Specialists have long developed programs focused on health and the proper functioning of vital organs. Today we're going to talk about diet for the brain. Proper nutrition will allow you to improve your memory, be in a great mood and increase concentration.

Recent studies have shown that junk food is as addictive as heroin. It turns out that fatty and sugary snacks stimulate the same brain pleasure centers as drugs. This explains why some people just can't stop eating them. In the future, this may be the root cause of the obesity epidemic. But that's not all. Unhealthy food has a significant impact on health and behavior.

Your brain weighs about 1.36 kg (only a small fraction of your total body weight) yet absorbs approximately 20% of your daily calorie intake. A balanced diet is important for the brain, because it helps improve memory, improves performance and mood. Today we are going to take a look at common ideas in the field of nutrition and the brain and talk about foods that can positively or negatively affect its condition.

Task: increase concentration 

The ability to concentrate depends on maintaining a free flow of messages between brain cells. To activate and send such a message, these cells need oxygen, which they get from blood sugar. Simply ensuring proper and sustainable calorie intake throughout the day is the first step in keeping brain cells healthy. However, this is not enough to create signals that are also sent from one cell to another. This process occurs due to nerve fibers. For communication to flow, these fibers must be insulated in the same way as ordinary wires. In order to create these membranes, the brain needs a fatty substance called myelin.

Omega-3 fats (found mainly in fatty fish, walnuts, pumpkin seeds and flaxseeds) help build and maintain the right amount of myelin. This may be why fish oil supplements increase the mental performance of children, although research on this phenomenon has been very controversial.

Helpful Tip: Eat regularly (three times a day) to help keep you focused. As a snack, walnuts or seeds are suitable.

Objective: improve mood

Our senses, like all mental activities, trigger a frenetic exchange of messages between the cells of the main brain. The transfer of information between cells is carried out by chemicals called neurotransmitters. They play a key role in shaping your mood.

One of the key neurotransmitters is dopamine – good mood messenger. Due to the increase in dopamine levels, you feel enthusiasm, drive and happiness. Decreased levels of this hormone can lead to feelings of emptiness, sadness, irritation, or boredom.

Sweet and fatty foods cause a dopamine surge. However, a sharp rise in dopamine is invariably followed by an equally sharp drop, so to maintain a good mood throughout the day, it is better to eat foods rich in proteins, slow breakdown foods. Another way to ensure a steady release of dopamine to maintain a positive mood – the presence of "messengers" of dopamine (molecules that the brain uses to produce dopamine). One of these is phenylalanine, which is found in beets, soybeans, almonds, eggs, meat, and grains.

But if you're in need of a mood boost, go for chocolate, which is especially effective in boosting dopamine levels. It contains anandamide – a fatty molecule that is similar to the active substance found in marijuana.

Another neuromodulator – serotonin – helps to feel peace and satisfaction, to end anxiety and anxiety. Snacking on foods high in carbohydrates quickly increases serotonin levels, but this is fraught with drowsiness, so it is also better to keep the amount constantly at the same level. For the production of dopamine, the brain needs tryptophan – an amino acid found in meat and eggs. This is good news for classic English breakfast lovers – bacon and eggs will provide you with the necessary amount of dopamine from early morning until late at night.

Small doses of alcohol also give a feeling of happiness due to dopamine. In large doses, however, it leads to a hangover, which is characterized by a bad mood. And long-term excessive drinking actually destroys brain cells, especially those associated with memory.

Healthy Tip: Eat bacon and eggs for breakfast during the day to get you in the mood. Almonds and soybeans are good too.

Mission: Maintaining Vigilance

Caffeinated coffee is a classic anti-drowsiness remedy, but using it properly – real art. After all, the effect of cheerfulness is limited to the period while it is associated with certain cell receptors in the brain. They tend to absorb substances that turn off electrical activity, causing drowsiness. Caffeine effectively blocks these substances, making cells more active and you feel energized.

However, too much caffeine causes a hyperelastic recovery, as the pituitary gland interprets this burst of activity as a warning of danger. Therefore, it instructs the body to produce the "fight or flight" hormone – adrenalin. So, although you suddenly become more attentive and your brain starts to work better and faster, you may also feel anxiety, which reduces the ability to think logically. Therefore, it is better to limit yourself to one serving of espresso per day.

Carbohydrates can also provide an energy boost due to the spike in glucose levels. But this, in turn, causes the body to produce the hormone insulin, which can make you feel sleepy.

Helpful advice: do not overdo it with coffee: one espresso will increase your activity, and a double one will only cause a feeling of anxiety and confusion.

Mission: Improving Memory

Our ability to remember depends on how brain cells get new connections. They do it best when they are excited. That is why we remember the positive moments and events of our life well. There is one key "messenger" in the brain that keeps the brain cells in an excited state – acetylcholine. In fact, drugs that mimic the effect of this chemical improve memory even in people with Alzheimer's disease. This key chemical is produced by choline found in eggs, liver and soy. Vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower also help improve memory. Scientists have found that people who eat these foods perform better on memory tests than their peers.

Health Tip: Eggs will greatly improve your memory, so try to eat them regularly.

Challenge: Controlling one's own emotions

When you are worried or worried, your body releases stress hormones called glucocorticoids. They force the brain to look for ways to alleviate suffering. This is where sugary and overly fatty foods come into play. Studies of rats with high levels of stress hormones showed that they developed compulsive behavior (compulsive desire) – absorption of carbonated drinks and fat. Short-term reductions in stress hormones helped them relax. However, it was eating that gave them the quickest opportunity to calm down.

Over a long period of time, repeated exposure to sugar changes the way the brain reacts to it. To get pleasure, you need a lot more sugar, that is, people develop a habit akin to drug addiction. It sounds sad, but it's a fact: the only way to prevent cravings – is to avoid the substances that caused it. If you are ambushed by your own desires, you have two options: satisfy them or resist. Or try another way to increase your dopamine levels, like reading.

Helpful advice: try to eliminate the habit. If that doesn't work, focus on other activities that also increase this hormone (exercise or hanging out with friends).  

See also: "Questions for a nutritionist: how to eat right so that it brings pleasure"

Source: estet-portal.com. 

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