Health & Safety

March 1, 2013

Eating healthy food keeps gray matter ‘in pink’

Pg-10-Brain-photo-by-Grace-Lee
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.


 
 

 
Courtesy photo

Airmen reach terminal velocity

Courtesy photo Second Lt. Tanya Wren, 56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs Community Relations chief, takes in the expansive view after the chute was pulled at 3,000 feet. Luke Air Force Base Airmen were chosen to tandem jump with ...
 
 

Planning for your future equals success

“If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it.” ~ William Arthur Ward Success does not happen accidentally, it takes detailed planning and a vision of the future. I remember the day before I left for basic military training, I tried to imagine what my future...
 
 

Tuition assistance — a great benefit

In my opinion, tuition assistance is one of the best benefits that we as active-duty military members have available. During my 17 years in the Air Force, I have seen this benefit increase from 75 percent of tuition being paid to 100 percent. Additionally, most of us experienced this benefit being eliminated for a short...
 

 
Senior Airman Marcy Copeland

Military children celebrated for courage, resilience

Senior Airman Marcy Copeland Col. Jeremy Sloane, 56th Fighter Wing vice commander, signs the Month of the Military Child proclamation April 1 at the Luke Air Force Base Child Development Center. The Month of the Military Child ...
 
 

News Briefs April 17, 2015

LOSC The Luke Officers Spouses Club invites spouses of officers to play bingo and have lunch at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Club Five Six. For more information or to RSVP, go to LukeOSCReservations@gmail.com. Days of Remembrance There will be a Holocaust remembrance ceremony at 10 a.m. April 30 in the Luke Air Force Base Chapel...
 
 

Salutes and Awards

Air Force Reserve Command announces major selects The following 944th Fighter Wing captains have been selected for promotion to major: 944th Fighter Wing Christopher Bisdnack 307th Fighter Squadron Jason Gentry 944th Force Support Squadron Derrick Young 944th Medical Squadron Jeffrey Cohen and Craig Lussier 46 graduate ALS class 15-3 The 56th Fighter Wing Airman Leadership...
 




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