KEY BRAIN-BOOST­ING NU­TRI­ENTS

First News - - SPECIAL REPORT -

PRO­TEIN

Pro­tein is made up of building blocks – like LEGO pieces – that help to power the chem­i­cal mes­sen­gers in our brains. These are called neu­ro­trans­mit­ters and they play a role in how we think and how happy we feel, as well as how we sleep. Hav­ing some pro­tein with each meal and snack can help keep us feel­ing happy and full of beans. Good sources of pro­tein are meat, fish, tofu, eggs, lentils, beans, nuts and seeds. What are your favourites?

B VI­TA­MINS

There is a fam­ily of eight B vi­ta­mins, all play­ing a role in en­ergy and sup­port­ing our brains. Each has a slightly dif­fer­ent job. B vi­ta­mins act as en­ergy su­per­heroes in our bod­ies. We can get B vi­ta­mins from red meat, chicken, fish, lentils, beans, brown rice, milk, cheese, almonds, sun­flower seeds, av­o­ca­dos, broc­coli, spinach and bananas.

GOOD FATS

A whop­ping 80% of our brains are made of fat, so we need good fats to help our brains work well. These are called essen­tial fatty acids (EFAs, which are essen­tial as they can­not be made by our body) and we can get these from oily fish like salmon, mack­erel or sar­dines, eggs, nuts and seeds. Try to eat at least two por­tions of these foods a week to keep your brain healthy.

MIN­ERAL SPARK PLUGS

Min­er­als help to keep the many, many dif­fer­ent pro­cesses in the body work­ing prop­erly, from help­ing our mus­cles to re­lax to spark­ing our brains into gear. They work along­side the B vi­ta­mins as a team. There is some ev­i­dence that sug­gests mag­ne­sium can help us to worry less and re­lax more.

TUMMY-BRAIN CON­NEC­TION

There is also an in­for­ma­tion high­way be­tween our tum­mies and our brain, and back the other way from our brains to our tum­mies. This is con­trolled by the va­gus nerve. When we are ner­vous or ex­cited we can feel but­ter­flies in our tummy, which is a sign that our brains and tum­mies are com­mu­ni­cat­ing. How and what we eat can help us to feel less ner­vous and cope with chal­lenges more eas­ily. Happy tum­mies = happy brains.

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