Feed Your Head: 3 Ways to Eat Your Way to A Happier Brain
These days, many of us are concerned about eating right to keep our hearts healthy and help stave off chronic diseases like obesity and diabetes. What many people don’t realize is that eating well is essential to feeding not only your body but also your brain. One more reason to think twice the next time you’re faced with a gooey, sugary, nutrient-free dessert.
Your brain is a “hungry” organ that needs to be fed. It depends on a constant supply of nutrients, all of which influence how well you brain functions, your moods, your emotional and mental health and your energy levels. When you feed it poorly, your starving your brain of the nutrients is needs to keep you on an even keel.
You also have a “second brain” that resides in your digestive tract, known as the enteric nervous system. Ancient wisdom referred to the gut as the “honored middle,” the seat of intelligence. Modern science now concurs and has revealed that there is an intricate two-way communication system between your central nervous system brain and your gut brain.
What does this mean to you in your everyday life?
Quite simply, every time you eat, you have an opportunity to influence this remarkable bi-directional neuronal network that produces mood and mind-altering chemicals.
Here are three tips for nourishing your hungry brain:
Mindful Eating, the 3/3 Guideline...Before you eat your next meal, take a moment to just look at your food. Allow all your senses to be fully engaged including your sense of sight and smell. Take three relaxing breaths before you eat…chew thoroughly, as the act of chewing stimulates critical digestive enzymes and acids. While you’re eating, rest your hands at least three times and take a slow, relaxing breath each time. By integrating the skill of mindful eating, you will enjoy better digestion which is essential for brain health.
Whole Food Nourishment…Nature-made, whole foods provide the vital nourishment necessary to support brain and digestive health. Plant foods (vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes) and consciously-raised animal foods provide a synergistic supply of brain-boosting nutrients, phytochemicals and fiber that influence mood, mind and memory.
Culinary Medicine…Herbs and spices impart first-class flavor to our plates and have multifunctional properties important for brain and digestive health. So, whether it is turmeric, rosemary, ginger, oregano or dill, experiment with the aromatic deliciousness of different herbs and spices to perk up your mood and sharpen your mind.
One of my favorite ways to nourish both the brain in your head and the one in your belly is with fermented foods. Check out Probiotic Pep Rally, my post on how to create fabulous fermentable foods.