In a previous post, I discussed the importance of maintaining the brain and what we can do to keep our brain chemistry balanced. After all, without a functioning brain, we cease to exist. When the brain isn’t firing on all cylinders, it can negatively affect every part of our lives.
While the brain can self-regulate, it needs our help. One of the simplest things we can do to maintain balanced brain chemistry is to eat great brain food.
As Dr. Daniel Amen says in his book, Change Your Brain, Change Your Body, food is a drug – a drug that needs to be taken to stay alive.
What food is considered great brain food?
Of course, you have to keep your brain hydrated, so drinking plenty of water is absolutely essential. Because the brain is 60 percent fat, we need to consume the right kinds of fats, like fatty fish oils.
Foods that are high in antioxidants help our bodies and brain stay young. The three major antioxidant vitamins are beta-carotene, vitamin C and vitamin E. These antioxidants are found mostly in fruits and vegetables.
Studies have shown that the risk of cognitive impairment – memory loss, learning disabilities, loss of reasoning and other mental functions – can be significantly reduced by eating antioxidant-rich foods.
The human body produces free radicals every time a cell converts oxygen into energy. Free radicals are found in substances like hydrogenated corn oil and cause cancer and other serious medical problems.
When produced in toxic amounts, free radicals cause damage to the body’s cellular machinery, cellular death and tissue damage. This imbalance is called oxidative stress. Just like metals weaken when they rust, we need to get rid of free radicals and block the rusting process in our cells.
Antioxidants gobble up free radicals like Pacman.
There are dozens of natural brain foods, mostly fruits and vegetables, which are high in antioxidants. Blueberries, called “brainberries” by many researchers because they’re so rich in antioxidants, are produced right here in our own backyard in New Jersey. We need to make foods like blueberries part of our everyday diet.
Here is a small sampling of great brain foods.
- Black plums
- Brussels sprouts
- Dried red beans
- Olive oil
- Raw almonds
- Sunflower seeds
- Sweet potatoes
I think you get the picture. We should be eating these foods all day long.
If someone tells you to avoid snacking throughout the day, don’t listen to them. I constantly snack on healthy, natural nutritious food that feeds my brain.
Going all day without eating wreaks havoc on your brain function. It makes your blood sugar levels drop to a hypoglycemic level. Glucose, the body’s sugar, is essential to brain function. Low blood sugar causes irritability, brain fog and emotional stress.
Feed your brain with great brain food, especially delicious fruits and vegetables, in small frequent meals. You’ll be feeding your brain a healthy, simple carbohydrate, and you’ll be establishing an anti-free radical, antioxidation process in your body.
Dr. James Proodian is an accomplished chiropractic physician and health educator who founded Proodian Healthcare Family of Companies to help people feel better, function better, and live longer. His expertise for the past two decades has been in physical rehabilitation, and he has successfully established himself as a spinal specialist. In his practice, he advocates the science of functional medicine, which takes an integrative approach to treating patients by addressing their physical, nutritional, and psychological needs. Alarmed by the escalation of complex, chronic illness in our country, Dr. Proodian has been speaking to companies and organizations through his “Wellness at Work” program since 1994, motivating thousands of people to make positive lifestyle choices and lead healthier, more productive lives. He can be heard weekly on his radio program, “Proodian Healthcare By Design,” on Tandem Radio.