Thursday, April 19, 2012
I have been reading a most fascinating book lately, on nutrition for the brain and I won't bore you with all the details, just yet ..as intriguing as they are but focus this week on a broader topic of brain food...Thinking, dreaming, cooking, focusing, body movement, breathing, living, laughing all these functions and in fact every action you can think of require the brain. Considering that the brain is the control centre for the whole body, I think that nourishing this organ with the right for foods, should be a priority.
STOP THE CONFUSION
Interestingly the brain requires around 20% of our daily energy intake, and its preferable source is carbohydrates (the organic fresh variety of fruits and vegetables). This information is no green card to indulge in high sugar foods, quite the contrary with researchers finding that high blood sugar is associated with elevated cortisol...this hormone actually impairs memory. So keep the food as natural as possible, and choose the slow releasing carbohydrates like beans, potatoes, bananas (with some walnuts..perfect mix), apples and the majority of fresh organic produce contain fibre, this slows down the blood glucose release creating perfect energy for the brain. GRAZE LIKE AN ANIMAL, with the idea being to give your brain a steady stream of energy from fresh foods, preferably organic, eaten often.
EAT YOUR FATS
The brain is the master computer that sends chemical messages throughout the whole body, instructing the organs on what to do. This process is made possible by an important group of chemical messengers, prostaglandins, these initiate the self repair mechanisms in the body. In order to manufacture healthy brain cells and prostaglandins, the body MUST have Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. Integral to the cell membranes and enzymes within the cells.
Your brain is 60% fat and it requires supply of healthy essential fats to create healthy cells.
Interestingly these fats can also be used to treat treating depression and other psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia, as well as benefiting infant brain development.
Some great sources include; organic flax seeds, organic walnuts organic sunflower seeds, organic pumpkin seeds, cold water fish (salmon and sardines), organic avocado, organic olives and their oil.
Not all fats are created equal and the nasty trans fats found in some processed foods, and all deep fried foods can actually damage cellular structure and affect thinking by affecting the synapses. So the message is clean, keep your food as fresh, organic and healthy as possible.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
The path to a bigger, better brain is loaded with Omega-3 fats, antioxidants, and fibre. Some stand out superfoods in the brain department include:
ORGANIC BERRIES, in particular blueberries are a fantastic source of antioxidants that mop up free radicals. These compounds can also improve memory and motor skills and reverse age related decline.
Most of the Alzheimers present in society is attributed to elevated homocysteines (chemicals that are a normal protein metabolism.) In order to break down homocysteines, the body needs folate, and the B vitamins, founds in leafy organic green vegetables such as kale, spinach, silverbeet, broccoli.
Avocado provides a great source of beneficial brain fats of the monostaurated variety which promoted increased blood flow and circulation, lowering blood pressure and increasing oxygen to the brain.
Not only a great source of vitamin E, but the humble walnut also contains Omega 3 fatty acids. Walnuts also triple melatonin levels in the body, which makes them a great food to munch if you are having trouble sleeping
No coincidences that the walnut resembles to perfection the human brain.
This list is not exhaustive and this week on FACEBOOK we are going to talk all things brain food with new brain food recipes, tips and information.
Whats in Season this week....
Fresh organic walnuts are being picked from the trees as we talk, that means fresh walnut meat, and no damaged fats. Great to shell and eat with the family.
The cooler nights mean that supply and quality of organic broccoli and cauliflower getting better and better. The organic broccoli is divine at the moment.
Fresh organic papaya is back this week, truly a divine organic fruit, add to youur smoothie or just enjoy it as a delicious snack.
This week we have organic chioggio beetroots with leaves available, these beetroots have a distinctive white striping throughout the vegetable. Look and taste delicious.
Organic Spring onions are back this week and make for a perfect addition to salads or omelettes.
We also have organic broccolini coming back this week, this is perfect for kids with a milder sweeter flavour that the bigger broccoli.
"Motivation is like food for the brain. you cannot get enough in one sitting, it needs continual and regular top ups."