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The Nexus Between Diet and Behaviour

Researchers have found a connection between your diet and your behavior. Certain foods affect the level of neurotransmitters in your brain and in turn affect your mood, behavior and mental performance. Science has established that what you eat is true based on how different foods affect brain function and consequently behavior and health status.

In my medical practice, I have experienced a decline in mental performance after a certain meal in the morning; this phenomenon has been described as brain fog. Brain fog arises from the flow of blood from the brain to the intestine. A General Medical Practitioner in Nigeria on a busy day can see various confusing medical conditions for diagnosis, investigation and treatment; Brain fog can be a busy distraction for a busy doctor. I've learned to avoid foods that cause brain fog in the morning.

Researchers have classified certain foods as "brain foods" because they improve cognitive function when consumed. Cognitive functioning is by definition a process of thinking and knowing that is mediated by the brain. How your brain functions determines how successful you are and will create your chances of success in life. Anything you eat that promotes cognitive vitality does this by affecting different levels of neurotransmitters [also known as chemical messengers] in the brain. Brain food improves cognitive vitality by enhancing brain reserve capacity and protecting the brain from oxidative damage caused by free radicals.

Three of the most important in this neurotransmitter are dopamine, serotonin and acetylcholine. Neurotransmitters mediate communication between brain neuron cells; Their deficiencies are linked to different health conditions of the brain and mind. They work either by stimulating [excitatory function] or inhibiting transmission to the nerves and this reflects the person's mood and actions.

Dopamine stimulates brain function resulting in movement, emotional stimulation, good attention span and learning; it also inhibits some aspects of brain function. Excessive dopamine in the brain has been linked to Schizophrenia while its deficiency is a contributing factor in Parkinson's disease. Parkinson's disease is characterized by tremors, poverty or restricted movement and unstable walking style. All protein foods like eggs, fish and meat are rich in dopamine.

Acetylcholine has been described as a dominant player in memory formation in the amygdala, which is part of the brain. It is involved in the regulation of voluntary muscle movement and movement. Acetylcholine deficiency is a leading cause of Alzheimer's disease; depressive and social conditions that cause progressive memory loss. Foods that help the body synthesize sufficient amounts of acetylcholine are peanuts, gems, egg yolks, fish, liver, meat, and vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower.

Serotonin is another neurotransmitter found abundantly in starchy foods, vegetables and cereals. When it maintains the function of relaxation in the brain, it regulates stimulation, sleep, mood and appetite. When serotonin stimulates the brain, it produces feelings of happiness. Serotonin deficiency is one of the leading causes of depression.

Diets loaded with macros and micronutrients such as minerals and Vitamins A, B, C, D and E help the body function properly. Vitamin D helps the body, while Vitamins A and E are powerful antioxidants that work to protect cells from oxidative damage caused by free radicals. Vitamin B is a key component of the body's enzymatic system and plays an important role in the cellular processes that nourish the body.

Adults need between 1.5 and 2 liters of water to stay hydrated within 24 hours. Water works to carry nutrients around the body, is the medium of electrolyte exchange in the body and it carries waste to the kidneys for excretion. You must take enough water daily to stay hydrated. In hot weather, you lose more water and the thirst mechanism makes you drink more water to correct deficits. In cold weather, you lose less and consequently drink less water.

Omega-3 oils are good fats found in deep sea fish, sardines and deep sea tuna; when deficiency in the body, it can lead to poor mental performance. Getting enough oil helps the brain, heart and joints.

In conclusion, your dietary choices should be determined by your work, time of day, and health status. Take healthy food in the morning to stimulate your brain to function optimally and keep you in working mode. Maintain a carbohydrate diet for the evening when it will keep you calm, relaxed and ready for bed. As you age, take some liberal supplements to make inadequate intake of these ingredients.


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