Feed Your Brain

More bad news about high fructose corn syrup.... or good news

...depending on where one is standing. Research is piling up on how high fructose corn syrup interferes with the message in our brain that tells us we are satiated. Thus, the consumer of the beverage or food that has been sweetened with high fructose corn syrup continues to feel hungry despite repeated helpings of the artificially sweetened food. One thing leads to another.... we are drinking that soda or eating that cookie to fill an empty space in the tummy. When we still feel hungry, we continue to eat. Did I mention how many calories are in high fructose corn syrup? Or shall I go into the instruction on how our bodies utilize refined sugars versus complex glucose in vegetables, for example? Save that discussion for another day. Today, I am bringing up a few helpful hints about feeding your brain.


Feed your brain....

foods that provide the building blocks for maintaining nerve cells. Oh that is right! the brain is our central nerve station. Naturally, nerve cells have needs. Sure, sugar..glucose is the brain's fuel. But, like all food, sugar is a molecule that comes in many shapes and sizes. In the universe, there are surely uses for every shape of any molecule, but just as your car requires certain versions of oil to adequately remain clean and perform its job, your body requires certain versions of the various nutrients.

January farmers market~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I remember that old 1950s idea about "better life through chemicals"

because I am a late baby boomer and we were blitzed with all kinds of images: in school book stories, Life and other magazine images, the radio talk shows, and movies, with how our imminent future was going to look because science would save the day! Lots of jokes abound about asking what happened to those old "futuristic" images. Still very much a proponent of science, my viewpoint is that we have taken a left turn on science when we try to recreate what nature has already done a brilliant job of providing. Instead of scattering the earthly treasures provided, by changing them, perhaps we might apply science to truly understanding why the naturally occurring versions of molecules are so perfect for our bodies and the balance of this world as we know it.


Foods that taste great AND feed your brain, so well, that you might find yourself actually satiated and forgetting 'bout craving that moon pie or dreamsicle:

This is the easy part, because naturally occurring brain foods are very satiating! As I said, glucose is the brain's favorite chemical...and the most long-lasting source is the immediate intake of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Yes, it is preferable to lightly graze through the day rather than a few huge meals a day. Recently, studies have been touting the great benefits of berries for the brain. Not a fan of berries? avocados are a very nutrient dense food and the brain loves that healthy fat too. (Look for articles on healthy fat in the archives and in upcoming posts). Maybe you desire something unique to express your individualism.... pomegranates make many expert lists as an excellent source of protection against free radical damage to your brain cells. Drinking pomegranate juice skips the digging into seeds part of eating the fruit raw and condenses the amount of good food to your brain. Read the label and make sure the manufacturers did not muck up a good thing by sweetening it with high fructose corn syrup.  Whole grains are an excellent source of brain food too... in a well chosen grain, one improves circulation to the brain (and heart) as well as carbohydrates and even some omega-3s...talk about multi-tasking. Speaking of omega-3s ... think: nuts, seeds, and cold water fish. Keep current on mercury levels of the fish of course. Right now the recommendation is Wild Salmon from Alaska, tilefish, shellfish, and light tuna. There is more I can share about food choices, MUCH more! but for the sake of keeping this brief enough to provide food for thought while avoiding boredom, I am ending this post with these quickie hints.


Good news...

that I mentioned at the beginning is that if you are giving your brain the foods it truly craves .... a few yummy ideas provided here ... then you are being a good provider to your brain. Who is going to make sure your brain works smoothly better than you? So, do not worry about high fructose corn syrup; just avoid consuming it in sodas and desserts and all the secret hidden places, like ketchups and sauces and crackers ... Read the labels, because high fructose corn syrup, in one form or another, is nearly always near the top in the list of ingredients. More to the point, if you are giving your brain the food that human brains evolved eating to the gifted state we can now experience, then you will soon stop craving the altered foods that use high fructose corn syrup to tease your brain.


One last thought....

experts report many unfortunate things about these altered/processed chemicals in the ingredients. High fructose corn syrup, for example, has now been linked to obesity, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, liver dysfunction, higher triglyceride levels in men, and disruptions to memory and learning. Why take the risk with the gem of a brain you carry in your head? In the end, when what we eat satisfies us, WE EAT LESS. Eating less because you are eating right should help with the grocery tab, sure, but it also helps with the part of your brain tabulating your quality of life. Feel good, it really is easy.

Posted on January 31, 2013 and filed under discussions, information.