Foraging for Brain Food

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brain food

Researchers recently confirmed that chemical changes in the brains of mice fed foods high in fats and sugar were causing depression and cycles of addiction/withdrawal; swapping these items for healthier options made depression disappear and relieved stress-based functioning.

The foods we choose to consume affect every physiological system within us from digestive to skeletal, and our neurological functioning is also dependent on our maintenance of a healthy diet.

Consuming intense amounts of saturated fats, for example, can raise cholesterol levels and inflame arteries—including those in your memory modules. The ability to recall and recollect is therefore compromised when such an inflammation causes a lack of oxygen and blood flow to this important part of the brain.

Another major mood killer on the menu is based upon mineral malnutrition caused from today’s processed and chemical-rich food options. The body is dependent on the balance of a multitude of vitamins and minerals to support proper cognitive functioning; left neglected, our neurotransmitters weaken, synapses collapse, our thinking and emotional regulation abilities both suffer.

A lack of Vitamin D for example has been linked to depression, schizophrenia, dementia, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases; Magnesium, a “a key feature of nerve architecture”, is said to manage stress for the body and serve as a counter-ion for calcium and potassium in muscle cells, including the heart. Low levels of magnesium can result in physical symptoms including headaches, muscle cramps, seizures and arrhythmia; in the brain, magnesium deficiency can cause depression, behavioral disturbances, irritability and psychosis.

Some scientific bodies have begun to dub Alzheimer’s as “Type 3 Diabetes”, amounting it to a metabolic disease largely influenced by diet. Associations between Alzheimer’s and Type 2 are long-established: diabetic populations are 2-3 times more likely to acquire the debilitating form of dementia. (Guardian UK)

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That cheeseburger is a major culprit for causing dementia, as well as heart attack.

Likewise there are some foods that have repeatedly been proven to improve cognitive functioning, protect against age-induced brain deterioration and diet-based depletions. The mind-body connection demonstrates how diet ameliorations can not only save or slow detrimental physical diagnoses, but can also improve our mental health—daily and immediately.

“A well stocked brain produces true emotions; [a] poorly stocked brain produces false moods.” (Total Health Magazine)

Julia Ross – author of The Mood Cure and a licensed MFT, specializes in nutritional therapy for detox. She contends that anyone suffering from mood issues such as depression, anxiety, irritability, excessive worry, the inability to concentrate, lethargy, constant, or unmanageable stress all share the same issue: a depletion of key amino acids in the brain (including all-important 5-HTP).

“The chemicals changed by [poor] diet are associated with depression,” said study researcher Dr. Stephanie Fulton. “A change of diet then causes withdrawal symptoms and a greater sensitivity to stressful situations, launching a vicious cycle of poor eating.” (Huffington Post)

“Oh, folks but lately I have been spotted, with a Big Mac on my breath, stumbling into a Colonel Sanders, with a face as white as death, I’m afraid someday they’ll find me, just stretched out on my bed, with a handful of Pringles potato chips, and a Ding Dong by my head.” – Larry Groce, “Junk Food Junkie” (1976).

Best foods for cognitive functioning

  • Nuts & seeds
  • Dark, leafy greens
  • Dark chocolate/cacao
  • Blueberries
  • Wild salmon
  • Avocados
  • Whole grains
  • Beans
  • Pomegranate
  • ‘Good’ oils (virgin olive, coconut)
  • Beets and beetroot

Worst foods for cognitive functioning

  • Trans Fat
  • Saturated Fats
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Refined sugars
  • White flour starches
  • Soy
  • Artificial sweeteners, colours and other chemical additives

Buy The Mood Cure by Julia Ross on Amazon.