What is brain nutrition?
Brain! A fascinating organ that weighs just 3 pounds but uses 20% of our energy and blood flow – we are sometimes so consumed by those parts of our body which are visible that we forget to question ourselves what really nourishes the brain – the mind that is behind everything we do! My research and interest confirms that this is a very complicated organ but there are some clear facts and we can start with those right away.
Brain and Training: Here what got me curious is can we do something everyday to sharpen our mind? To make our functioning more powerful and the brain cells stronger? Answer was so simple – anything that is difficult where we have to think is training the brain. How cool is that? So things like brushing your teeth with the opposite hand, using the phone with the opposite hand, I eat dal with the opposite hand! If we don’t use certain parts of the brain then it tells that part of the brain, dial it down – shave down the density of those cells, we aren’t using them! So diversity + depth in how we can think and learn new things is your solution. Navigation is another thing – with GPS, we have stopped figuring roads and paths by ourselves – what if we look at the GPS and try to memorize the road map and then play a little game with brain? People with dementia loss are made to take dance classes! So learn something which is not too easy because then the brain is not using its extra cell and not too hard that we just give up! Just the next level – like a video game!!
Brain and nutrition: Mind diet is proved to nourish the brain and some top foods that we have come up are yogurt, nuts, plants and fruits. Omega 3 is known in brain science literature as brain food. Omega 3 is a unique type of fat and brain is a very fatty organ so it makes perfect sense why this is true! And another fascinating find is ‘intermittent fasting’ – mentioned in the neuroscience journal, the best way to explain this is by seeing the brain as a hybrid vehicle that evolved over years with food scarcity and didn’t get food all the time! So its backup mechanism became ketones – when we didn’t put glucose in our mouth post 16 hours and liver had released all the glucose it had stored, brain went to ketones for its energy. Therefore a high-fat diet is used in epilepsy conditions to reduce seizure in kids and please no, this isn’t the ‘intermittent fasting’ that people are doing for weight loss – a combination of glucose and ketones but pure ketones! All fat diet changes the mind because the mind is the electricity sparkling through the flesh. Even conceptually this makes perfect sense – when we go back in time and our ancestors went hunting and intermittent fasting was just the norm, their brain had to be sharp to hunt well and if it wasn’t with less food, then how did they survive with intermittent fasting right? Focus and cognition are our key objectives as we take challenging assignments and want to excel in performance so mind diet needs to be looked into.
Brain and habits: Habits is one of the most difficult things to change and this is observed 500,000 years ago and even 200.000 years ago but its quite clear that habits are formed in the brain! The verdict on this is don’t try to can the old habit but instead create a new habit – the term is neuroplasticity and its almost like gardening you see! And then when we keep repeating and repeating the new habit, it creates a new slope that we like to slide on, which creates a new neural pathway! I loved this part because as a coach, everything we can know about the habit to guide people can change their lives so this piece is quite interesting. Very often we put emphasize on changing old habits, now let’s just focus on the new habit and keep repeating it. This also applies to difficult things like anxiety and depression as the frontal lobe has the ability to regulate how we feel – sure it feels easier to use medicine but this is the long term, inside out approach.
Brain and sleep: Sleep affects the brain – this is really clear from our own experience the next day but they say disrupted sleep is even worse! Get 5 hours of good sleep instead of 7 hours of interrupted sleep! I didn’t know this to be honest! When we sleep our brain is priming the earlier days’ experiences, cleaning up the toxins and in a year we clean up as much as the weight of the brain! So any stuff out there which tells you to sleep less than 7 hours, I think should be dismissed.
There are many other aspects but even if we focus on these, we will come a long way in how we optimize our brain and change the things we really want to! Take smaller steps but consciously focus on brain health.
Nipa Asharam is a Thriive-verified, certified health and life coach. Keen to follow a holistic lifestyle that gives your skin a natural glow without stress and tons of maintenance? You can now learn and apply the easy-to-follow secrets to getting a Natural Glow in the comfort of your home.
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