We are what we eat

 

Sea Bass

The saying we are what we eat not only relates to the physical body we show to the world but also the brain.  Like any other body part, our brains are basically built out of the food we eat. “Emotions begin in biology, with two nerve cells rubbing together, and those nerve cells are made of nutrients in food,”  Our  bodies can not  make the mood-regulating neurotransmitter serotonin without iron and tryptophan, or produce myelin, the fatty substance that insulates your brain cells, without vitamin B12, the vitamin B12 is found in Seafood, Beef(grass-fed lean cuts) and dairy.

It makes sense that giving your body high quality fuel makes it work better in the whole, research suggests some other fascinating facts about how food influences your state of mind.  Rats fed a high fat, refined-sugar diet show reduced amounts of growth factors called neurotrophins in the brain,  scientists suspect something similar happens to sugar-loving humans. And that’s a problem because neurotrophins prompt the growth of new brain cells in the hippocampus, a part of the brain that’s key for memory.

It has also been noted that the hippocampus is smaller in people with depression, the hippocampus has been shown to grow again when the illness is treated. So it’s possible that eating a less-sugary diet could impact depression at least in part based on its effect on neurotrophins and the hippocampus.

Your brain is burning enormous amounts of glucose [blood sugar] for energy, the bi product of this are free radicals.  Those free radicals over time  damage your brain cells, that causes oxidative stress. Enough damage, and it can affect emotion by interfering with the way your brain cells function. Brain cells and the signals they send to each other are part of what creates emotion and mood.  Antioxidants like vitamins C: Good sources of Vitamin C include:   Citrus fruits and juices, such as orange and grapefruit, Kiwi fruit, Mango,Papaya, Pineapple, Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, cranberries,Watermelon,  Peppers, Broccoli, Kale, Brussels sprouts, Cabbage.

Vitamin E good sources of vitamin E include Almonds, Spinach, Avocados, Sunflower seeds(roasted), Shellfish, Trout, Olive oil, Butternut squash.

Beta carotene found in yellow, orange, and green leafy fruits and vegetables such as carrots, spinach, lettuce, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cantaloupe, and winter squash.

Flavonoids like quercetin and anthocyanidins (found in dark berries), have been shown to help prevent and repair oxidative stress.

Another anti-oxidant is chocolate, sorry i do not mean a bar of dairy milk but high quality dark chocolate, at least 85% cocoa is best and again sorry I do not mean eating a bar at a time.  Resveratrol is an antioxidant found in grapes, red wine, peanuts, chocolate and certain berries, and it has been credited with a large number of health benefits in various studies, again this is in moderation.

I will leave this post here for now but will be adding more posts with regards to nutrition and our mental well-being.  Next time I will talk of the benefits of a healthy gut and its role in our brains well being.

Please leave any comments, I like to get feedback and to interact with my readers or answer any questions you may have.

 

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