Can We Rely on a Simple Mind Enhancing Foods?

- in My Brain
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Mind Enhancing Foods

The brain is a physical organ just like the heart or lungs or liver. Its functioning can be affected by our environment, mostly the substances we put in our bodies. It is essential to keep challenging yourself throughout life so that the mind and body remain in peak condition. Pure mind enhancing foods can help a lot in this process.

Old Age

It seems rather ironic that, with new strides in medical and nutritional science enabling us to live longer and more productive lives, most people would rather not live to a ripe old age. This fear of old age is based on a fundamental misconception: that the mind and body of the elderly are always in a poor health. Too often, however, the effects of age are no more than the accumulated results of a lifetime of poor health habits. Though some decline in abilities is inevitable, the picture is not as horrible as it was once thought.

Though smart-drug supporters and the media will often advertise a particular substance as a new “wonder drug,” the truth is that there is probably no such thing. The human mind — not to mention the human body and the process of aging — is too complex for any single pill to be considered a cure-all. The Fountain of Youth is not so much a single herb, or vitamin, or pill, but a way of life, a holistic view that takes into account all aspects of nutrition and health.

Honey

Why?

Honey contains antioxidants. The darker the honey, the more the antioxidants. For instance, honey made from Illinois buckwheat flowers has 20 times the antioxidants as honey made from California sage. Tupelo honey has the most fructose of any of the honey and doesn’t cause the insulin rush that others do.

Keep in mind

For the most health benefits, the honey should be unfiltered, unheated, and unprocessed. Despite the claims of some health promoters, the vitamin and mineral content of honey is minimal, and any derived benefits negligible. Honey also has the highest sugar content of all the natural sweeteners. It has more sugar content than refined sugar; in fact, it can rot teeth faster than table sugar, possibly because of its stickiness and the fact that its vitamin and mineral content, however small, may provide a favorable environment for bacteria.

Compounding the problem is the fact that manufacturers may feed bees with sugar water or add sugar syrup to the honey to increase the sweetness. Further, the honey is heated to high temperatures, destroying much of the protein and nutritional content. Honey could also contain carcinogens that bees have unintentionally picked up from flowers sprayed with pesticides, or traces of penicillin and sulfite, which could pose a threat to susceptible individuals. Honey should never be fed to infants under one year of age, as it contains spores of Clostridium botulinum – the organism that causes botulism. While adults and older children have stomach acid that can kill the bacterium, infants do not, leaving them susceptible to sickness or even death.

Royal Jelly

Royal jelly is made from bee pollen, saliva secretions of worker bees, and honey, and has a thick, milky texture.

Why?

Royal Jelly protects against bacteria, viruses, and fungus. It contains many vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids, enzymes, and testosterone. Bee pollen is one of the richest natural sources of B5, as well as the sole natural source of pure acetylcholine.

Keep in mind

Royal Jelly is more stable when mixed with honey, and it loses some of its nutritional value when exposed to air, room temperature, or sunlight. You should never use it in hot drinks and consume hot beverages or food immediately after taking it. Some avoid the freeze-dried form, as the chemical structure is probably altered in the process. Pure royal jelly, the most potent form, is highly volatile and should always be kept refrigerated. The variety of pollens contained in the mixture may trigger an allergic reaction. So, people sensitive to pollen should avoid it. The few studies that have been conducted bear out this statement.

How much?

Approximately half a teaspoon of a fresh royal jelly daily. The recommendation is to put under the tongue and wait a few minutes (5 – 10) until the jelly melt. In this way, royal jelly is directly absorbed into the blood giving the best effect. In capsule form, some recommend 150 mg/day, others 600 mg/ day. Manufacturers say several weeks may pass before the beneficial effects of improved mental functioning and concentration are evident. It is available in sealed capsules, frozen, freeze-dried, or mixed with honey.

Spirulina algae

Microalgae and Seaweed

Known as: Aphanizomenon Flos-aquae, Chlorella, Cyanobacteria, Nori, SBGA, Seaweed, Spirulina, and Super Blue Green Algae. Microalgae are single-celled plants that grow in fresh water or bacteria. The most common types used for food are chlorella and spirulina, though seaweed could probably be placed in this category also.

Why?

Super Blue Green Algae (SBGA) is said to increase energy and give feelings of euphoria. All forms of micro algae and seaweed are excellent sources of amino acids, chlorophyll, protein, unsaturated fats, vitamins A, B-12, C, and E, and antioxidants.

Keep in mind

Microalgae and seaweed are good sources of amino acids and some vitamins but, beyond that, claims of their nutritional or therapeutic value are overstated.

Super Blue Green Algae can cause abdominal distress, diarrhea, dizziness, gastrointestinal problems, headaches, heart palpitations, nausea, skin rashes, vomiting, and women may even experience uterine bleeding. Adverse side effects may result from an allergy or intolerance, either to contaminants in harvesting or possible natural toxins in the SBGA itself. Aphanizomenon Flos-aquae, used in the making of SBGA, is capable of producing two toxins, one of which affects the liver and the other the nervous system. It could also contain any number of naturally occurring toxins that are as yet undiscovered.

Spirulina is high in phenylalanine, and so must be avoided by anyone with phenylketonuria (PKU) or skin cancer. There is no way of controlling the purity or potency of Spirulina. Several types of research have found that every sample tested had significant levels of the toxic metals mercury and led.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are the principal source of the body’s energy. Science divides them into two types —simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates include the various sugars found in fruit (fructose), milk (lactose), and table sugar (sucrose). Complex carbohydrates are found in vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.

Complex carbohydrates are preferable, as it takes longer for the body to break them down, slowly releasing the sugar into the bloodstream. Simple carbohydrates, especially table sugar, can flood the body and trigger an over secretion of insulin. This results in an initial surge of energy from the sugar followed by lethargy caused by the sudden rush of insulin. Foods should be unrefined, fresh, and natural. Avoid at any cost refined foods, canned goods, and snack foods.

Where to find

Fruits, whole grains, vegetables.

Why?

Carbohydrates help relax the brain and are necessary for healthy mental functioning. They act as an antidepressant for people with less sugar induced serotonin in the brain than normal. This affects people who suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), possibly by amplifying serotonergic neurotransmission. If consumption is timed right, they can increase the brain’s energy levels, as they are readily broken down into glucose, a simple sugar found in nature that is necessary for the brain’s functioning.

Keep in mind

Fructose does not have this calming effect. Simple sugars (table sugar and brown sugar for instance) have no nutritional value except for calories and can promote cavities. They can also cause rapid changes in blood sugar and insulin levels.  Frequently, this leads to obesity, hypoglycemia, and diabetes, among other disorders. Some people are “carbohydrate cravers,” and need them to prevent drowsiness, restlessness, or boredom; instead of becoming sleepy, these people become more focused and alert, and better sustain concentration.

Ideally, 65 percent of a person’s caloric intake should be carbohydrates: 55 percent from complex carbohydrates and starches and 10 percent from natural sugars such as those found in fruit. To prevent ketosis, an acidic condition of the blood, we need a minimum of 50 g/day. For best effect, take carbohydrates with as little protein and fat as possible, as these slow down or hinder serotonin on its way to the brain.

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