Brain health and mental health and diet


Continuing with the brain health that I started on last week, this week is going into more about the effects of a specific nutrient that has been shown to help with most brain related issues.


It has been studied in depth how the chemical neurotransmitters in our brain are greatly affected by food and specific nutrients.  


Choline, is a specific nutrient, as an example, but I want to explain it as there are many benefits when choline is used for brain health.


Choline is a vitamin-like essential nutrient that is naturally present in certain foods and also available as a dietary supplement. 


Foods that are rich and very good sources of choline include: meat, fish, poultry, dairy, eggs, shrimp, collard greens, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, Swiss chard, cauliflower, asparagus, and spinach.


When dealing with a brain injury or mental functions are affected, sometimes food quantities of nutrients are not enough, and supplementing with a higher dose can be extremely helpful.


Choline is a source of methyl groups needed for many steps in metabolism. Metabolism refers to our bodies' chemical reactions that change food into energy and break down nutrients to support healthy functions.  One example is health fats, especially omega 3 for brain health, need to be broken down in order to be used for building optimal cell membrane structure and carrying nutrients around your body.  Fish oils specifically are also very helpful in reducing inflammation which is often involved in brain challenges.


All plant and animal cells require choline to maintain their structural integrity. 


Choline is used by the body to produce acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter essential for brain and nervous system functions including memory, muscle control and mood.


It has long been recognized that choline is particularly important in early brain development. Pregnant women are advised to maintain choline levels of 550 mg per day for the health of their developing fetus.


Choline acts to protect the brain from Alzheimer’s disease in a number of ways.  Choline reduces levels of homocysteine‚ an amino acid that can act as a potent neurotoxin, contributing to the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease: neurodegeneration and the formation of amyloid plaques. 


Choline is just 1 of the nutrients shown to have brain benefits, there are many others, and if we know that whole foods are our best resources for nutrients that improve all cell functions in our bodies, we can look to have better health in mind and body.


Also a note on water…  The impact of drinking a proper amount of water, at least 2 litres, is also worth taking a look at to improve brain function.  Water does many things, a few main tasks is how it helps to move toxins, as well as carry signals to cells.  Those cells signals are how cells communicate with one another.  If we are low in fluids in our bodies those 2 functions are limited and can greatly impact memory and how we feel.  


When dealing with brain health and mental health, using whole nutrient rich foods, and 2 plus litres of water, can be extremely helpful to improve the situation. 


Contact your health professional if you feel you or someone you love is struggling with brain related health challenges.


Have a great week,


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