Your nervous system is amazingly complex, especially your brain, which contains about 100 billion neurons, scientists say there are more neurons in the brain than stars in the sky. The brain has a high metabolism and is highly affected by what you eat. Research has shown that food choices made during pregnancy, lactation and early childhood may have long term consequences on a child’s mental development. Other research suggests that good nutrition can improve your brain function (and reduce your risk of brain disorders).
The phrase, “you are what you eat” particularly applies to the brain. A “junk” food diet short-circuits your mental attitude and your emotional responses, creating, in effect, a “trashy” brain! With the poor diet of most Americans, it’s no wonder that nervous system disorders like stress, depression, anxiety and insomnia affect millions of Americans.
The nervous system consists of your brain, your spinal column and your peripheral nerves, the nervous system helps regulate everything happening in your body, whether it is consciously or unconsciously. Nerves work by a combination of electrical impulses and chemical messengers called neurotransmitters. The discovery of neurotransmitters has greatly altered our understanding of nervous system problems. We know now that sleep, mood appetite and behavior are influenced by the different types of transmitter chemicals being released in our nerves and brain. Depression, addiction, mania, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and ADHD are some of the major disorders now known to involve imbalances in neurotransmitters.
Your nervous system is probably the most nutritionally sensitive system in the body. Long before you develop actual physical conditions from poor nutrition, you will feel the mental and emotional effects of a lack of good nutrition. These include fuzzy thinking (“brain fog”), absentmindedness, mental confusion and nervousness. Later they develop into more serious problems such as chronic insomnia, anxiety, depression and memory loss. So, it becomes very helpful to understand how to nourish this important system properly.
The brain is 70% water, so it is very sensitive to dehydration, so if you want to think clearly and protect your grey matter, start by drinking ½ ounce of pure water for every pound of body weight every day. (That’s 75oz or a little more than a half-gallon for an average 150-pound person). Next, 50-60% of the “dry” weight of the brain is fat, with 35% of that fat being omega-3 fatty acids. So, it is crucial to supplement your brain with omega-3 oils from fish like Super Omega-3 or vegetable sources like Flax Seed Oil. You can also find this essential fatty-acids in hemp seeds, chia seeds, avocados, salmon fish, ground flax seed, sardines, black walnuts, to mention a few.
Besides fat, the brain also needs amino acids from protein. The neurotransmitters we mentioned earlier are built from aminoacids. Meals containing adequate protein tend to increase levels of dopamine and norepinephrine (which results in a more alert mind and a better mood). It is also believed that low levels of dopamine can bring tendencies to develop Parkinson’s disease. Protein powders like Love and Peas and Nutri-Burn are high quality protein formulas that include all the essential aminoacids.
Preparing super foods in the raw is an excellent choice to keep the brain functioning optimally. Mix all veggie colors and some fruits in your smoothie, add whole food sources of vegetable protein like amaranth, avocado, coconut oil, chia seeds, sesame seeds, almonds, walnuts, pecans and sweeten with raw honey or Stevia. Adding fruits like raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, give an excellent source of vitamins and antioxidants. Start your morning with a powerful super smoothie and notice the difference!
To be continued…