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Brain Nutrition

The brain is a complex organ that has unique nutrient needs. Good nutrition for the brain calls for a diet low in saturated fats and sugars, and high in foods rich in vitamin B. The brain needs glucose, proteins, fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients to run at peak performance.

Glucose is the brain's fuel, so an adequate intake of carbohydrates is essential for optimall brain function. See Natural Food Sources of Glucose

Glucose is obtained by eating carbohydrates and other foods that can be converted to glucose. To maximize brain performance it is important to eat quality carbohydrates from whole grains, fruits and vegetables and dairy products.

Empty carbohydrates consumed from refined sugar products are not a good source of brain fuel. Refined sugars including high-fructose corn syrup, which is low in glucose, has also been linked to cognitive impairment caused by Type 2 Diabetes. See Natural Ways to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

Milk, Eggs, liver, meats, fish and legumes are an essential source of brain fuel. Low levels of Vitamin B12 has been linked to cognitive impairment.

To function well, your brain needs a good supply of essential fatty acids known as omega-3. The brain needs glucose, proteins, fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients to run at peak performance. Since the body cannot produce these fatty acids, you need to get them from food. These fatty acids are found in fish oils, nuts, and seeds.

Consume more eggs. Eggs are an excellent source of dietary choline. Choline a necessary component of two fat-like molecules in the brain, phosphatidylcholine and sphingomyelin. They help maintain brain health.

Top 10 Brain Foods

Here is a list of the top ten brain foods that are either rich in the Omega-3 fatty acid, protein and vitamin B's and/or quality carbohydrates. See also Health Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Top 10 Brain Foods

1. Salmon
2. Eggs
3. Peanut Butter
4. Whole Grains
5. Oats/Oatmeal
6. Berries
7. Beans
8. Colorful Veggies
9. Milk and Yogurt
10. Lean Beef and Chicken

Foods Containing Neurotransmitters Building Blocks

Neurons are the core component of the brain and central nervous system. Neurons are responsive cells that transmit and process cellular signals and information. For instance, Sensory Neurons respond to touch, light, sound and other stimuli impacting the sensory organs. Motor Neurons receive sensory signals from the brain to cause muscle contraction.

Communication between Neurons is accomplished by the movement of chemicals called neurotransmitters from one Neuron to another. Certain foods contain the building blocks for Neurotransmitters and should be regularly included in your diet to ensure the body is receiving sufficient nutrients to fuel the brain. Below is a list of foods important for brain nutrition.

Important Neurotransmitter building blocks are:

Aspartic Acid is used to make aspartate and found in peanuts, potatoes, eggs and grains.

Choline is used to make acetylcholine and found in eggs, liver and soybeans.

Glutamic Acid is used to make glutamate and found in flour and potatoes.

Phenylalanine is used to make dopamine and found in beets, soybeans, almonds, eggs, meat and grains.

Tryptophan is used to make serotonin and found in eggs, meat, skim milk, bananas, yogurt, milk, and cheese.

Tyrosine is used to make norepinephrine and found in milk, meat, fish and legumes.

All of the Essential Nutrients are important nutrients for the brain, especially Vitamin B12, Folic Acid, Riboflavin (which helps increase blood flow to brain cells) magnesium and copper and Vitamin D.

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Articles on Brain Nutrition

Theory of Human MotivationTop Ten Brain Food for Children, Jeanie Lerche Davis, WebMD

(Solely) Eating Veggies Shrinks the Brain, The Times of India.

Vegetarians whose diet does not include meat, fish or milk have a six times greater chance of having significant brain shrinkage as they likely are not getting essential vitamins, such as Vitamin B12, found in meat, fish and milk.

Nutrient Effects on the Nervous System, Eric H. Chundler, University of Washington

Aerobic Exercise and Creative Potential: Immediate and Residual Effects, David M. Blanchette, Creativity Research Journal

PublicationLow Vitamin B12 Tied to Brain Atrophy, Cognitive Impairment, Megan Brooks, Medscape

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