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Foods to improve your mood and reduce your stress!

| Becca Clayton

Did you know that specific foods can improve your mood, concentration, memory and learning ability, as well as reduce stress?

I found myself reading even more than ever this last couple of weeks and one particular article has truly drawn my attention, which in turn prompted more reading / research of my own too – all of which I’d now like to share with you….

It was a real epiphany when I read that the brain, being our greediest organ, when well nourished, will allow the rest of the body to flourish too. WOW. Although it actually makes perfect sense really that by feeding the brain optimally, the rest of the body would be able to benefit too.

You may like me (until very recently) be completely oblivious to the fact that what they eat every day, has a short- and long-term impact on their brain functioning, mood, memory, learning and capacity to be alert and focused. Each day, the brain requires raw materials for both functioning and structure maintenance. People take it for granted that they are getting the right nutrients for those amazingly complex and super-important tasks. But over time, the brain not only becomes less and less efficient at performing the tasks that we take for granted, it also becomes less and less capable of keeping itself structurally sound.

What we eat affects our brain in a real, profound way. Are you confused about fats and oils?

The right fats are critical for optimal health, and without them, nothing you do can make up for their absence. When you start consuming the right fats and oils, AND remove the bad ones from your diet, your health can improve so quickly and profoundly, it may seem like magic!


What are some of the most important nutrients that people need to consume for a healthy brain?

The brain, being made up of 60% fat at its dry weight, needs the right kinds of fat to operate optimally. A large percentage of this fat is made up of specialized omega-3 and -6 fats. Organic nuts and seeds, and undamaged oils, as well as lots of green leafy greens, supply both omega-3 and omega-6. Most people get enough omega-6. So if you focus on omega-3 found in ground flax seeds and chia seeds, as well as undamaged essential fatty acid oil blends, you will be supplying great, undamaged fats to your brain.

Finally….. of huge interest to me…..

What role does stress play in causing damage to the brain?

Yes we all live in an fast moving hectic world, we do! And the brain takes a huge “hit” with the stress we experience in ever-increasing amounts. Why? Our brain evolved to respond quickly and efficiently to any threat to our survival. We could run very quickly away from our threat, we could stay and fight for survival or we could stand very, very still, and hope to be bypassed. Today, we very seldom do any of those things. We sit and worry in traffic, wait not so patiently for resolutions to problems that we have no control over, or engage in meaningless but stressful interactions online, with colleagues, neighbours and even family!

Our brain cannot tell the difference however between a real, physical threat and a perceived, psychological one. And so we don’t get rid of the naturally produced compounds like adrenaline that the brain uses to spur us on to physical activity, because it’s all going on in our brain and there’s nothing physical to do about it. Unfortunately, cortisol, which is produced when adrenaline has been circulating for a while, is very damaging to the brain, because it stops brain cells – neurons – from communicating effectively with each other, and disrupts the process of energy production within the cell. Over time, excess cortisol production leads to neuronal death, which is not a positive thing, as well as stopping the growth of new neurons.

So even more reason(s) than ever to focus on what we eat and also practise stress management & relaxation techniques too, in abundance!

I hope you have enjoyed this article and found it as enlightening as I did….. food for thought – pardon the pun. I look forward to your feedback.

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