Food For Thought: How Food Affects Our Brains

We are what we eat

The brain controls every aspect of our life – thoughts, movements, feelings. For this, he constantly needs energy that we get from food. This is why it is so important to watch what you eat: remember, your choices have a direct and long-term effect on the most powerful organ in the body – the brain. We asked an expert, who told us about exactly how the stomach and brain are connected and what food our brains need.

Millions of nerves and neurons pass between the gut and the brain. There are many interconnections between the food we eat and the bacteria in our gut that affect our health and even our mood. By adjusting the work of bacteria in the intestines, you can improve the functioning of the brain.

The hippocampus, the area of ​​the brain responsible for memory, learning, and mental health, gets smaller in those who abuse junk food.

Experts argue that eliminating unhealthy carbohydrates from the diet will have a positive effect on IQ levels and health in general, and also reduce the risk of developing depression.

Foods that can worsen brain health include:

A lot does not mean good

Many of us are convinced that hunger can die, so without thinking, we instinctively try to suppress hunger as quickly as possible. However, short-term fasting does not harm, but, on the contrary, strengthens the vitality of a person much more than overeating. The brain loves ketones from fat metabolism – it increases efficiency, reaction speed and creativity.


1. Fatty omega-3 acids

Foods high in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) slow down brain aging and significantly reduce the risk of senile dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. Plus, taking omega-3s helps fight depression.

Foods richest in omega-3 acids:

  • fatty fish: salmon, herring, trout, mackerel, etc.;
  • linseed, rapeseed, hemp and walnut oil;
  • flax and chia seeds;
  • nuts;
  • algae, zostera.

2. Lecithin

Lecithin is one of the main sources of nutrition for the nervous system. The peripheral nervous system is 17% lecithin, and the brain is 30%. Deficiency of lecithin is accompanied by dysfunctions of the nervous, cardiovascular and other systems. Manifestations of lecithin deficiency in humans are quite common.

To compensate for its lack, it is important to include in the diet foods rich in lecithin – eggs, nuts and legumes.

3. Tryptophan

Tryptophan is an amino acid that can increase the production of serotonin in the brain, a hormone responsible for mood, sleep quality and pain perception. The substance has a wide range of positive effects on the body. It is used to combat insomnia and depression.

Amino acid reserves are found in bananas, beans, cottage cheese, dairy products, dates, eggs, fish, meat, nuts, peanuts, and whole grains.

4. Protein

An important protein for the brain is isoleucine: it plays the role of a stimulant of the immune system, provides additional energy and promotes the formation of hemoglobin. Isoleucine increases energy, improves endurance, and aids in muscle recovery.

We are looking for fish, nuts and meat.

5.Vitamins of group B

B vitamins are vital substances that directly affect the nervous system. To avoid vitamin deficiencies, watch your diet.

Try to eat a variety of foods and include meat, peas, buckwheat, mushrooms, eggs and oatmeal in your meal.


The microbiome is made up of a huge number of bacteria found in a healthy gut. For the brain, these gut bacteria are important. They protect the intestinal mucosa and provide a strong barrier against toxins and “bad” bacteria, as well as activate neural pathways that run directly between the intestines and the brain. Many diseases of the nervous system – autism, depression, schizophrenia, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease – can be associated with an imbalance in certain gut bacteria.

To keep the intestinal microflora healthy, you should pay attention to this methodology of and follow the general rules of nutrition according to the expert:

  •  Maintain a healthy acid-base balance. To do this, combine acidifying foods (cereals, all animal products) with alkalizing foods (vegetables) in your diet. Include vegetables at every meal – volumes, beets, peppers, cauliflower, pumpkin and others. Give preference to baked and steamed foods.
  • Eat slowly;
  • Chew food well with enough saliva;
  • Start eating only in a relaxed, calm state and in a good mood;
  • Finish eating when you feel full, not overeating;
  • Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration and sudden fluctuations in electrolyte levels.

Following the simple rules of nutrition according to Mayer, any meal will become a real ritual of healthy self-care. As a result of therapy, you will restore bowel function, thereby improving brain function. Do not limit yourself to just proper nutrition: do sports outdoors, watch your sleep patterns, stop worrying about trifles, limit your work at the monitor.

Breathe fresh air, enjoy the time alone, include healthy foods in your diet and maintain inner harmony, and then the brain will remain vigorous and productive for as long as possible.