1-Sentence-Summary: Brain Food delves into the topic of nutrition and how certain foods and nutrients can affect the well-being of the brain, its memory function, its cognitive capability, and how what we ingest can reverse the brain’s inclination to develop certain diseases.
Read in: 4 minutes
Favorite quote from the author:
We all know that what we eat influences our appearance and our bodily functions. Many people find that they can cure or treat skin-related problems, digestion issues, or even chronic diseases by regulating what they put into their bodies.
Still, the influence food has upon us goes further than that. According to the book, what we eat has a great impact on our brain. Lack of proper nutrition can cause brain fog, stress, and it can gradually lead to illnesses such as dementia.
Therefore, it is of utmost importance to start considering our relationship with food and prioritizing edibles that support our bodily functions and implicitly, our brain functions. For this reason, Brain Food explores the concepts behind neuro-nutrition and how we can support our brain by just eating right.
Here are my three favorite lessons from the book:
- Food can be a cure or the source of a disease.
- Stay close to water and to the good types of fat.
- Amino-acids and glucose are the powerbank of your brain.
Lesson 1: Food can be either poison or medicine, and it all depends on us.
Breakthrough discoveries show that well-known illnesses, such as Alzheimer’s, don’t actually develop due to poor genes most of the time. In fact, less than 1% of people develop this cognitive dysfunction due to their hereditary misfortune.
However, food and other lifestyle choices play a much bigger role in the development of Alzheimer’s or dementia. Not just that, but they’re also responsible for 70% of all stroke cases, 80% of heart attacks, and 90% of type two diabetes! These alarming rates can only make us wonder, what is it that we do wrong?
We eat wrong. Out of all the things we actively do for our body, such as exercising or taking our medicine, eating is at the top of the list in terms of frequency. Complementary to that, our brain is most easily damaged by food. Therefore, we should really start looking at what we eat. One way or another, our brain needs to get 45 nutrients.
If you haven’t guessed by now, they come from our daily meals and they go straight into the composition of our brain. By eating smart, you can boost your cognitive health, improve your memory, reduce stress and anxiety, and most importantly, slow down the aging process of your brain.
Lesson 2: Staying hydrated and ingesting fats will support your brain.
“Stay hydrated’’ is something we’ve probably heard more than once. And for a reason! The brain is made out of 80% water, and this special element is only one of the few ones allowed to pass the blood-brain barrier. In other words, water goes straight to your brain, as it is involved in the energy production process.
Not just that, but water is also responsible for the brain’s chemical reactions, for filling up the spaces between the cells, and for flushing out toxins. Drinking two liters per day can boost your brain’s performance by up to 30%! Therefore, make sure to invest in a quality water filter and stay hydrated.
As for the fats, the book draws a clear line between the unsaturated and the saturated ones. Your brain is a fan of saturated fats, but it can make as much as it needs locally. Therefore, the fat you ingest will inflame your body and shorten the oxygen supply. In fact, eating 25 grams of saturated fat per day increases the chance of developing dementia by four times.
Still, you should consume monounsaturated fats, and they come from nuts, avocados, yogurt or kefir, and olive oil. Moreover, you also have polyunsaturated fats, like Omega-3s and Omega-6s, which come from fish, grapeseed oil, chia seeds, walnuts, and most of all from caviar. This is another type of fat that your brain needs to function properly.
Lesson 3: Include amino acids and glucose in your daily meals.
Your central brain system is made up of neurons. Many of the amino acids that make up proteins function as neurotransmitters, helping your brain process information. These are responsible for your thinking, speaking, remembering, and dreaming functions. Therefore, a poor diet can influence our cognitive capabilities.
You can notice this happening in people with depression, as they have lower serotonin levels. To avoid such conditions, you should introduce foods such as chia seeds, raw cacao, oats, spirulina, pumpkin seeds, goat milk, and fish in your diet. These foods give a boost to your brain and they keep your neurotransmitters healthy.
As for glucose, your brain needs it to produce energy. And this special component comes from carbs. Just like water, glucose passes the blood-brain barrier and feeds your brain cells. You can find this component in foods like red beet, kiwi, grapes, dates, and honey. Try to avoid refined sugar at all costs.
When you ingest bad sugar from sodas, candy bars, cakes, and pastries, your blood glucose levels rise and then drop significantly, leaving you tired and feeling weak. Instead, focus on complex carbs like sweet potatoes (with skin), berries, grapefruit, pumpkin, carrots, lentils, and whole grains. If you crave sugar, try opting for a 70% or higher dark chocolate square.
Brain Food Review
Brain Food is a fantastic piece of writing as it emphasizes the importance of nutrition in our daily lives, and most importantly, our cognitive functions. The author manages to deliver life-changing advice using simple, yet effective foods and recipes that anyone can introduce in their diets right away. The message of this book should be taken into careful consideration by each and every one of us who cares about our health and wish to maximize our brain’s parameters.
Who would I recommend the Brain Food summary to?
The person passionate about nutrition and diets, anyone looking to improve their diet by ingesting more brain-supporting foods, or someone looking to sharpen their cognitive capabilities by adopting a healthier lifestyle.