Health & Safety

March 7, 2013

Eating healthy food keeps gray matter ‘in pink’

Tags:
Airman 1st Class Grace Lee
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Grace Lee

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. — Eating the right foods not only affects a person’s physical performance, but also the brain’s performance.

Leslie Dana-Kirby, 56th Medical Operations Squadron clinical psychologist, said the human brain is responsible for all thinking, reasoning, memory, judgment and decision-making. It also controls fundamental life functions such as hunger, thirst, sleeping, breathing and temperature regulation.

As well as being the main mechanism critical to the body’s survival, the brain is what makes every person diverse.

“The mind is responsible for human emotions,” Dana-Kirby said. “I would argue that the brain is the most important of all the human organs, because it essentially makes you who you are.”

The food choices one makes can also affect it.

“There’s actually a connection between what you eat and how it can affect the brain,” said Matthew Keene, 56th MDOS psychiatrist. “Certain foods can raise the levels of a neurotransmitter called serotonin. Serotonin is essentially ‘happy juice’ and it derives from an amino acid called tryptophan.”

To make tryptophan the body does need some protein, but processed carbohydrates is what drives the tryptophan into the brain for conversion into serotonin, Keene said. While any carbohydrate can help the process, processed carbohydrates can push a lot more tryptophan into the brain at once resulting in a boost in mood.

“The boost in mood is very temporary and then comes crashing back down,” Keene said. “The crash also causes energy levels to drop as well as mood, sometimes resulting in depression.”

The relationship between the food one eats and how it affects the gray matter answers questions as to why some people eat more processed foods than others.

“Because some food addicts are used to constantly having high levels of serotonin, when they actually do have ‘normal’ levels they feel like they’re low, so they binge eat frequently to get that normal feeling back,” Keene said.

Additionally, foods provide essential nutrients to the brain.

“Foods provide the necessary energy to fuel intellect power,” Dana-Kirby said. “They provide the building blocks for cell production and support and supply some protection against the natural decline in reasoning and memory that occurs with age.”

Foods closest to their most natural form are the best to consume, Dana-Kirby said.

“Eat foods that provide antioxidants such as beans, berries and apples,” Dana-Kirby said. “For amino acids, eat foods like fish, nuts and eggs and regulate your blood sugar levels by eating healthy carbohydrates such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains.”

In addition to healthy foods, basic essentials keep the mentality healthy.

“Treat your brain like you would a good house plant,” Keene said. “Get a good night’s sleep; give it good food, water and sunlight.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Betty R. Chevalier)

PASM and AMARG set new record

The Pima Air and Space Museum and the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group set a new record for tours administered in the month of July. The non-profit museum and D-M’s “Boneyard” brought in 2,060 visitors, ...
 
 

Help make it possible

D-M is preparing to kickoff its annual Combined Federal Campaign Sept. 1. The CFC’s mission is to give federal employees the opportunity to promote philanthropy by supporting their favorite charities. There are more than 3000 national and international charities for federal employees to choose from. “Now, D-M members can give to any charity in the...
 
 

MAC celebrates 85th anniversary

The Tucson Metro Chamber Military Affairs Committee celebrated its 85th anniversary earlier this month. The MAC became a standing committee of the Tucson Metro Chamber in 1929. At that time, the Chamber’s Aviation Committee was responsible for the Pilot’s Register at Davis-Monthan Aviation Field, the first municipal aviation field in the United States. “I think...
 

 
(U.S. Air Force photo)

Air Force earns majority of federal energy awards

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (AFNS) — It’s a banner year for the Air Force with the Department of Energy recently announcing that service won a lion’s share of 2014 Federal Energy Management Program awards. The Air Fo...
 
 

Nominees sought for Joan Orr spouse, Verne Orr ward

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas (AFNS) — Air Force Personnel Center officials are now accepting nominations for the 2015 Air Force Association Joan Orr Air Force Spouse of the Year Award and the 2015 AFA Verne Orr Award. The Joan Orr award honors significant contributions made by non-military spouses of Air Force military members. The...
 
 

Airmen encouraged to vote, obey AFI on political activities

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. — As the political season approaches, we should all be encouraged to do our civic duty and go out and vote. However, as an Air Force member, there are a few things to keep in mind. Here is a short noninclusive list to help you determine what is or is...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin