Brain Food!

imgresDid you know your brain controls every single function of your body? Did you know the purpose of eating is to ultimately feed the brain? Regular consumption of healthy brain foods reduces our risks of disease by maintaining a healthy immune system.

The typical American diet is laden with unhealthy trans fats, sugars, processed foods, preservatives, artificial flavors, artificial colors, antibiotics, pesticides and growth hormones. With all these “ingredients” in our so called “food,” it is of no surprise a myriad of diseases caused by nutrient deficiencies are at an all-time high and vitamin supplement sales are soaring.

Many young adults & athletes in pursuit of sculpting the perfect body often times turn towards nutrition and protein powders as well as sports drinks to ensure they are getting the nutrients their bodies need. Often times these products are riddled with dangerous fillers, hormones, and chemicals that can cause liver, kidney and heart damage with long term daily consumption. Unfortunately, many of these well meaning folks don’t realize the dangers hidden in these “power” products.

The most important thing one can do for their body is EAT – chew, swallow, stimulate, digest, and absorb real food. So, consume nutrient-rich Brain Foods first and consult with a doctor trained in functional nutrition for additional necessary support to ensure a safe and profoundly healthy brain and body.

The most natural form of any nutrient is found in nature’s goodness— real food. The synergistic effects found only in the whole food’s natural state provides us with the most bioavailable forms of their nutrients. While taking supplements to boost our deficiencies is important, isolating these nutrients in the forms of powders, pills, and even essential oils can be risky business.

A nutrient rich diet complete with organic fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains & legumes, as well as organic lean meats are the best way to ensure safe nutrient balance in our bodies. However, a completely organic diet could be cost-prohibitive for many American individuals and families. I encourage patients to choose first the organic foods they really like and eat regularly, and then if cost is an issue reach for non-GMO, natural or free range for the foods they eat less often. By doing this, you limit the amount of harmful “ingredients” and remove many of the overly processed and packaged foods completely.

Incorporating foods for brain health into your diet isn’t hard. Just keep these 5 simple principles in mind:

  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. In general, the more colorful the better.
  • Use a wide variety of herbs and spices to make your meals delicious and brain healthy.
  • Buy wild salmon and grass-fed meat when available.
  • Use coconut oil wherever you normally use vegetable oil.
  • Eat nuts and seeds as brain food snacks. But most of all, eat chocolate!

SUPER BRAIN FOODS

Blueberries (fresh or frozen): contain anthyocyanins known to improve memory, learning, reasoning skills, decision making, verbal comprehension, and numerical ability avocado; help maintain communication between brain cells by stimulating the production of BDNF(brain derived neurotic factor) a protein that stimulates cell growth.

Avocado: boosts the neurotransmitter dopamine to help keep your brain focused.

Green Leafy Vegetables: contain folic acid, Vit B6 & Vit B12 work synergistically to reduce brain atrophy, improve brain function, and dramatically reduce brain shrinkage in the part of the brain most affected by Alzheimer’s. Also contains L-Tyrosine which works synergistically to reduce brain atrophy, improve brain function, and dramatically reduce brain shrinkage in the part of the brain most affected by Alzheimer’s. They also contain Vit K, also thought to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s.

Peppers (hot & bell peppers): high in vitamin C, antioxidants, and phytonutrients such as beta carotene and capsaicin which improves circulation to the brain.

Root Vegetables: high in fiber and complex carbohydrates that are good at supplying your brain with a steady stream of energy.

Rosemary: has significant antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties to fight free radical damage in the brain. It also contains Carsonic acid, a phytonutrient particularly good for protecting the brain from a stroke and neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. Other herbs good for supporting your brain are: basil, chives, oregano, parsley, sage, and thyme.

Turmeric: a potent antioxidant that readily crosses the blood-brain barrier that improves memory, increases BDNF production in the brain, reduces brain inflammation, can break up the brain plaques associated with Alzheimer’s.

Nuts and Seeds like walnuts, chocolate, almonds, cashews, sesame seeds, and chia seeds: contain brain-essential omega-3 fatty acids, B complex vitamins, vitamin E, iron, zinc, and magnesium.

Chocolate (70% Cacao or more): contains flavinoids thought to reduce the risk of dementia. Also contains caffeine & theobromine contribute to the improved memory, focus, and attention that chocolate lovers experience.

Salmon (wild-caught only), Grass-fed beef and meats: contain amino acids and high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids which aid in reducing inflammation.

Coconut Oil: contains medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) which enable it to supply energy directly to the brain with no insulin spike making it a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s and other neurological disorders.

The Mind-Body Connection

“Please stop! You’re getting on my nerves!” How many times have you uttered those words in your lifetime? In our fast-paced, LA society, I’d imagine we say this a few more times than we care to even admit.

We all know that when we are stressed out from various circumstances, we feel it throughout our bodies. This feeling can manifest as upset stomach, headache, muscle aches, fatigue, depression, anxiety, anger, intolerance, etc…

Your spinal cord is a direct extension of your brain, and you have over 7 trillion nerves in your body! Every single one of them is connected to your spinal cord and brain. Chiropractors call this the Mind-Body Connection.

lampsI like to describe this Mind-Body relationship like a Outlet-Lamp relationship. Our bodies, just like a lamp are pretty much useless unless the appropriate stream of electricity necessary to light up the world around us is flowing un-impeded. Our nerves are like the electrical cord. They allow the transmission of neurons/electricity to flow from the source to the organs/light bulb. There is nothing more annoying than a muscle twitch/flickering light bulb. Right? Are you starting to see The Connection?

Once the bulb starts flickering what do we do? We check to see if the bulb is screwed in tight, or if the cord is plugged in all the way, or if there is a fraying wire or a chink in the chain somewhere. Once we’ve discovered the issue, we set out to remedy the problem– usually a pretty easy fix. It’s rare that we have to replace the entire electrical mechanism or rewire the lamp. But, do you change out the lamp shade? What good would that do besides, make the flickering light less annoying?

So what do you do when you notice the signs of a “flickering light” in your body? If you’re like most people, you set out to fix it.  Just like a flickering light is annoying, so is dis-ease in our bodies. You probably get a little agitated ~ the “you’re getting on my nerves syndrome,” or maybe you just have muscle aches, upset stomach, headaches, colds, flu, ear infections, cough, inflammation, and sometimes even chronic diseases. So just like changing the lampshade to disguise the flickering light is a rather, well, “dumb” approach, why do we mask our symptoms of dis-ease with pain killers or other kinds of drugs? Why don’t we fix the cause instead of disguising the symptoms?

Chiropractors are able to evaluate and identify the cause of dis-ease. Perhaps all is needed is a chiropractic adjustment to turn the light bulb on and get the juices flowing again,  or maybe nutritional deficiencies or lifestyle choices are interfering with the communication between the mind and the rest of the body. A chiropractor is able to diagnose the problem and recommend appropriate steps to address the cause of the symptoms you are experiences.

The Mind-Body Connection doesn’t need help to operate properly, but it doesn’t need any interference either. Chiropractors remove the interference on the nervous system, allowing the Mind-Body Connection to be restored. Let your light shine! Call your chiropractor today!

Autonomic Nervous System Chart