Our brain is fascinating, but do we care enough about this very important organ during our recovery process?
Did you know…?
…if your cerebral cortex (the outer layer of your brain) was spread out flat, it would be the size of a pillowcase and almost as thin? But its deep wrinkles allow it to fit neatly inside your head.
…the average adult brain weighs 1.4kg.
…you cannot tickle yourself. The cerebellum warns the rest of your brain that you are about to tickle yourself & since it knows this, it ignores the resulting sensation!
…at birth the body is only 4% of its adult size, but the brain is already about 33% of its adult size.
… your brain is 2% of body of your weight and uses 20% to 30% of its energy
Certain foods can help improve concentrate, memory or speed a reaction. You need energy for the correct functioning of your body and your brain, this includes regulating neurotransmitters activity and insulin. Neurotransmitters, which are messenger molecules carried between brain cells, directly affect how you feel. If your body is starved of essential nutrients, your brain cannot function properly, leading to low mood and depression. It is important to remember that our brain has no capacity to store energy – it needs to receive a constant supply of fuel.
The B vitamins, particularly B3 (oily fish, chicken, turkey, lamb, mushroom, brewer’e yeast, green leafy vegetable, wholegrain) B6 (bananas, potatoes, pulses, fish, nuts, avocado) and zinc (oysters and other shellfish, lamb, nuts, cheese and beans), Folate and B12, together with zinc, magnesium and vitamin C are essential for many brain functions.
Vitamin B3, B6 and zinc are required to convert the protein constituent tryptophan, into ‘happy’ chemicals serotonin and melotonin. Serotonin is the ‘happy’, mood-boosting neurotransmitter, and is made from dietary tryptophan, an amino acid found in fish, chicken, tofu, cottage cheese and bananas, for example. Those who rarely consume such foods, or lack sufficient zinc and vitamin B6 for the conversion to serotonin, may find themselves struggling to keep their spirits up. One study found that when recovered depressed patients were given a tryptophan-free diet, their depression returned.
Vitamin B6 deficiency is reported in as many as 79 % of people with depression and is common in women taking the contraceptive pill. Low levels of serotonin and other neurotransmitters can lead to insomnia, depression and anxiety.
Protein can also affect our mood. Tyrosin, an amino acid found in protein foods, can increase levels of chemical dopamine and norepinephrine, which improve concentration, alertness and energy.
Memory plays a thousands tricks on us. But nowadays, we can control it better with nourishment. Like all our organs, the brain needs to be well fed to function well. The lack of vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, amino acids, can lead, to a loss of attention and memory. Vitamin B1, B3, B6, B9, B12 and C are indispensable for attention and memory. Deficiency is very common.
Fish oils contain fatty acids from the Omega 3 family that ease the transmission of messages from one nerve cell to another. Several studies have confirm their effectiveness. You can find them in oily fish or food supplements containing fish oils.
How do you keep yourself orientated towards a positive, healthy brain with a good memory, good concentration and good mood?
Simple – Feed your brain.
Today, make the decision to nourish and take care of your brain. Look around you? What do you see right now? What do you hear? What do you feel? It is the many, many millions of brain cells that allow you to experience and appreciate all the beauty around you.