Thursday, September 24, 2009

By Shael Berni

In a society where most of the food available can be more harmful to you than helpful, eating right can be quite disheartening. But not all foods available today are unhealthy, if you know where to look. Some foods can actually be beneficial to the body, especially the brain. But what foods are beneficial to the brain and where can you find them? What if you have a strict budget and don't have hundreds of dollars every month to spend on exotic brain foods. Well, brain food is more readily available than you think, if you just know what to look for. You probably have tons of brain food in your house right now and don't even know it.

It is a very well known fact that many of the foods we eat today might lead to many illnesses we could be getting later in life. Such illnesses may be heart problems, diabetes, cancer, even Alzheimer's disease. There have even been reports that the top 5 cancer causing foods are donuts, chips, bacon, hot dogs, and cookies. This can be a frightening fact, especially if you have children. But instead of feeding your children food that may be rotting their bodies, as well as their brains, there is plenty of readily available food that kids like and is good for them. So, let's dive right in.

Some foods that are great for the brain are obvious choices, while some have benefits that are not so well known. We have all heard of the benefits of eating fish, but it is also very beneficial to the brain. Fish is rich in omega 3 fatty acids that help circulation of blood vessels, bring more oxygen to the brain, and lower cholesterol. Vegetables also have a long standing reputation as being healthy for the body, but they are wonderful for the brain as well. Vegetables have low levels of GI (glycemic index) which means they help slow down the sugar distribution in your blood stream, preventing a sugar crash, while providing more oxygen to the brain.

Some other foods that contain low GI levels are grains, cereals, rice, and spaghetti. Other foods that are great for brain activity are turkey, eggs, oatmeal, oranges even peanut butter. Peanut butter's high range of protein is excellent for brain health and brain development. That is why in cooking classes for kids the first thing they always teach kids is how to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches because not only do kids love them, but they're great for their brain health as well.

Milk and dairy products oftentimes have lower GI levels than fruit and are needed for proper oxidation to the brain. Also, any food with high levels of protein is great for the brain. High protein foods release high levels of amino acids which help to improve brain power. Two of these amino acids found in high protein foods are tryptophan and tyrosine which are considered essential building blocks of neurotransmitters in the brain. These neurotransmitters serve as carriers sending signals from one part of the brain to another and are essential in high brain activity.

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