The brain is the most powerful and important organ in the human body, orchestrating and determining everything we do. So when we want to be able to focus on work and home lives and be at our sharpest for exams, interviews and other intellectually challenging events, it’s important to fuel our brains too.
How does the brain work?
Your brain contains billions of nerve cells arranged in patterns that coordinate thought, emotion, behaviour, movement and sensation. While all the parts of your brain work together, each part is responsible for a specific function — controlling everything from your heart rate to your mood.
Why is diet important for the brain?
The brain is an energy-intensive organ, using around 20% of the body’s calories¹ , so it needs plenty of good nutrition to fuel concentration throughout the day. The foods we eat can have a big impact on the structure and health of our brains – supporting both short- and long-term brain function. In addition, the brain also requires certain nutrients to stay healthy – such as Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA), an omega-3 fat which supports normal brain function.
What else can we do for a healthy brain?
Be active. Active in regard to learning new things and challenging yourself. This might involve reading, writing and solving puzzles, or even physical exercise, attending lectures and continuing your education.
What happens when fuelling your brain?
Keeping your brain active appears to protect the connections among brain cells, and may even help you grow new cells. In addition, humans are wired to be social so an active social life is vital. The theory is that social connections help keep the connections between your brain cells (neurons) strong and, thanks to the Internet, this is possible even if you can’t get out.
How can supplements help?
B vitamins include thiamin, riboflavin and pantothenic acid which play a crucial role in turning food into energy. They also help promote the development of red blood cells that carry oxygen to the brain. Meanwhile, Vitamin E has antioxidant effects and iron is needed for the brain and can contribute to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue. Herbal supplements such as ginkgo biloba, and omega-3 fatty acids may also play a key role.³
Experts estimate that our minds have between 50,000–70,000 thoughts each day.²