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.


 
 

 

Luke welcomes Nurse Advice Line

Remember that moment? The moment you thought you had something medically wrong with you but didn’t know exactly what it was? After a few Web searches, you find yourself on WebMD and are questioning whether you have the least worrying of possible diagnoses or the worst — cancer or even death. To help patients save...
 
 
141020-SMSgt-Shelly-Bailey-8x10-DW

Path to inspirational leadership evolving skillset

Senior Master Sgt. Shelly Bailey At some point in our Air Force career we will assume a leadership role. Leadership is an ever-evolving skillset that you will continue to develop throughout the course of your career. The highes...
 
 

Bridges: build, don’t burn

Have you heard the phrase “don’t burn your bridges?” This idiom is used to describe the importance of not ending a relationship on a bad note. In this case, the relationship is your military career. For example, when you build professional relationships you are networking or laying the foundation for the building of a bridge....
 

 
141008-F-HT977-005

Unaccompanied housing to be upgraded

Funds have arrived from Air Education and Training Command for unaccompanied housing to use to take care of Airmen in the dorms, from reconstruction of dorms to fixing a door knob. “With these funds we are able to maintain do...
 
 

News Briefs October 24, 2014

Notice to claimants In accordance with Air Force Instruction 34-511, paragraph 3.1.5, notice is hereby given that Airman 1st Class Wheeler Nichols is deceased. The undersigned has been appointed summary court officer for the purpose of estate settlement in accordance with AFI 34-511. All persons having claims for or against the estate should call Lt....
 
 
Senior Airman Grace Lee

New honorary commanders inducted

Senior Airman Grace Lee Honorary commanders chat with Luke Air Force Base leaders Oct. 17 during social hour in Hangar 431 at Luke Air Force Base prior to their official induction ceremony. The honorary commander program partne...
 




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