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Brain Nutrition

Updated on September 2, 2009

Brain Nutrition

Brain nutrition is vital for good mental health and proper brain function. But the fast-paced, profit-driven society we live in has made is really difficult to get the nutrients we need for our brains to function properly. It seems that hardly anyone can find the time to prepare a wholesome, nutritious meal these days, while most of the food options available to us in grocery stores are overprocessed, chemically-altered, and severely lacking in vital nutrients.

Ignoring the importance of brain nutrition, however, has led many people to experience nasty mental symptoms like anxiety, depression, inability to concentrate, and a host of other disorders. Most of us are just not functioning at our full potential. But take heart because the solution is not all that difficult. It entails simply paying attention to what we eat. And if we find that getting the nutrients we need for balanced brain nutrition by eating whole foods alone is too difficult, natural brain supplements are an easy way to make up for these deficiencies.

Optimal brain nutrition starts with a few key ingredients: fatty acids, amino acids, glucose, and antioxidants.

Fatty acids from fats are needed for cell nourishment and protection and also play an important role in nerve impulse transmission. Essential fatty acids are found in foods like spirulina and fish oil, dark leafy green vegetables, flax seed, and hemp oil. Nuts like macadamia are also high in essential fatty acids.

Amino acids from proteins support vital neurotransmitters which in turn allow brain cells to communicate and network with eachother. The essential amino acid phenylalanine, for example, is used in the brain to produce the neurotransmitter norepinephrine. Norepinephrine is associated with alertness, elevated mood, and improved memory. Good sources of amino acids include whole grains, nuts, meat, and eggs.

Glucose from carbohydrates fuels your brain, giving it the energy it needs for optimal function. Good sources of carbohydrates that convert to glucose at an optimal rate in the body are whole grains, carrots, and other vegetables.

Antioxidants are found in fruits and vegetables as well as in chocolate. Antioxidants are needed to protect brain cells from damage and work by eliminating free radicals. A great source of antioxidants is blueberries. Grape seed extract is even better. Dark chocolate is also a great source of antioxidants; aim for 70 percent or higher cocoa content.

One way to ensure proper brain nutrition is to get enough of the right nutrients from pure sources, like whole foods or natural supplements.

Blueberries are rich in antioxidants, which are good for the brain and important for overall nutrition as well.
Blueberries are rich in antioxidants, which are good for the brain and important for overall nutrition as well.
Fish oil supplements have become a staple of any brain nutrition regimen. They are an easy way to get enough omega-3 fatty acids in our diets, which increase dopamine levels in the brain.
Fish oil supplements have become a staple of any brain nutrition regimen. They are an easy way to get enough omega-3 fatty acids in our diets, which increase dopamine levels in the brain.
Whole grains are a source of amino acids and also provide the right kinds of carbohydrates to fuel the brain.
Whole grains are a source of amino acids and also provide the right kinds of carbohydrates to fuel the brain.
Nuts also make great brain foods. They are another good source of amino acids, not to mention they're yummy.
Nuts also make great brain foods. They are another good source of amino acids, not to mention they're yummy.
Chocolate is good for brain nutrition too! It's another great source of antioxidants. And you thought eating right was going to be hard :-)
Chocolate is good for brain nutrition too! It's another great source of antioxidants. And you thought eating right was going to be hard :-)

What's the best food for brain nutrition?

When it comes to optimal brain nutrition, which of these is the most beneficial food?

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