A Starters Guide To Nootrition
Published on April 23, 2017 By: Justin Dutra
What you eat also has a tremendous impact on your brain, which makes tweaking your diet a valuable opportunity to hack everything from mental clarity to anxiety and mood. Your brain uses food as fuel; fill it with premium, and it will run beautifully for years. Fill it with junk, and it will break down. Now just like how you use nutrition to fuel the physical body of your biology, nootrition (brain nutrition) are the brain foods that helps enhance function and health long term for the brain. This article will show you how with a couple of the foods or all of them to experience a trans like no other all organically and cost little to infuse and experience the beauty of neurohacking.
Omega-3s for inflammation and brain structure
There are two types of omega-3s that offer powerful brain upgrades. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) competes with omega-6 fats, decreasing inflammation across your whole body, and your brain in particular. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is the main structural component of your brain and central nervous system. In fact, there’s strong evidence that high-DHA diets played a huge role in the evolution of the modern human brain.
DHA is one of the most important factors in sharp memory and brain cell integrity. It’s also essential for mood: a global study on fish consumption, DHA levels, and depression showed that eating more DHA-rich fish correlates strongly with greater happiness. It’s not a proven cause-effect relationship, but it’s compelling.
The third kind of omega-3 is alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the variety of omega-3 in plants. Your body can’t use ALA, so it converts it to DHA and EPA … but the conversion is inefficient. You only convert about 6% of ALA to DHA/EPA. All those superfood companies boasting that their plant-based products are high in omega-3s are using deceptive marketing; with the exception of a couple of species of algae, plants only contain ALA, which doesn’t actually do you much good. Get your omega-3s from animal fats (or algae, if you’re vegetarian/vegan).
Here are top sources of omega-3s (DHA and EPA):
- Wild-caught, low-mercury fish. Alaskan salmon, anchovies, sardines, mackerel, and trout are all good sources. Make sure they’re wild-caught, and if you get them canned, check that the cans are BPA-free.
- Fish/krill oil. Krill oil tends to be a little better, but it’s also more expensive. NOW’s brand makes a good krill oil that’s sustainable and high quality.
- Grass-fed organ meats are also high in omega-3s. Brains are by far the best source. Skip cow brain (the whole mad cow disease thing is troubling), but lamb brain is excellent if you can find it. Heart, liver, and kidney are also high in DHA and EPA. Make sure your organ meats are grass-fed.
Saturated fat to keep your brain cells insulated
Your brain is about 60% fat (thanks to evolution), 25% of which is cholesterol. If you’ve ever tried a low-fat diet and felt tired or unfocused all the time, you now know why: you’re starving your brain of one of its main components. No surprise that low cholesterol links to cognitive decline.
Brain cells send signals to each other along long branches. Many of the branches are covered in myelin sheaths, fatty coatings that insulate your brain cells so electrical signals travel faster across your brain so you act and be smarter.
If your myelin start to break down, electrical communication in your brain slows and you begin to have low actions throughout the day. Myelin are made almost entirely out of cholesterol, which you get from saturated fat. Cholesterol is also the basis for all sex hormones: testosterone, estrogen, cortisol (which you want in healthy amounts), and so on. Give your body plenty of cholesterol to work with, and it will balance your hormones. Another thing is to have coconut or MCT oil to help keep the fatty acids in a more easily digestible state as well to help build a cholesterol base and get the brain its main fuel source more in a bioavailable state.
You don’t want to eat lots of carbs alongside saturated fat. Carbs cause oxidative inflammation that ultimately forms arterial plaques from saturated fat and cholesterol. In other words, it’s the inflammation from excess carbohydrates that weaken your heart, not the saturated fat alone. A high-fat, low-carb, anti-inflammatory diet is ideal for most people and the bulletproof diet book is a good start for getting into a ketogenic diet regimen and soon we will have a program later that exceeds this book too.
Here are some of the best sources of saturated fat and cholesterol:
- Grass-fed butter. Kerrygold and Anchor are two great brands. Notice the sunny yellow color and creamy consistency – you can literally see the extra nutrients. White or waxy butter is a sign that the cow producing it ate a poor diet.
- Pastured eggs. Again, look for a deep yellow or orange yolk. The shell should be difficult to crack, too – both are signs that the chicken producing the egg grew up on pasture eating grubs, wild seeds, and all kinds of other nutrient-dense goodies. Fun fact: chickens are surprisingly good hunters. They’ll chase down and eat field mice. “Vegetarian-fed” eggs are actually a bad sign, not a good one. Instead, look for “pasture-raised” on the label. Vital Farms sells excellent pasture-raised eggs.
- Dark chocolate. The ones with all natural or 75% or more cocoa is most recommended. The darker the better. Chocolate is full of polyphenols, as well.
- Grass-fed beef and lamb. Looking to save a few bucks? Go for the fattiest ground beef available. It tends to be the cheapest because most people still think fat is bad, not good. Take full advantage. 75% lean grass-fed ground beef makes a phenomenal burger. US Wellness Meats is an awesome one to try if you want to start off right with an online buyer.
Polyphenols to keep your brain young
Right now, as you breathe, you’re flooding your system with oxygen, which your mitochondria (the power plants of your cells) latch onto and use to make fuel and thus feed off of ATP to create energy for you. They leave behind free radicals, the part of the oxygen they can’t use.
A few free radicals are good; they destroy damaged cells so you can replace them. But excess free radicals start attacking strong cells, causing inflammation and prematurely aging you. Chronic stress, toxins from smog and low-quality indoor air, mold, sugar, pesticides, and many other trappings of modern life produce free radicals at high enough levels to make you old fast.
The solution? Eat your veggies. All vegetables contain polyphenols that neutralize free radicals and prevent them from doing damage. Low inflammation boosts blood flow to your brain, providing it with the oxygen to make more energy. Increased blood flow gives you stable energy and focus. Polyphenols also help you make more BDNF (Brain-derived neurotrophic factor), a protein dubbed “Miracle-Gro for the brain” that causes you to build new brain cells.
Dark green veggies are a good source of polyphenols and serve as a great source of mitochondrial energy. For an extra anti-inflammatory boost, add in dark red, purple, and blue plants. They tend to have the strongest polyphenols in the largest amounts. Here are some of the most powerful polyphenol sources:
- Coffee is the densest source of polyphenols in the Western diet, with over a thousand different beneficial compounds in every cup. It also has special polyphenols that protect high-fat cells, and your brain is made up of some of the fattiest cells in your body. Coffee is strongly neuroprotective. No surprise that regular coffee drinkers have a significantly lower risk of death from all causes.
- Green tea contains theanine and catechins, both of which prevent cognitive decline. Theanine also improves attention and mood when you pair it with caffeine, so take your green tea caffeinated. You won’t find green tea’s polyphenols in coffee. Drink a cup of each for extra cognitive performance in the morning.
- Blueberries get their deep blue color from anthocyanins, potent polyphenols that increase blood flow and, in animals, dramatically increase lifespan. Blueberry polyphenols also directly increase BDNF, helping you create new brain pathways. Blueberries are fairly low in sugar, but they do still have a few grams, so stick to a couple of handfuls a day or find an extract.
- Pomegranates contain ellagitannins, special polyphenols that get directly into your mitochondria and protect them from damage. In addition to that, your gut bacteria break pomegranate down into something called urolithins that may protect the brain from cognitive decline. Again, stick to a couple of handfuls of pomegranate seeds per day or a concentrate. Avoid popular juices that include pomegranate. Again, too much sugar.
- Red cabbage contains anthocyanidins that are particularly powerful at curbing inflammation. They’re what give red cabbage its color; white or green cabbage doesn’t have the same powerful effect.
Most polyphenols are fat-soluble, so be sure you get them with a good dose of quality fat.
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