The brain is essential to our survival, but its wellness is one of the most neglected. Many cells in the human body can be renewed constantly, but brain cells cannot regenerate or repair themselves; thus, brain cell death is an irreversible process.
Alzheimer's disease, also known as progressive dementia, is a leading cause of brain cell death. Patients will gradually forget all persons and things, and will experience anxiety and fear, which has become one of the major causes of death.
However, there is currently no cure for Alzheimer's disease, and as we live longer lives, our chances of developing the disease rise.
According to research, Alzheimer's disease is primarily caused by acquired causes, and cognitive degeneration caused by brain cell damage may occur early in life. Many bad habits and external variables can unknowingly cause brain damage.
However, because this disease is not genetically determined, we can avoid it early by actively choosing a healthy lifestyle and working hard to delay aging, keep the brain in optimum condition, and reduce disease risk.
Diet is the most essential aspect of living a healthy lifestyle. Food is the brain's only source of nutrition, and it is the organ most susceptible to damage from bad eating practises. Let us interpret this issue: how to maintain the brain in peak condition at all times through scientific diet.
The relationship between the brain and food
Food has a greater impact on the brain than we realise. Every evolution of the brain, on a macro scale, is linked to diet.
Ancestors abandoned low-calorie plant foods in favour of high-calorie meat and fish, which supplied more energy for the brain.
Fish and crustaceans are high in polyunsaturated fatty acids, protein, vitamins, and minerals, all of which are beneficial to brain development. Fruits and veggies are high in sugars, which the brain can use to produce neurotransmitters involved in learning and memory.
Eating healthier made our forefathers smarter, and as availability to more and more nutrient-dense food sources increased, it created a positive virtuous cycle.
Coordination improves as cerebral size grows. The human brain and body are continuously evolving while searching for food.
After learning to control fire, there was a second significant rise in brain size. Heating food improves absorption, reduces chewing and digestion time, and frees up time and energy for brain development.
The development of farming techniques ten thousand years ago resulted in significant changes to the diet. Planting crops and raising livestock could provide a consistent source of food and totally transform people's lives.
Food became more abundant after the industrial revolution, and the diet structure altered once more. Natural foods are progressively giving way to refined processed foods, which have far less nutritional value than natural foods.
Our easy availability to high-calorie foods has increased our risk of obesity and diabetes, which can harm our brain health.
We must relearn which foods are good for brain health today, as we confront a different living environment and diet structure, as well as more options.
Nutrients needed by the brain
One of the most essential organs in the human body is the brain. Water, oxygen, fat, protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals are the elements that the brain requires the most.
We can get enough oxygen by breathing, and we can get enough nutrients by eating.
The following explains how to provide a constant stream of nutrients to the brain by focusing on five types: water, fat, protein, carbohydrates, and vitamins.
Water makes up 80% of brain tissue, and it not only influences intelligence but also engages in all chemical reactions in the brain. Brain cells can only function properly when water and other elements are in balance.
The brain is especially susceptible to water consumption. Reduced water intake of as little as 3% can instantly impact the fluid balance of the brain, causing fatigue, energy loss, mood swings, and even headaches.
Adults should consume 8 glasses of water per day, which is nearly 2 liters, but the amount should be adjusted according to the specific circumstances. For example, if you move more frequently, you should drink more water. If you don't drink enough water, your cognitive function will suffer.
If drinking water becomes too monotonous, you can prepare light health tea, green tea, black tea, and so on.
You can also eat fruits and vegetables with high water content such as apples, cucumbers, kiwifruit or lettuce, or drink these fresh juice with a juice blender.
Fat accounts for 11% of the weight of the brain. When water is eliminated, fat accounts for roughly half of the brain's weight. However, not all fat-rich foods are beneficial to the brain; the secret is the type of fat consumed.
Body fat can be classified into two types: storage fat and skeletal fat.
Our bodies use storage fat to reserve energy. It is, in layman's words, fat. This fat does not exist in the brain and is not required.
The fat in the brain is "structural fat", which is used to build human cells, that is, "fatty acids". Both omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids help the brain build cells.
Omega-6 fatty acids can cause inflammation in the brain and body, activate the immune system, and help defend against danger. If the danger is lifted, the fatty acid omega-3 will go into battle and reduce the inflammatory response. They are like two immune guards guarding health.
It is extremely important to maintain the balance of these two fatty acids. Scientific research recommends that the intake ratio of omega-6 fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids is 2:1.
However, our everyday intake of high-fat animal foods contains far too many omega-6 fatty acids and far too few omega-3 fatty acids.
If you want to keep your brain healthy and maintain the balance of the two fatty acids, you should limit your consumption of omega-6 fatty acids, eat less greasy foods like cakes and bacon, and consume more omega-3 fatty acid-rich foods like vegetable oil, fish, avocado, and nuts.
The three major omega-3 fatty acids are ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), and DHA (and docosahexaenoic acid).
According to research, eating more omega-3 fatty acid foods slows the rate of brain atrophy and reduces the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. Deep-sea seafood, vegetable oil, nuts, and eggs are all high in omega-3 fatty acids.
If the diet lacks omega-3 fatty acids, it will accelerate the rate of brain aging. Those who consumed less than 1 gram per day had the highest risk of dementia.
Nowadays, living conditions are getting better and better, we will take fish oil supplements to supplement our nutrition. But it turns out that fish oil supplements have no significant effect on improving cognition. Therefore, if you want your brain to be healthy, it is better to eat natural foods such as fish.
You can try replacing fatty meats with fish. Under the premise of the same protein content, the omega-3 fatty acid content of fish meat is significantly more, which can not only improve brain health, but also benefit the heart.
Protein is made up of amino acids, and the amino acids required by the brain are primarily obtained from animal sources. Milk, eggs, seafood, pork, beef, poultry, and so on; plant foods, such as nuts and seeds, also contain a lot of amino acids.
The amino acid tryptophan is associated with neurotransmitters in the brain that signal happiness. If there is a lack of tryptophan, we are prone to depression, anxiety, and may also affect sleep and appetite, and this amino acid can only be obtained from diet.
You can get milk, chicken, yogurt, and fish, but chia seeds, oats, sesame seeds, and pumpkin seeds are also rich in tryptophan. When eating foods containing tryptophan, eating carbohydrate-containing foods at the same time can better help the brain absorb them.
Carbohydrates are an important source of fuel for the brain, but there are good and bad carbs: Foods that contain glucose are the good carbs. Refined processed foods such as snacks and bread are not a good source of carbohydrates.
We often think that foods containing glucose are sweet. But in fact, foods that naturally contain glucose are not particularly sweet, such as whole grains, onions, beans, etc., are good sources of glucose.
And foods that we find very sweet, like candy and orange juice, contain almost no glucose. Glucose-rich foods in your diet include a variety of fruits, onions, whole-wheat bread, beets, and honey.
For a healthier brain, replace processed sweets with foods that naturally contain glucose. Such as sweet potatoes, pumpkins, carrots, grapefruit, etc., they can slow down the decomposition of sugar in food during digestion and keep blood sugar stable.
Vitamins are not a direct source of brain energy, but they are closely linked to brain energy metabolism. Most vitamins are not synthesised by the human body and must be acquired through diet.
According to research, adequate B vitamins for the brain not only help to keep memory but also slow the rate of brain atrophy. B vitamins can be found in a variety of foods, including cheese, liver, seafood, nuts, and dairy products.
Because brain cells must continuously burn glucose and oxygen for energy, and because harmful molecules are produced during the oxidation process, the brain is particularly vulnerable to oxidative damage. As crucial antioxidants, vitamins E and C are essential for the brain.
So eat more nuts and green leafy vegetables, citrus and other fruits and vegetables can resist oxidation and prevent brain aging. It would be even better if you add other vitamins, such as carotene, which can not only delay brain aging, but also prevent cardiovascular diseases.
Diet That Nourishes Your Brain
Due to the differences in geographical environment and eating habits in various regions, there are also various eating styles. There are three main diets that can make the brain healthier and are more suitable for our people:
The first is the "antioxidant diet", which is to eat more foods rich in antioxidants.
This approach places particular emphasis on eating plant foods such as carrots and sweet potatoes, as well as berries such as cherries, blackberries and blueberries, citrus fruits such as lemons and oranges, nuts and a variety of dark beans.
Another example is vegetables, such as spinach, peppers, asparagus, onions, and garlic, all of which have antioxidant effects.
There are also foods that have the opposite effect and deplete the brain's antioxidant capacity, such as butter, margarine, sausage, hamburger meat and pork chops, which are high in fat and protein of animal origin.
In addition to the food itself, the cooking method will also affect the antioxidant effect, such as steaming, shortening the cooking time, or low-temperature cooking will slow down the oxidation effect, which is beneficial to brain health.
The second is the "calorie-restricted diet", which is also useful for slowing down brain oxidation, reducing inflammation, and slowing down memory loss. Generally speaking, the daily calorie intake is controlled at 1200 kcal to 1400 kcal, even if the calorie is restricted.
There are also more extreme "indirect fasting". For example, the "5:2 diet method" is to eat a normal diet 5 days a week, and consume less than 600 calories on the other 2 days. This approach may also improve cardiovascular function and slow cognitive decline.
The third is the "ketogenic diet", which is to consume more fat and less carbohydrates.
This method works by limiting carbohydrate intake, forcing the body to burn fat and produce ketone bodies. Not only can this approach be used to lose weight, but it can also help slow cognitive decline.
However, the "ketogenic diet" also has side effects. Ingesting a large amount of saturated fat will change the metabolism in the body and increase cholesterol. The high protein in the ketogenic diet will increase the burden on the kidneys, and the high-fat and low-fiber food can also cause indigestion.
There are various diet methods, but in general, more, less, and appropriate amount.
More refers to eating more fresh vegetables, fruits, grains and legumes. They are low in calories and provide essential nutrients for the brain.
Less, is to eat less processed food. Processed meat and dairy to lower saturated fat and cholesterol.
Appropriate amount refers to the right amount of good fats that are good for brain health. Like omega-3 fatty acids, eat less of the bad fats that clog your arteries. You can also choose fish shellfish and nuts as an alternative.
Brain wellness and lifestyle are inextricably linked. Although food is the most essential factor. However, simply changing your nutrition will not make your brain healthier. You must also be aware of being healthy.
Moderate exercise, decent sleep habits, and positive social relationships are all essential for brain health.
For example, people who exercise regularly have a 43% reduced chance of developing Alzheimer's disease than those who are sedentary, according to the study. Walking and cleaning, for example, can reduce the chance of Alzheimer's disease by 35%.
It is preferable to make changes now if you want to have a healthy brain. consider each day seriously, eat well at each meal, plan reasonable daily exercise, sleep well, and consider your health seriously.
Our individual genes and living choices influence our lifespan and health. We are, to a significant extent, the products of our own decisions.
Our longevity and health are a game of chance. Even if the cards in our hands have been decided, we can still choose and rearrange them. Even if it is a bad deck, you still have a chance to transform defeat into triumph if you take it seriously.