What you consume makes all the difference to your brain function and mood. The brain is greedy approximately 50% of the total body’s needs. The expression fat head is apt, the brain is made of mainly fat and water. It goes without saying it’s the most complex organ and it requires a lot of nutrients. Deficiencies of certain vitamins and mineral can lead to – poor concentration, irritability, less efficient memory function, anxiety, less able to cope with stress, poor mood control and even depression.

I am sure most have read that the brain’s fuel is glucose, this is correct. But this does not mean that glucose or sucrose (sugar) are good things to consume, most definitely not. Then these are consumed they mess up your blood sugar levels, causing the brain much discomfort.

The brain cells need enough of 11 major vitamins and minerals to encourage the release of energy from the stored glucose. The main ones being Vitamin C, the B vitamins plus magnesium. Research has found children who are on a more refined diet, generally scored 25 points lower on a IQ test than children who were on a healthier diet, however once these children were given nutrients (supplements) their scores improved.

Acetylcholine is a brain chemical involved in memory, helping to transfer information from one brain cell to another. DMAE is found in oily fish, turns into choline in the body and is a precursor to acetylcholine. How many years have they been saying fish is good brain food?

Caffeine, alcohol (a super sugar), and sugar drain the brain. So many people have poor eating habits and most often than not are short of certain nutrients, often with symptoms like tiredness, cravings for these stimulants. They are only compounding the problem.

For centuries the Chinese have taken a herb called ginkgo biloba, especially the elderly. It protects the brain, improves mental alertness and general brain function. It is a natural anti-oxidant, increases blood supply and hence oxygen and nutrients to the brain and increases energy to the brain cells. In the West it seems most elderly are on cholesterol lowering drugs, whereas in the East it seems most elderly are on Ginkgo Biloba!

In the West, disease is on a steady increase – dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. It is known that levels of acetylcholine are low in such suffers.

To protect your brain take DMAE, Vitamin C, A and E, selenium, magnesium and ginkgo biloba.

Eat raw nuts – they are also good brain food a good one is raw walnuts.

Pollutants accumulate in the brain – aluminum (major source from cookware and foil), lead (use to come from paints and car exhausts) , mercury (from the gray amalgam fillings), and cadmium (from smoking).

Take some exercise on a regular basis this helps to increase oxygen to the brain as does having a good laugh. Both activities encourage the feel good chemicals in the brain.

Increase your consumption of onions, garlic, ginger, leeks, chili, cinnamon, sage and rosemary.

Protect your biggest asset!

Sonia Jones ND
Naturopath, nutritional therapist and author of three published books http://www.nutritionwithsonia.com