Food for Thought

With fresh blueberries just around the corner, I am reminded that every so often the news media touts a food as being particularly good for one part of our bodies or another. You can read more about the benefits of eating blueberries in this Brain Food study done at the Human Nutrition Center on Aging at Tufts University.

Most of us want to improve or at least preserve our body and brain functionality as we go through life, so there is a tendency to accept the latest health news as gospel, especially if it is based on scientific research. While the consumer should always be cocking an eyebrow, the good news is that research on the health benefits of food tends to be corroborated across fields. Turns out what’s good for our brains is good for our bodies.

Proteins and carbohydrates provide our bodies with necessary nutrients which, among other benefits, cause neurotransmitters to be released. The goal is to eat balanced quantities of these foods so that our bodies do not produce an overload of chemicals in responding to food intake. For example, carbohydrates are necessary for the production of serotonin, a calming agent, however, eating too many carbs will make you feel sluggish.

Considering our brains are somewhere around 75 to 80 percent water, drinking plenty of water keeps our brains alert, keeps muscles feeling comfortable, and helps rid our bodies of wastes.

In addition to what we eat, the other “brain food” is sleep. Sleep may not be something we actually eat and digest, but our bodies need about eight hours of sleep each night in order to properly function. Sleep helps to cement learning and memories. In fact, a good time to review something you are trying to memorize is ten minutes before you go to sleep. During sleep your body also makes repairs to itself, beefing up the skin, blood, brain cells and muscles.

The following articles are just two of many on the web that provide more information on brain–body nutrition.

Brain Food
Save Your Brain

You can test your Brain Food IQ on this WebMD page.

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