Are you still bragging about the fact that you had the best grade in your French exam in high school? Mais oui, bien sur!
Or are you always playing along with Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, because you just all have the answers?
We are proud of ourselves when we have more knowledge than someone else and usually we want to show this off to other people.
But to give your brain a serious boost, we should search for answers in what we call brain food.
Brain food is a popular topic for researchers who want to find out what exactly the consequences are of healthy food on your brain. Do you want to know what healthy brain food exactly is, what it does and how you can help grow your brain into a super smart one? By all means, continue reading!
We all know that we should follow a healthy diet to stay in good physical shape. But did you know that your brain is also impacted by the food that you eat? You have probably heard the expression “you are what you eat” sometime. This expression is actually very true. The food that you eat influences your entire body, from your stomach to your brain. Food is your fuel: you need it to function and if you give your body the wrong fuel, your motor will start to show problems.
Your brain is responsible for everything that you do each day, so it is very important to make the right choices as far as your diet is concerned.
Did you know that your brain only weighs 2% of your total body weight, but that it consumes 20% of your total energy use? For a normally functioning person, this can be compared to 420 calories on a daily basis. This shows that your brain needs a lot of energy to function, and as your energy comes from your food, you better follow a healthy diet!
The Right Food
What is the right food to eat? By eating so called brain food, you can help your brain to renew and recover its cells. With the right nutrients, you can speed up this process, which will help you improve your concentration, your memory and which will even give you a better mood and more energy.
Nutrients that contain vitamin K, B or C, will improve your concentration and your memory. You can find these in broccoli, blueberries, nuts and eggs for example.
Also, green vegetables like spinach or green cabbage are good for your brain, as they also contain a lot of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Fat fish, like salmon, and avocados contain a lot of omega 3’s, and your brain consists of 2/3 of Omega 3’s! By eating these healthy fats, you help maintain your brain tissue and this has a positive impact on your concentration.
Another surprising brain food is chocolate. Cocoa contains flavomoides, which are antioxidants that improve your blood supply and your focus. Unfortunately (for me) it is not the milk chocolate that helps bets, you would want to choose the chocolate with at least 70% cocoa.
It is of course a little more complicated than to just eat all of these nutrients and we all get to be the smartest version of ourselves. Some people have allergies for certain products, other maybe do not like some of them. But there is enough choice for everyone to enjoy a great deal of benefits it can bring.
Eat Yourself Smart?
Unfortunately, it is not possible to eat yourself smart. You can never turn a Hyundai into a Ferrari. But with the right diet and the right nutrients, you can help stimulate your brain and improve your brain performance. Being smart depends on several factors, like your IQ and your problem solving capacities. You can train your brain, but just by adapting your diet, you do not have the guarantee that you are getting smarter.
One of the nutrients that help boost our brain, are fats. Your brain mainly exists of fats and it needs Omega 3 fatty acids to keep functioning. I wrote an article about the different fats and Omega fatty acids and how important they are for your health. You can find the article here.
Omega 3 fatty acids can be found in fat fish like salmon, herring or mackerel. Nuts also contains Omega 3 fatty acids, as well as Omega 6 fatty acids, which help in the healing process of different ailments and infections.
Coconut fat and oil are very good as well for your brain. You can use these fat sources to prepare your meals in and give a boost to your brain. When you use these fat sources to prepare your meals in, ketones are produced during the cooking process, which your brain will use as fuel. These nutrients give you therefore more energy and improve your cognitive brain.
This does not mean that you can go ahead and eat as much coconut oil as you want! Your brain can only take in so much, the rest of the fats will be stored elsewhere. Therefore, you would want to use coconut oil or fat with moderation.
Power To The Eggs
Neurotransmitters also play an important role in the performance of your brain. Acetylcholine is one of these neurotransmitters, which is divided in the substances acetyl and choline. When your intake of choline is sufficient, you will be capable of making connections easily and your creativity will improve. People who suffer from dyslexia or dyscalculia often show a lack of choline. When these people get administered choline, their problems seem to lessen. A choline deficit is also shown by a less flexible mobility. Without choline, the brain can treat signals less well.
But where do we find choline? The title says it all, in eggs! If you never eat eggs, your body has to produce choline itself, which is a very energy consuming process.
But what about people with an egg allergy of veganists? It is a good thing that you can take a choline supplement if you fall in one of these groups of people.
Also, the intake of vitamin B5 is good for your brain. The acetyl in acetylcholine is stimulated by vitamin B5. The combination of choline with B5 vitamin should give your brain a great creativity boost.
Which Nutrients Should We Avoid?
We now know which nutrients are beneficial for our brain, but there are also nutrients you would want to avoid. People tend to think that sugar gives your energy level a boost and that it can help you think. This is not true. You will experience a short energy boost when you eat sugar, but afterwards you get an energy drop, as it costs your body a lot of energy to process the sugars.
If you want to be alert, than you better eat nothing, or eat coconut fat. But try to avoid the energy drinks and cereal bars. This is also one of the reasons why people who are practicing intermittent fasting, feel great. Our bodies are very capable of not eating for a certain period. It give you energy! You will notice that you will be much more alert during intermittent fasting. I invite you to read my article about intermittent fasting and all its benefits here.
Like always, the type of brain food works that for you, may not work for someone else. One thing that is for sure is that processed foods that are bad for your body, are also bad for your brain. The best thing is to vary your meals with natural unprocessed foods.
Put your focus on healthy fats, like fish and nuts, vegetables and fruits for the optimal brain activity. Furthermore, it is important to be active, sleep well and rest enough. As long as you keep the balance!
How is your experience with brain food? Do you have any tips or recipes you want to share here? Please leave a comment below and I would be happy to get back to you!