We’ve all heard the phrase “you are what you eat.” When it comes to the brain, our most important organ, this idea that we become what we put into our bodies through nutrition takes on even greater meaning. The importance of brain nutrition becomes quite obvious when we consider a few key factors. The brain consumes a disproportionately large portion of the nutrients ingested by the body. The function of brain cells is heavily impacted by these nutrients available in the brain. The functioning of our brain cells determines how we function. Thus our mood, attention, memory, etc., are all functions of brain nutrition.
The Greedy Brain – Why 40 Percent Of All Your Nutritional Intake Is Actually Brain Nutrition
Our intelligent body knows how important the brain is and so allocates its resources accordingly, allowing the brain to consume a disproportionately large portion of the nutrients we ingest. The brain weighs only 1 to 2 percent of your total body weight, but 20 percent of the air you breathe, 25 percent of your blood flow, 30 percent of the water you ingest, and 40 percent of the nutrition in your bloodstream is sent to be consumed by the brain. This means that 40 percent of your nutritional intake can be directly thought of as brain nutrition.
Nutrition’s Powerful Influence Over Brain Function
Nutrients available to the brain have a huge impact on the healthy functioning of our brain cells or neurons. Nutrients affect neuronal function either directly, being metabolized without precursors, or indirectly, by affecting production of other substances in the brain that determine brain cell function.
The billions of brain cells or neurons communicate via neurotransmitters — including serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine — that send signals through the brain’s complex of pathways. Brain function is determined in large part by the action of these chemical messengers. Losing mental agility in old age, for example, may result from the brain cells’ failing to communicate effectively rather than from cell death. Proper brain nutrition influences the production and action of neurotransmitters. For instance, research shows higher levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine in lab rats that are fed blueberries, which are rich in antioxidants. Dopamine, in turn, is important for cognition, motivation, mood, attention, and learning.
Other examples of nutrients which affect brain function include tyrosine, an amino acid found in protein which also supports the action of important neurotransmitters; the mineral magnesium, which can reduce hyperactivity and irritability; and omega-3 fatty acids, which can improve mood, attention, and alertness.
Brain Nutrition Is Super Important To Your Well-being And Your Life
Thus, nutrition has a huge impact on how we feel, think, and function. Our emotions, our memory, our ability to concentrate and accomplish tasks, and hence our lives are heavily impacted by what we put into our bodies, be it food, nutritional supplements, or drugs.
Makes you think twice about eating that big mac or drinking that coke, doesn’t it? Makes you want to check the nutritional information of everything you buy at the grocery store, right? It makes you want to find out exactly what foods and supplements are beneficial for brain function and which are detrimental. You might think to yourself: what a drag! Well, the negative impact of ignorance on your brain is an even bigger drag. Knowledge is power. Now go and use brain nutrition to empower your mind and your life!