The brain, the diet, what’s best for you.
As we are all individuals and respond to different stimuli in different ways no one “diet” works for all. Our genes play a huge part in this, all the different body types, and the different cultures. As I have an interest in neuroscience as well as nutrition I came across a great article in the American Scientist in April 2016.
The article explained which nutrients are best for the brain and the fMRI’s to show change. At last science has caught up with what us as nutritionists and naturopaths have known for a very long time. Food affects our thinking, our optimum performance. Athletes are put on special diets in order to get to their peak performance. Why then do the people who work who have to concentrate, make major decisions, including decisions that affect other people’s lives, not put their food choice as a priority?
Amandine Pelletier et al, at the University of Bordeaux (France) found that a better wholefoods diets, less processed and sugar high foods, these people had a better cognitive process. Also less depression and anxiety. Whereas those who consistently ate a not so good diet of processed, takeaways, and higher chemically added foods had a shrunken hippocampus. This structure plays a major role in memory and cognition. Continuation of a bad diet has also been linked to Alzheimer’s and the faster decline of cognition and thinking processes.
We often eat on the run or by our desk, not really being present as to what we are putting in our mouths. Nowadays we are bombarded by all this talk of “new weight loss plan “, “5 foods to avoid that make belly fat” “Paleo”, “ high fat low carb”, “5/2” and the list is endless. It can become all too hard and we make a bad decision that has an affect on the brain but not in a good way.
Having had my clinic for over 15 years I have seen and tried all sorts of different food combining. Ideally nutrient rich, lots of colour, greens, reds, oranges, purple’s included. Lots of pulses and legumes. Meat a minimum. It does take a little planning but once you have eaten all the rubbish food in your cupboards start by replacing with better snacks or treats. There are so many recipes on the net - the list is endless. Eat more when you are hungry not when you think you should eat, or eat out of boredom. Take a walk from the desk to the snack tray>>> that can lead to all sorts of bad decisions! Always have nuts or fruit in your drawer. If you do need a break go outside for 5 mins. Allow the brain to turn off just for a while then re boot you may find you have another idea if you were stuck. Food that is bad stresses our internal organs, good food nurtures and protects against stress. Try it for awhile. An apple a day…!