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Getting the right cells going with the right nutrition

Tired? Stressed out? Difficulty concentrating? Those who struggle with such problems can often improve their situation through proper nutrition. It is important to ensure a consistently high energy supply, as well as a good start to the day with a healthy breakfast. Here are some tips.

Food supplements as brain food pills and capsules to increase intelligence or better memory. Some manufacturers of certain nutritional supplements make such or similar promises and refer to their products as brain food. Prof. Barbara Plecko, President of the Society for Neuropediatrics, says: "You cannot eat wisdom with spoons." Proper nutrition, however, can help make brain metabolism work properly.

Drink a lot! Doctors, consumer advocates and nutritionists agree on this. For example, the University of Applied Sciences in Kufstein, Austria recently organized its first Brain Food Day. Sara Neubauer, team leader for healthy eating at the university of applied sciences, sees the most important basic rule: drink a lot! Because the liquid supplied ensures that the head and body are adequately supplied with oxygen and supplied with blood. "You should already drink two to three liters of water, unsweetened juice spritzer or tea," says Neubauer.

Dextrose not necessarily helpful Our brain burns 20 grams of glucose a day. Because glucose cannot be stored in the brain like in the muscles, it needs a stable blood sugar level. If this drops, concentration and thinking abilities decrease. If we take simple sugar, for example in the form of chocolate or dextrose candy, this will cause the blood sugar level to skyrocket. This in turn alarms the pancreas to an increased secretion of insulin, which accelerates the incorporation of the sugar into the cells. The result is an even greater drop in the glucose content in the blood and thus in mental performance. Conversely, too high a blood sugar level has been shown to have a negative impact on brain performance.

Brain needs a lot of energy More than a fifth of the daily energy requirement is consumed by the brain. It is therefore important to have a consistently high energy supply in order to be able to work in a concentrated manner for a long time. For this, complex, long-chain carbohydrates are necessary, which the body gradually breaks down into individual building blocks and which thus reach the brain over a longer period of time. “Whole grain bread or oatmeal provide many complex carbohydrates. You shouldn't miss them in breakfast, "explains the FH team leader. These whole sugars are also contained in whole grain rice, potatoes, fruits and vegetables.

Fat as an energy supplier Fats are number two among energy suppliers. Polyunsaturated fatty acids have a favorable effect on the envelopes of the nerve cells and their interaction. "For example, omega-3 fatty acids play an important role in brain functions," said Angela Clausen from the North Rhine-Westphalia Consumer Center. "Rapeseed oil or walnut oil, high-fat fish, nuts and dried fruit should therefore be on the menu regularly."

Important proteins The smallest building blocks of proteins, the amino acids, ensure that information flows quickly from one cell to the next. This is one of the reasons why proteins are so important for us humans. In addition to fish and seafood, lean meat and lean dairy products, but above all legumes, whole grains and nuts are good sources of protein. Consumer advocate Clausen explains that those who already eat a balanced diet every day did not achieve an increase in performance through the additional consumption of certain foods or their ingredients or through preventive ingestion. Plecko confirms: “The brain is not an organ like the liver that can stock up on something. It is completely dependent on the supply of nutrients from the blood. "Regular food intake is therefore beneficial.

Good start with a healthy breakfast Choosing the right food and the time of eating can have an impact. "A breakfast with self-mixed muesli with curls of oats, nuts, lean milk products and fruit or a wholemeal bread with curd cheese or lean ham, with tomatoes or peppers and a fruit juice - that is a great basis for a busy day," says Neubauer. She recommends : "An ideal snack during exams or in stressful situations is a banana. It contains a lot of magnesium, and that is a nerve-boosting." In principle, however, it applies to every snack that it should not be too large. Because then the stomach is overworked and the blood is no longer available in the brain. (ad)

Photo credit: Dieter Schütz /

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