Feed your brain: Best foods for healthy brain and nervous system

brain-healthy-foodMen ought to know that from the brain, and from the brain only, arise our pleasures, joy, laughter and jests, as well as our sorrows, pains, griefs, and tears. – Hippocrates

Do not call for black power or green power. Call for brain power. – Barbara Jordan

The brain is a wonderful organ. It starts working the moment you get up and does not stop until you get into the office. – Robert Frost

Brain is the most complex organ in the human body. It contains 20 billion cells and 300 billion intercellular connections. Brain is like as a central computer – it is responsible for what we feel, think, say, and do. Considering everything it does, the human brain is incredibly compact, weighing just about 3 pounds. There are foods and nutrients that are essential for brain function. Although no one “miracle” food is going to make you a genius, or cure Alzheimer’s, regularly adding “brain foods” to your diet will help you boost your IQ, improve your mood, sharpen your memory and keep your mind young.

Complex carbs. Brain uses nutrients and glucose at 10 times the rate of any other tissue. To work at maximum capacity, it needs a continuous supply of energy, ideally from complex carbs, such as oatmeal, bran, brown rice, and legumes.boy-eating-carrots

Fruits and vegetables. They provide energy and antioxidants to help maintain balance, coordination and memory function. The best antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables are blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, strawberries, raspberries, Brussels sprouts, spinach, plums, broccoli, beets, avocados, oranges, red grapes, red bell peppers, cherries, and kiwis.

Proteins. Proteins provide the building blocks for most of the body’s tissues, nerves, and organs, including brain. Protein is found in meat, fish, dairy products, legumes and nuts.

“Good fats”. The brain is more than 60% fat. Fats regulate key aspects of the immune system, blood circulation, memory and mood. “Good fats” are found in nuts (walnuts, almonds, pecans, cashew nuts), oils (olive, sunflower, flax seed, wheat germ oil), and cold-water fish (salmon, sardines, trout, herring, mackerel and tuna).

Oxygen. Brain gets 20% of the blood flow and uses 20% of the oxygen supply. Some foods, that help provide oxygen to the brain, include potatoes, onions, tomatoes, parsley, peppermint, and horseradish.healthy-eating-man

Water. Water makes up 80% of the body. It is vitally important for communication within the brain and the central nervous system. Keep a bottle of water handy so you can get your eight glasses a day.

Vitamins and minerals, that are essential for growth and functioning of the brain, include:

B complex vitamins are particularly important for the brain. B vitamins can be found in meat and meat products (such as liver and kidney), turkey, tuna, cod, whole-grains, egg yolks, green leafy vegetables, soya beans, and yeas.

Vitamins A, C and E are powerful antioxidants that fight free radicals.

Good sources of vitamin A include liver, cheese, eggs, cold-water fish (such as salmon, sardines, trout, herring, mackerel and tuna), fortified milk and yoghurt. Beta-carotene is turned into vitamin A in the body and can perform the same functions in the body as vitamin A. The main food sources of beta-carotene are yellow and red vegetables and fruits, such as carrots, red peppers, mango, melon and apricots.

Vitamin C can be found in fruits and vegetables, such as parsley, broccoli, cauliflower, bell pepper, strawberries, oranges, lemons, papaya, and Brussels sprouts.

The richest sources of vitamin E are olive, soya, and corn oil, nuts, seeds, and wheat germ.

Folic acid is also necessary for nervous system, and its deficiency can lead to neurological disorders such as depression and cognitive impairment. It can be found leafy green vegetables, legumes, sunflower seeds, liver, baker’s yeast, oranges, bananas, cantaloupe, raspberry, beets, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts.healthy-diet-woman

Phosphorus has an important function to perform in the brain. Phosphorus can be found in whole wheat, cucumbers, cauliflower, celery, mushrooms, oats, and egg yolk.

Deficiency in iron can sabotage attention and memory power. Good sources include meat, beans, spinach, and fortified cereals.

Sulphur is also vital for the brain. Sulphur can be found in onions, garlic, carrots, strawberry, cucumbers, and potatoes.

Calcium is needed for nerve impulse conduction and muscle contraction. It can be found in green leafy vegetables, apricots, apples, grapes, cherry, strawberry, and whole milk.

Choline builds neurotransmitters that pass electrical impulses between brain cells. Choline can be found in egg yolks, peanuts, liver are soy products.

Zinc deficiency is associated with brain disorders. Zinc can be found in oysters, wheat germ, beef, lamb, pork, crabmeat, turkey, chicken, lobster, clams and salmon.

Copper also aids in nerve and brain function. It can be found in nuts, shellfish, liver and kidney.

Take care of your brain! Eat well!

6 thoughts on “Feed your brain: Best foods for healthy brain and nervous system”

  1. There are multiple pillars to improving brain health, with eating a healthy diet being one along with physically exercise, staying emotionally and socially engaged, and challenging your brain.

    Why is challenging your brain important? Because learning new stuff re-wires your neurons and improves brain performance at any age. So whether you want to improve your ability to learn a language or remember new friends’ names, you can do it. The next step is to take action.

    People tell me they want to do something for their brain that “works”. Posit Science, where I am CEO and Dr. Mike Merzenich is Chief Science Officer, makes scientifically-validated and engaging software that can help you think faster, focus better and remember more. Over 30 clinical studies from institutions like the Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins show that our technology can have a range of benefits from improved memory to lowered health care costs to improved driving safety. For more information and to try free exercises, please visit www. positscience.com

  2. Thanks for your comment, Steven!
    Surely, we need to exercise and challenge the brain, if we want to be healthy and happy. Unused parts of the brain stop working, while challenging the brain with new activities wakes up new areas. How to exercise the brain?
    – Avoid using calculators
    – Swap TV for mind games or a book
    – Play games that involve memory (bridge) or thinking ahead (chess)
    – Take up a new hobby, learn a musical instrument, study a new language…
    Leave your brain sweating and boost your mental power!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>