Brain Nutrition

Anyone here old enough to remember the 1967 brain nutrition anthem by The Jefferson Airplane which included the line, "Feed Your Head, Feed Your Head....?"

I am not sure of the title, but I may still have the LP somewhere, so I suppose I could go look.

The song was a not so cleverly disguised paen to LSD use for expand your consciousness.

Grace Slick sang the song.

And that is not the kind of feeding your head I want to talk about today either.

Now that I am 60 and I can expand my consciousness using breathing, prayer, exercise, and Chi Gong, I want to feed my head with more nutritious foods, like fresh, wild, oily fish chock full of omega 3's for my neurons.

And that is not the only kind of nutrition important to my feeding my head.

Check this out.

Feed Your Head....Fish!

Fish are excellent sources of protein and omega-3 fatty acids that are essential for a healthy brain. Wild fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines are particularly rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Generally, wild fish are to be preferred to farm raised. Fish contain the neurotransmitter precurser Tyrosine that assists in the production of norepinephrine. If you are a vegetarian who does not consume fish, you may want to consider taking a fish oil or flax seed supplement to augment your diet.

And if you do not like fish, or fear contamination from mercury, or do not like the smell of fish, then you may want to take a supplement, like I do, of omega 3 fatty acid.

Feed Your Brain Vegetables

Fresh vegetables provide the brain with essential nutrients and antioxidants to help nourish and maintain brain cell growth.

Try to find locally grown and ripened vegetables and fruits. If vegetables are picked green and ripened enroute, they do not develop the phytochemicals so necessary for brain nutrition.

Organically grown vegetables, free from pesticides and additives, are much healthier for your brain than vegetables exposed to growing practices utilizing harsh chemicals.

In one scientific study, rats who were fed spinach showed a much lower decline in age-related mental functions than did their conterparts fed a conventional diet.

My kids say "Rats" when I feed them spinach though, so I creative in my recipes.

Feed Your Brain Fresh and Organic Fruits

Dad's recommendation for the family? Smoothies. I can get my kids to swallow some of this because it tastes sweet.

My favorite recipe? (If using a blender, blend in sequence or you will burn up the motor)!

Some ice, some vanilla yogurt, strawberries, blue berries, a peach, a banana, an orange, and some milk. I buy fresh and freeze so blend until the chunks are small or liquid. Feed to children. We used to give my daughter hers in a coffee cup, because she called it her "morning coffee."

Fresh and Organic Fruits are superb souces of antioxidants including Vitamin C. Blueberries, strawberries, and oranges are especially potent brain foods. According to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), people who eat an abundance of fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants are 70% less likely to suffer from dementia and Alzheimer's. The study recommends eight to nine servings a day of antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables for optimum brain health.

Feed Your Brain Nuts and Seeds.

Nuts and Seeds. Walnuts, brazil nuts, and peanuts are high in protein and contain omega 3 fatty acids that are critical to a healthy brain. Brazil nuts contain selenium. Walnuts are rich in omega 3 fatty acids and also contain tryptophan, which is a feel good neurotransmitter.

Feed Your Brain Water

Water is perhaps the single best source of nourishment for our brains. Clean and pure water is essential to brain health. Water makes up approximately 85% of the total weight of our brains and can help cleanse the brain from toxins we consume from our environment and other foods we eat. However, it is necessary to be moderate even in regards to our water consumption. Both too little water, and too much, can lead ultimately to death. Maintaining a healthy balance of water will help ensure that our brain is functioning at optimal levels of performance.

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When I was beginning my personal growth journey, a wise person told me that when I was feeling resentful or afraid or sad, that I should remember the phrase "gratitude is the attitude" when I was ready to feel better. That phrase has helped me feel better tens of thousands of times.

Would you share what you are most grateful for? Your story could be just what another person is searching for to renew themselves? Thanks.

Have a question and want to talk with a therapist? Call 815-316-2621 for Julie Logan, LCSW, RN. 7121 Windsor Lake Parkway, Loves Park, Illinois 61111

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