Food for Thought - Feeding your Brain
Coffee drinkers know how to perk themselves up and keep themselves awake; even if they do not want to be kept awake, have a coffee! Consumers of caffeine do so expecting to get an immediate outcome, i.e. becoming more alert/ awake.
The brain uses approximately 20% of all the calories we consume! Surely if one foodstuff can deliver such a cognitive outcome there must be others as well?
So what then, are the best foods to eat if you want to maximise your brain potential? If you want to improve your overall wellbeing, quality of life and overall longevity, you cannot beat a diet that includes a wide variety of fresh fruit and vegetables. All that natural and varied dietary fibre acts as a prebiotic (food) for your gut flora, enabling them to not only produce the fuel needed to run your body, including your brain, but also to produce a full range of the disease fighting compounds that, over the millennia, our gut floral has evolved to produce.
Science (and experience) has taught us that specific foods can have a profound impact on specific areas of our health and performance. The positive impact on brain health and function delivered by the Omega 3 oils found in oily fish, is well known. Nuts and Seeds also contain Omega 3 and additionally have high levels of Tryptophan, which is a precursor to Serotonin, an important neurotransmitter affecting everything from your mood to your bowel movements1.
Not so well known is a compound called cGP, which is a metabolite of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) – a neurotrophic factor key to overall health and wellness and critical for cognitive function and slowing the ageing process!
So IGF-1 is very important, but sadly the level of it decreases with age. Recent research, however, has made the remarkable discovery that the consumption of New Zealand Blackcurrants, with their associated Anthocyanin antioxidants, can increase an individual’s levels of cGP and IGF-1! Finding a naturally occurring food that had this outcome was a surprise to all involved2.
The research results made a lot of sense to me! I have been regularly taking Blackcurrant Skin Extract capsules, which contain 100mg of blackcurrant anthocyanin and 200mg of Vitamin C per capsule for about six years. I originally took these for their positive impact on my eyesight, but soon found that they also made me feel noticeably sharper/younger. I never really understood why or how that worked until I learned of this new research.
In summary, what you eat can impact your mood and cognitive performance. Lots of different fruit and vegetables, nuts and seeds and oily fish will go a long way to delivering optimum brain function. If you want to go the extra mile, try introducing some New Zealand Blackcurrant products into your routine, like Kiwi Superfoods Blackcurrant Skin Extract capsules.
By Glenn Hughes
References:Supplementation of Blackcurrant Anthocyanins Increased Cyclic Glycine-Proline in the Cerebrospinal Fluid of Parkinson Patients: Potential Treatment to Improve Insulin-Like Growth Factor-1 Function - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29865234/