Monday, June 22, 2015

A Nutritional Must For Supporting Brain Health

Danielle Zies
Nutritionist and Stress Coach

When it comes to brain health, the types of energy you use to fuel your body is going to play a role in how your brain responds to that fuel. Think of the food you eat as energy, this is after all, what it is.

We have the choice to eat in a fashion that provides our brain (and bodies) with surges of energy and feel good neurotransmitters like serotonin. For example, when we eat high carbohydrate foods or when we overeat in general it is often followed by a lull in energy where fuel (blood glucose) drops to a lower than ideal level, causing feelings of anxiousness, irritability, fatigue and of course cravings for more sugary foods that will help make us feel good again.  This type of up and down behaviour creates stress in the body, contributes to hormonal imbalances and can cause a vast list of health issues including diabetes, inflammation and weight gain.  

Ideally, we would eat in a way that allows our body to maintain a balanced blood sugar level and sustain our energy throughout the day without the highs, lows and carby cravings that go along with it.  In doing so we remove the need to use foods to make us feel normal again, we eliminate the need for that 10:00 muffin or 3:00 coffee (the typical low points after the high’s from breakfast and lunch). 

If you suffer anxiety, depression or other emotional stressors, balancing your blood sugar is one of the most important nutritional steps you can take to help support brain health.

3 Tips to Help Regulate Your Blood Sugar:  
  1. Have breakfast!  Fuel yourself within 45 minutes of waking up with a balanced breakfast consisting of protein, some healthy fat and a bit of carbohydrates. A protein rich start to the day will help support a healthy blood sugar balance throughout the entire day!
  2. Embrace healthy fats! When you eat a source of fat with carbohydrates the fat will actually help slow the release of sugar to you blood stream and support a more steady release of energy. Don’t worry for one second that eating more fat will make you fat, because when you balance your blood sugar, you support hormonal balance and your weight will begin to regulate itself naturally. Some great sources of healthy fats include salmon or other fatty fish, walnuts, almonds, chia seeds, hemp hearts, flax seeds, or their respective oils. Coconut oil, grass fed butter or ghee are other delicious options too.
  3. Control your portions. When you overeat, you overwhelm your body. Not only digestively, but your body must process all of that energy you just consumed. Naturally, this is going to lead to a spike in blood sugar and the not so good feelings that follow when it dips too low afterwards.  
I challenge you to keep these tips in mind, and try incorporating them every time you eat for 2 weeks! Share your results with us below!

Happy vibes,

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