A healthy diet means a healthy body and a healthy body includes a healthy brain. What should such a diet contain?
A good diet contains some substances with different functions in the organism. The majority of these substances have energetic functions. The neuron is the most sensible cell when it comes to a lack of glucose in the blood, because it doesn’t have its own storage of glucose as other cells have (for example, the hepatic cells, the muscle cells, etc.) and a severe hypoglycemia will ultimately lead to coma. Other substances, by participating to some reactions, protect our body from toxic intermediate metabolites, other catalyze reactions that would be impossible in the homeostatic conditions of the organism (and such substances are the vitamins). Let’s take a brief look at these substances and see where we can find them.
Antioxidants are chemical substances that neutralize free radicals (which are harmful molecules with electrons deficiency). Without neutralization, free radicals attack the cell membrane and then the genetic material, therefore, the disease appears as a consequence of the first steps. Antioxidants are disease preventives, so they maintain the health of the brain.
Where can we find antioxidants? Antioxidants are present in foods like:
• Fruits: Prunes, raisins, cranberries, blackcurrant, raspberry, oranges, grapes, cherries, kiwi, grapefruit, apples, bananas, apricots, peaches, pears, melon, watermelon, nuts.
• Vegetables: Kale, spinach, beets, onions, corn, eggplant, cauliflower, green beans, tomatoes, zucchini, celery, cucumber, garlic.
• Other foods: Grains, mushrooms, salmon (rich in selenium), green tea, saffron, eggs, vegetable oils (rich in E vitamin)
Folic acid or B9 Vitamin is involved in the normal development of the cell. Studies have shown that people with depression have a low level of folic acid in their blood, so scientist conclude that folic acid plays also a role in people’s good disposition. Folic acid is found in vegetables (spinach, broccoli), fruits (oranges), yeast, grains etc.
Pyridoxine or B6 Vitamin, besides the various roles which it plays in the organism (the proper functioning of the immune system, enabling the metabolism of amino acids, proteins, steroids, fat and hemoglobin) pyridoxine improves the memory. B6 vitamin is found in: Yeast, grains, milk, eggs, fish, bananas, avocado, nuts, etc.
B12 Vitamin prevents senility and anemia and it is found in: chicken, beef, pork (especially the liver), eggs and dairy.
Phosphatidylserine is a phospholipid which is found in all cell membranes but especially in the brain. Phosphatidylserine rejuvenates the memory and it is found in lecithin (which we can get by eating chocolate).
Tocopherol or E Vitamin is a strong antioxidant found in soybeans, corn, peanuts, sunflower seeds, germ of cereals, green vegetables and tomatoes.
C Vitamin is an essential nutrient involved in many important metabolisms (the metabolism of glucose, collagen and folic acid) and is also involved in the synthesis of neurotransmitters which are vital in the normal functioning of our organism.
We can get C Vitamin from a large variety of foods:
• Fruits and vegetables like: Oranges, lemon, melon, raspberry, tangerine, passion fruit, mango, blueberries, pineapple, grapes, apricot, grapefruit, spinach, tomatoes, cabbage.
• Meat: Beef liver, pork liver, brain, lamb, scallops, cod, lamb hearts, eggs and milk.
• Plants: Like underbrush and rose hip.
Selenium is a mineral which in small quantities has a good effect upon our health. It is found in vegetables (especially in vegetables which have grown in selenium rich soil), but also in eggs, fish, chicken, red meat and garlic.
The Coenzyme Q10 is present in every cell of our body and meets two major functions: It is implied in the energy producing process and it is a powerful antioxidant. It is found in foods like fatty fish (especially in mackerel and sardines) beef heart, liver and kidneys, eggs, soy and peanut.
Ginkgo biloba is a plant that slows the aging of the brain.
When it comes to the brain’s health, besides food, hydration of the body is also highly important for our health because without water our cells begin to die. Juice, coffee (which is a diuretic) and other commercial drinks can’t take the place of water, so obviously we shouldn’t prevent dehydration by consuming such drinks. Another fact for our brain’s health is to not smoke because smoking, besides the damage that causes to the heart and lungs, increases the risk of dementia.
A very important factor, a positive attitude is a healthy way of living. Studies have shown that happy people are less likely to have Alzheimer’s disease! Be joyful and healthy!