Brain health is where the brain functions with the capacity for proper cognitive, sensory, motor, behavioral, emotional, and social interactions at the highest levels.
The Pillars of Brain Health:
- Regular exercise improves blood flow, memory and stimulates proper chemical changes.
- Foods rich in antioxidants prevent oxidation.
- Sleep, meditation and managing stress to reduce a buildup of beta-amyloid plaque.
- Mental exercises and staying mentally active promote new brain cells.
- Having an active social life, connection with others, and having stimulating conversations.
- Take key nutrients and natural tonics found in herbs and nutritional supplements.
- Cure, prevent and slow cellular degeneration, assist cellular regeneration by increasing oxygen intake and releasing carbon dioxide, and bring sufficient blood and nutrients to the brain and body.
- Optimize and improve functions of the mind and body. Provide materials for rejuvenation and regeneration. Slow brain cell degenerative progression, cure existing conditions of brain cell and prevent brain cell degeneration.
The key to brain function are chemical messengers called neurotransmitters.
There are hundreds of neurotransmitters. The following are important for brain health and longevity.
GABA (gamma-amino butyric acid) – a relaxing and calming nutrient especially for an overactive mind, aids in sleep.
DOPAMINE – Controls physical movement, improves mood, burns fat, increases sex drive, and promotes longevity of body and mind, energizer, and stimulates the pituitary gland to secrete human growth hormone, Is important for the immune system.
EPINEPHRINE – Drives the “fight or flight” response. Motivates and stimulates.
NOREPINEPHRINE – Elevates mood, supplies energy, gives us vivid memories of events of life. Norepinephrine elevates mood, supplies energy and optimism, helps us to remember exciting and traumatic events.
ENDORPHINS – Stimulate interest, focus, and concentration. Released in response to any significant physical or emotional stress to relieve pain or anxiety.
ACETYLCHOLINE – improves memory, cognitive function, primary for concentration, thought and happiness. Promotes the transmission of nerve impulses.
SEROTONIN – Improves mood, and controls sensitivity to pain. Serotonin is the ‘feel good’ neuro-transmitter, controls pain sensitivity and helps restful sleep.
MELATONIN – Keeps you in tune with the cycles of nature. Controls the circadian rhythms that are linked to sleep and waking, eating and drinking, sexual activity and fertility. influences the fetus in the womb for its growth and development, puberty, and when the body is preparing for later life, aging, and death. Chemically related to the neurotransmitter serotonin. Powerful antioxidant. An important neurotransmitter for the elevation of higher consciousness.
Brain Longevity Food Guidelines
- Eat a balanced acid/alkaline food program. 80% alkaline food, 20% acid food.
- Eat proteins at the beginning of the meal, and pay attention to proper food combinations.
- Eat healthy fats.
- Eat a food program according to your body type and the amount of energy required for daily output.
- Eat for nutritional value.
- Eat simple and locally grown organic foods.
- Eat to maintain proper blood sugar levels.
The best brain fuel foods are slow-released fats and complex carbohydrates.
The primary building blocks for all body cells, from hair to muscles to enzymes and hormones, and the source of neurotransmitters, are proteins. A proper balance of amino acids determines the quality of a protein.
Essential fatty acids produce hormones called eicosanoids which are necessary for many of the chemical processes within the brain and body.
Heal the microbiome and if needed a leaky gut. The gut-brain axis is important for mental/emotional health and the proper working of the brain and its faculties.
Brain Foods – below are listed some food staples that nourish our brain and promote brain cell regeneration.
- Turmeric – essential in cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease prevention. Best combined with Vitamin D3, reduces beta-amyloid proteins.
- Ginger – has cancer-preventative properties, mitigates chemical toxicity, alleviates nausea, migraines, lowers inflammation, is an antioxidant and is anti-inflammatory.
- Fresh Herbs and Spices – benefit the central nervous system, decelerate the aging process, reduce inflammation, protect against aches and pains, improve digestion
- Rosemary – brain booster that enhances cognition, improves memory, and sensory awareness.
- Coffee – high in antioxidants. 1 cup before noon may impair dementia and cognitive decline.
- Green Tea – more beneficial than coffee. Reduces oxidative stress, feeds the microbiome and slows the aging process. The best is Matcha tea. Black tea to a smaller degree also.
- Lion’s Mane Mushroom – Lion’s Mane tea boosts memory, creativity, and attention span, enhances concentration, is a powerful brain regenerative, encourages neuroplasticity and releases nerve growth factor, supports the nervous system. The mushroom itself is delicious.
- Walnut – Contains Omega-3 fatty acids essential for the brain, boosts cognition, high in antioxidants, may increase health span and enhances motor functioning in aging.
- Ginkgo Biloba – improves memory and cognition, protects neurons from oxidation, improves microcirculation in the brain, reduces platelet aggregation, and encourages regeneration.
- Cannabidiol – neuroprotective properties.
- Coconut oil – easily digestible fat boosts brain metabolism and gives a quick improvement of cognitive functioning.
- Coconut water – contains a wide range of essential biomolecules including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, amino acids, enzymes, growth factors and other nutrients.
These nutrients help produce melatonin, serotonin and GABA:
Magnesium, B vitamins B6, B12, B complex, vitamin D3, and zinc. Omega-3 oils, amino acids, L-tyrosine, tryptophan, taurine and theanine.
Foods to Eat: Primarily eat a diet of organic, local vegetables and some fruit; blueberries, leafy greens, dark chocolate, whole grains, nuts and seeds, fresh fermented soy products, seaweeds, fresh vegetable juices, non-animal-based protein, cold water fish, sufficient good fats primarily Omega 3 oils, spirulina, chlorella, and fermented foods. All mushrooms, especially shitake and Lion’ Mane mushrooms, broccoli and broccoli sprouts, Brussels sprouts, bee pollen, avocado, lentils, black beans, kidney beans, and pure water.
Eat nutritionally rich and high-water content foods, eat a proper caloric diet, balanced according to your body type/metabolism, the season of the year and your energy output. Best to eat the main meal around mid-day and not late in the evening.
Foods to Avoid: Wheat, gluten, excessive amounts of starchy carbohydrates, sugar, excessive coffee and alcohol intake, high fructose corn syrup and corn food products, white flour, cow’s milk, red meats, pork, fried foods, refined foods, processed foods, canned foods, junk foods, unclean and stale food, GMO foods, oils high in Omega 6 and 9, and fried oils.
Consider taking digestive enzymes with meals if you have any digestive difficulty.
Water – aim for a daily intake of 1/2 your body weight (pounds) in ounces.
Click the link for > Part II of this series