Notes on Brain Foods and Brain Function

10 Nov
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Notes on Brain Foods and Brain Function

As a Chiropractor many people feel that my focus is the back.  I do contact the back when helping people but my main focus is what is in the back – the spinal cord.  By helping to reduce interference on the spinal cord that is created by the spine (called vertebral subluxation), I help people live towards a longer more comfortable and active life.  So as a Chiropractor, my focus is actually towards the most important part of your body – The Brain and Nervous System!  Here are some of my notes regarding brain foods – Enjoy!

A talk that I love to do for the public is titled: Grow your Brain!  It highlights the concepts of neuroplasticity, what will shrink your brain, and what will grow your brain.  Here are some of the main parts to the talk:

  1. the Brain is important
  2. the Brain coordinates and controls your body
  3. The Brain can grow and shrink
    brain development and attachment
    brain and postural instability
    brain food advice from the Naturopaths
    brain and stress
    -brain headaches and posture
  4. Physical, Emotional, and Chemical events in our lives impact our brains both positively and negatively
    -chronic pain and the brain
  5. Support your brain throughout your life to ensure you live towards a longer, more comfortable, and active life
  6. A Chiropractor can help you implement strategies towards a healthy brain and nervous system

What are some physical, chemical, and emotional stresses that can impact my brain?

Your entire life experience impacts your brain.  So everything that you do or that happens to you can impact your brain in a positive or negative way.  This can include foods that you eat, chemicals in your environment or body, physical injuries, exercise, learning, thoughts, feelings, sleep, and postures.

To learn more ask your Chiropractor or keep reading through my blogs! This is one of my favourite topics to discuss with patients and to speak on!

In this blog I focus on how foods can impact the brain (referred to as a chemical impact on the body or chemical stress).

Here is a recent 2010 article that I use to help grow the information in my Grow Your Brain talks:

Brain foods: the effects of nutrients on brain function

This NIH Public Access article is a great resource that I used for the nutritional component of my talk.  As brain science is currently growing immensely, more up to date information will become available, so keep learning and growing your brain!

Here are my favourite parts from this article with my notes:

“a diet that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids is garnering appreciation for supporting cognitive processes in humans1 and upregulating genes that are important for maintaining synaptic function and plasticity in rodents2. In turn, diets that are high in saturated fat are becoming notorious for reducing molecular substrates that support cognitive processing and increasing the risk of neurological dysfunction in both humans3 and animals4

-Make sure Omega-3 fatty acids are a component of your regular diet!

“Effects of vagal nerve stimulation on cognition”

-The vagal nerve connects the brain to the gut and the gut to the brain. Interference or decreased signalling can impact brain function.  A chiropractor can impact this nerve connection through specific chiropractic adjustments, easier than the direct invasive stimulation mentioned in this article!

“It is not surprising that visceral signals are now recognized as essential factors for the treatment of psychiatric disorders”

-Good gut = Good Brain!

“The brain consumes an immense amount of energy relative to the rest of the body.”

-Feed your brain good foods!

“Dietary lipids, which were originally thought to affect the brain through their effects on cardiovascular physiology, are garnering recognition for their direct actions on the brain. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are normal constituents of cell membranes and are essential for normal brain function”

-Omega-3 fatty acids are good!

“In contrast to the healthy effects of diets that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, epidemiological studies indicate that diets with high contents oftrans and saturated fats adversely affect cognition3. Rodent studies that evaluated the effects of “junk food”, characterized by high contents of saturated fat and sucrose, have shown a decline in cognitive performance and reduced hippocampal levels of BDNF-related synaptic plasticity after only 3 weeks of dietary treatment.”

Food sources for Omega-3 fats that are listed in this study include: Fish (salmon), flax seeds, krill, chia, kiwi fruit, butternuts, and walnuts.  Many food companies are now supplementing Omega-3 fatty acids into their products due to the health benefits identified.

-Junk Food is Bad!

“excess calories can reduce synaptic plasticity32,102 and increase the vulnerability of cells to damage103 by causing free-radical formation that surpasses the buffering capacity of the cell.”

-Excess calories is bad, while restricting calories may be good

Antioxidant foods

-Antioxidants like berries, polyphenols, vitamen E, curcumin can be good for your brain!

“These studies represent a starting point for understanding how intracellular signalling that is triggered by lifestyle factors can promote lasting changes in DNA function in the brain and in cognitive capacity.”

-Lifestyle factors matter to your brain health

“Diet, exercise and other aspects of our daily interaction with the environment have the potential to alter our brain health and mental function.”

select foods that impact cognitive function

Check out the article for yourself (click on the picture to make it bigger) and add some Chiropractic strategies to your life to grow your brain!  The picture also lists the food sources that the nutrient is contained in which can be very helpful for those interested.

Here to help you live towards a longer, more comfortable and active life with a bigger brain!

Dr. Callum Peever

-Chiropractor in Mississauga at Erin Mills Optimum Health


How Does Excess Sugar Impact Your brain and nerve system?

If you take brown sugar in a frying pan and fry it, it caramelizes.  This is the opposite of brain foods! The same thing happens with sugar in your blood stream, it “caramelizes” right on the nerves. It kills the nerves. With blood sugar, it is important to maintain the proper balance. Now this doesn’t mean don’t eat cake. Cake is alright once in a while. You have to celebrate life and have fun. Enjoyment is good for the brain, but NOT every day.

Check out this video of Dr. Peever discussing the analogy for when you have excess sugar in your blood stream:

This talk was part of a Grow your brain talk in Mississauga. Check out other parts from the talk on here.

Be careful with your sugar levels and ensure that your body works well with the help of Erin Mills Optimum Health in Mississauga!


Fish Oil Supplements and Brain Health

The following excerpts are from a 2015 research article in Alzheimer’s & dementia : the journal of the Alzheimer’s Association which highlights the importance of brain foods such as fish oils in brain diseases:

Association of Fish Oil Supplement Use with Preservation of Brain Volume and Cognitive Function

“Fish oil is a rich source of the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).”

“Use of fish oil supplements at any given time during the study was associated with increased hippocampal volume and increased cerebral cortex gray matter volume.”

“This study is the first to report an association between fish oil supplements use and brain structural changes in all three cognitive diagnostic groups; these findings may suggest a potential role for fish oil supplements by reducing neurodegeneration over time.“

This type of information is important to implement as early as possible into your lifestyle to encourage your brain health.
– Dr. Callum Peever

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