Nutrition for mental health We are what we eat: feed your brain

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Eating well is also synonymous with health and affects the brain. Mood, memory, and cognitive ability are determined by how we nurture ourselves.

The brain is a tireless worker it is always active and attentive to all the vital functions of the body to adapt to its needs at all times.

It is responsible for movements, digestion or the senses, but also for thoughts and emotions. Nourishing him well is essential for him to do his tough job and to keep his mental health in shape.

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Emotions start in the stomach

Our emotional world is nourished by love, peace, joy Readings, conversations, movies, the experiences we have in life are food for those emotions.

But we must not forget that the brain is the physical organ from which these emotions are processed (the neuropeptides originate there, which then travel through the blood throughout our body) and it is also where thoughts are processed. That is why it is important how we feed it.

For example, there are emotions that are born in the brain and depend largely on the gastrointestinal tract, in which there are hundreds of millions of neurons. The functions of all these neurons (and the production of certain neurotransmitters) are influenced by the microbiome, that is, by the flora of friendly bacteria in the intestine.

95% of serotonin – a neurotransmitter that helps regulate sleep and appetite, inhibits pain, and regulates mood – is produced in the intestine.

Therefore, people who take probiotics (fermented foods, such as miso or sauerkraut, rich in good bacteria) have lower levels of stress and better mental functioning. Thus, the digestive system affects how the brain processes our emotions.

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What’s wrong with your mental health?

What we eat can affect the functioning of the mind in a more or less immediate way.

It is useful to analyze how we feel physically and emotionally the day after eating certain foods: for example, after ingesting fermented foods (miso, sauerkraut, pickles, kombucha), after eliminating dairy from the diet, or after dispensing with processed foods or sugar…

Experimenting and observing the effect of diet on the mind will help us make the decision to incorporate them more often or to do without them.

The magic ingredient is taking care of yourself. Our body, our mind and our emotions are always united forming a whole. For this reason, it is not only about eating foods that pamper the brain, but about taking care of ourselves in a comprehensive way.

This organ feels good that we quit tobacco (smoking increases the risk of suffering from Alzheimer’s) and that we control cholesterol and blood sugar levels, as well as that we maintain adequate levels of blood pressure, since all this affects the correct blood supply to the brain.

To achieve these goals, in addition to following a diet low in saturated fat, sugar and salt – it is advisable to always choose natural foods and ban precooked or industrial products from the menus – it is also crucial to play sports and maintain an adequate weight.

In addition, walking each day and exercising more than 3 times a week is associated with a lower risk of dementia.

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Foods that nourish our brain

There is no miracle food that can compensate for the effects of age or bad habits on the brain. However, research shows that, in addition to foods that protect the heart and blood vessels, the following ingredients are especially good for this organ:

  • Green leafy vegetables. Kale, spinach, cabbage, broccoli are rich in nutrients for the brain, such as vitamin K, lutein, folate and beta-carotenes. Research suggests that regular consumption of these green leafy foods can help slow cognitive decline.
  • Tea and coffee. Caffeine appears to be more than a dose of energy in the morning, as a study published in the Journal of Nutrition showed that people who consume it have better mental functions.
  • Berries. The flavonoids in these fruits, which are the pigments that give it its bright color, also improve memory. Specifically, publications in the Annals of Neurology show that people who consumed two or more servings of strawberries and blueberries per week had less memory loss after 2.5 years than those who did not take them regularly.

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Ingredients that influence memory

And is that some foods can affect the mind in a particular way: improving or worsening our memory.

Specifically, according to an article published in the Annals of Neurology, women who eat more saturated fat from foods such as red meat and butter have poorer memory and thinking skills than those who eat less of these foods.

This same article highlights, however, that just as trans fats are the bad guys in the movie, mono and polyunsaturated fats are the champions for preserving memory. Specifically, it has been proven that the intake of omega 3 fatty acids – a type of healthy fat – is associated with lower blood levels of beta-amyloid (the protein that forms plaques that damage the brain of Alzheimer’s patients). Flax seeds, avocado, and walnuts are sources of omega 3s.

The Mediterranean diet, rich in unsaturated fats, has been linked to lower rates of dementia and improved memory. In addition, basic foods of this type of diet (fruit, vegetables, whole grains, whole grains, nuts improve the health of the blood vessels in general and those of the brain in particular.

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Nutrients for children’s brains

The first 1000 days of life are crucial for children’s brain development. The way the brain develops during pregnancy and the first two years of life defines how the brain will function for the rest of a person’s life.

During this process the nerves grow, connect and become covered with myelin creating systems that decide how the child thinks and feels. These connections and changes affect the way you feel, your ease of learning and memorizing, your attention, your impulse and mood control, and even your ability to multitask or plan actions.

As the brain begins, so it will continue.

The environment in which the child grows up, the love he receives, and the nurture are crucial to all these changes. The Breastfeeding also creates an important difference because breast milk is the best food and that creates a very close bond with the mother.

There are some nutrients that are necessary for brain development:

  • Proteins. Those of vegetable origin you will find them in cereals, legumes, nuts, seeds, mushrooms or tempeh.
  • Zinc. Present in nuts, azukis, peas, tofu or brewer’s yeast.
  • Iron. In lentils, cereals, green vegetables, roasted potatoes and some nuts such as pistachios or almonds.
  • Hill. It’s in soybeans, mushrooms like shiitake, potatoes, wheat germ, quinoa, broccoli, cauliflower, and sunflower seeds.
  • Folates. This nutrient, especially important during pregnancy, is found in spinach, asparagus, avocados, rice, broccoli, mustard, and many cereals and legumes.
  • Yodo. Algae are the champions in this micro mineral.
  • Vitamin A. Spinach, carrots, and sweet potatoes are great sources of this vitamin.

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