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Nutrition and the Brain: Feed the Need With the Good Stuff

This entry is part of a series, Brain Food»

Gear Head

While there are about as many different opinions about nutrition as there are bureaucrats in Washington, some clear themes have emerged. Naturally, there are side discussions about lifestyle choices and things like cancer and obesity; food has a major focus in those debates. Overall fitness gets a lot of attention these days too.

Nutritional guidelines concerning the brain, not so much.

What other organ of the body means so much to us? Can’t do without it (okay, I’m not talking teenagers here). We generally fear brain damage or degeneration more than almost anything else, including cancer. We’ve learned to take care of (or at least address) heart issues head-on. But brain nutrition? Hardly.

Food HeadWell then, it’s about time we started!

There is a set of videos on YouTube by Dr. Daniel Amen with the theme of “Change Your Brain, Change Your Life.” It’s no surprise, though; he points out that your brain is involved in every thing you do (even the stupid stuff), and you really need to care for that ol’ lump of gray matter. Including proper feeding. He list a dozen food items in particular. In this series, I’ll delve into those twelve goodies in detail, sharing the specific nutritional aspects of each. The foods (not in Dr. Amen’s particular order) are:

  • Broccoli
  • Red (bell) peppers
  • Spinach
  • Blueberries
  • Oranges
  • Avocados
  • Walnuts
  • Oatmeal
  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Turkey
  • Green tea

As you can see, there’s a group of veggies, some fruits (three if you count the avocado, as I do), nuts and grains, some proteins, and a brewed drink. Of course, these foods are also shown to be nutritious for other parts of the body; none are “focused” solely on brain function and health. So while you’re feeding the needs of your brain, you’ll be doing a great service to the rest of your mechanism (and vice versa).

There’s an issue with these foods, of course. Not everybody likes all of them. Heck, some of us barely touch the stuff don’t eat some of them, and only a little of any of them! We’d rather have our fast food fix (with diet soda), followed by a nice, fattening dessert of some sort.

Bad; very, very bad…

Here’s what the Elves hereabouts propose to do: Every so often, maybe as much as twice a week, one of these head-smart vittles will be presented with the “whats and whys” of their specific value to brain health. Then we’ll share a recipe or two that will get you all in a tizzy interested in eating more of these valuable morsels. (I wanted to use the word “excited” but the Elves pointed out the difficulty in that using only one word: Broccoli.) To help you keep it all straight, we’ll track things in a Series for you on the website.

So stop by often! The brain you help might even be yours…

Enjoy the (Brainy Foods) Heat!

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