You are what you eat is a very well know phrase which reminds us of the importance of a good balance in our diet. Not only it nutrition a key factor when it comes to health and wellbeing, but also -linked to both- the correct functioning of our brain. If we do not give our body (and brain) what it needs we simply can’t work properly.
Too often we do not even notice that our body is missing some nutrients, but difficulty to concentrate or learn can give us a hint that our brain is in need of “fuel”.
Throughout its tasks the brain creates neurotransmitters (serotonin, histamine, dopamine, etc.) and certain types of food can help creating those and thus make the brain more efficient in its task to create new connections.
The dietary neurotransmitters and relative food sources can be checked in below table:
|Dietary Neurotransmitter||Foods and Botanicals|
|Acetylcholine||Aubergine, bitter orange, common bean, foxglove, mistletoe, mung bean, nettle species, pea, radish, spinach, squash, wild strawberry.|
|Glutamate||Caviar, cheese, crackling, chips, dried cod, fermented beans, fish sauces, gravies, instant coffee powder, meats, miso, mushrooms, noodle dishes, oyster sauce, Parmesan cheese, ready-to-eat meals, salami, savory snacks, seafood, seaweeds, soups, soy sauces, spinach, stews, tomato, tomato sauce.|
|GABA||Adzuki bean, barley, broccoli, buckwheat, chestnut, common bean, kale, lupin, maypop, mouse-ear hawkweed, oat, pea, pokeroot, potato, rice, shiitake, soya bean, spinach, St John’s wort, sweet potato, tea, tomato, valerian, wheat, wild celery.|
|Dopamine||Aubergine, avocado, banana, common bean, apple, orange, pea, plantain, spinach, tomato, velvet bean.|
|Serotonin||Bananas, chicory, Chinese cabbage, coffee powders, green coffee bean, green onion, hazelnut, kiwi, lettuce, nettle, Griffonia simplicifolia, paprika, passion fruit, pawpaw, pepper, pineapple, plantain, plum, pomegranate, potato, spinach, strawberry, tomato, velvet bean, wild rice.|
|Histamine||Anchovy, beer, billfish, Champagne and Sherry, dandelion, fermented sausages, ham and other cured dry meat products, herring, ketchup, aged cheeses, nettle, red, white and dessert wines, sardine, sauerkraut, Scomberesocidae (for example, sauries), Scombridae (for example, tuna, mackerel, and bonitos), soybean food products (for example, soy, tempeh, soy sauce, soya bean milk, doenjang, doufuru, and nattō), sweet or sour cream, UHT, pasteurized, and fresh milk, yoghurt.|
Certainly, we can say that a diet rich in vegetables and fruits is very beneficial for the brain and body in general.
The body and brain can adapt to a certain type of nutrition and we may feel that it is allright. Also, when eating our favourite food the dopamine levels rise, but we need always more of that food to achieve the same effect (similar to drugs) – quite bad if our favourite food happens to be chocolate or chips! So it’s better to boost our dopamine by eating bananas, avocado, oranges, tomato, apples and peas! That’ll make us happy AND strong thinkers.
For some further reading on the topic you may access different resources in below picture:
Las but not least, you also may remember the famous saying: An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Now there is research that suggest that apples are also very beneficial for the brain:
Natural compounds found in apples and other fruits may help stimulate the production of new brain cells, which may have implications for learning and memory, according to a new study in mice published in Stem Cell Reports.Source
So, simply enjoy your healthy-brain meals and boost your learning!