How Your Diet Impacts Your Brain’s Health
Everything you put into your mouth has impacts reaching much further than a simple meal. The brain is working around-the-clock even when you’re asleep, requiring a constant supply of oxygen and fuel. The latter coming from the foods you eat, this fuel impacts everything from the structure of your brain, to the efficiency of its functioning. This means that the nutrients you eat or don’t eat has a huge impact on your mood and psychological well-being. This is a relatively new field, but is something that you can easily take into your own hands. Along the same lines, research has also shown that sedentary adults increase their risk of developing nervous disorders compared to those that are physically active.We’ve all heard “we are what we eat,” withResearchers strengthening the link between the quality of an individual’s diet and mental health status adding new depth to the comparison.
Nutrients at Work:
The brain is nourished by vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which also protect it from free radicals that otherwise can cause oxidative stress. When the body uses oxygen, it leaves behind free radicals as a byproduct, which are capable of damaging cells.Eating low quality foods also has a lasting impact on your brain. Refined sugars can impact the chemistry within the brain by promoting inflammation and worsening glucose regulation. Ingesting refined sugars has also been correlated with amplified symptoms in mood disorders. Researchers at Harvard University have found correlations between a varying levels of nutritious diets and the extent of free radical effects, indicating lasting changes in the brain over time.
The Mind-Gut Link:
Neurotransmitters are the secret behind nutritional neuroscience, shown to be active participants in the neural pathways that travel between your gut and brain.As food is such a source of emotional comfort, it makes logical sense that the processes that incorporate it into your system are somehow implicated by the brain.Serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is involved in sleep, appetite, mood and pain regulation, has been shown to have great relevance in systems outside of the brain. Certain foods are also known to encourage better sleep patterns, which adds another layer to the mind-gut connection.
The gastrointestinal tract is lined with hundreds of millions of neurons, releasing the same transmitters found within the central nervous system. Traditionally thought to have the sole responsibility of digestion and nutrient absorption, it has become an accepted concept over time that it is inextricable from mental well-being. Millions of bacteria live in your gut, helping to break down things you ingest and making up part of your immune system. The quality and nutritional density of the foods you eat determines the efficiency with which your brain processes and combines information.
Your Life is in Your Hands:
The compounds that you include in your diet can be a first defense barrier against toxins, helping to limit inflammation and build healthy tissue. Research has shown that the most beneficial diet is one filled with vegetables, fruits, unprocessed grains, fish and seafood, accompanied by only modest amounts of lean meats and dairy. Adding certain fermented foods to your diet can also help to improve the health of your gut bacteria. Many foods in the Western diet are processed or refined, which can make it trickier than it should be to find nourishing foods.
It Takes a Village…
Today, online interfaces are providing convenient and remote access to personalized professional counseling.Direction from a professional at BetterHelp can help you to not only know what ways are best for you to change your diet but how to successfully implement this treatment strategy to best assist you.