino acids to be well-fed. These amino acids include glutamine, GABA, isoleucine, phenylalanine, arginine, taurine, methionine, valine, lysine, glycine, leucine, alanine, and histidine. While you can certainly supplement these separately with capsules, it's much easier to eat healthy whole foods. These healthy brain foods are no different than the foods you would find on any healthy lifestyle diet plan: fruits and vegetables, plenty of unsaturated oils (olive oil is a good choice), and a variety of whole grains.
Dine well on brain foods and you will not only have a sharper mind, but you will also feel better. A healthy brain produces better moods, as scientific studies have recently indicated. A healthy brain is crucial no matter what kind of lifestyle you have or what levels of stress you cope with in your life. So eat right, rest well, and enjoy!
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