The human brain is a complex system that is constantly used, but we usually don’t think too much about how to keep it healthy. Getting enough sleep every day and regular exercise are two things we can do, but what about our diet? Here are four ways to help our brains reach optimal performance.
Water. Our bodies are made up of 60 – 75 percent water and our brains have slightly more – 80 percent. When we become dehydrated, we can impair the brain’s performance. It has been shown that a one percent drop of water in our bodies can impair short-term memory by thirteen percent.1 Becoming dehydrated repeatedly can also play a role in negatively changing the brain’s structure. Getting enough water in the diet helps our body function well but it can also help with memory and cognitive performance such as during examinations.
Brain Fuel. Our brain cells need a steady supply of fuel to work efficiently. Glucose, a simple form of sugar, is the preferred fuel source but the best food delivery system is whole grains, fruits and vegetables. These foods contain fiber and are complex structures that help deliver glucose slowly and in small amounts. Foods such as doughnuts, high-sugared cereals and sugary drinks deliver fuel rapidly and in large amounts. This can temporarily impair our thinking and can have other negative effects. Starting each day with whole grain foods will help maintain optimal cognitive function throughout the morning.
Vitamins & Minerals. Getting a blend of vitamins and minerals needed to maintain healthy bodies also supports healthy brains. For example, vitamins C and E are antioxidants that can protect the body and brain from damaging substances called free radicals. These two vitamins are also associated with helping to maintain short-term memory.
Fats. The brain has a complex blood transportation system. It is estimated that the brain has about 400 miles of capillaries delivering oxygen, nutrients and removing toxins.2 A healthy heart diet can also benefit this complex system of blood vessels. Limiting foods high in saturated fats and trans fats will also support this system. Choosing foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids can benefit this system and the brain. Flax seeds, walnuts, salmon, sardines, cooked soybeans, tofu and others are some of the choices we can add to our diets.
Even though our brains are complex, we can make decisions to help keep it healthy. Adding fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains and protein foods to our diets is just one more reason to think healthy.
Read more at the source: Think Healthy
Article excerpt posted on en.intercer.net from Healthy Living.