The brain is only about two percent of the total body weight in humans,, but it receives 15-20 percent of the body’s blood supply. Brain cells will die if the supply of blood which carries oxygen is stopped. Even if other organs need blood, the body attempts to supply the brain with a constant flow of blood first. The blood brings many materials necessary for the brain to function properly like oxygen, carbohydrates, amino acids, fats, vitamins and hormones. It also removes materials from the brain such as carbon dioxide, hormones, lactate and ammonia.
Fatty acids from fats are what your brain uses to create specialized cells that allow the brain to function. About two thirds of the brain is composed of fats. To build brain cells, you need fatty acids. Two essential fatty acids that your body needs are alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and linoleic acid (LA). Your body cannot manufacture these fatty acids so you need to get them through the food you eat Food sources containing ALA include flax seeds, walnuts and green leafy vegetables. The membranes of neurons, the specialized brain cells that communicate with each other, are composed of a thin double-layer of fatty acid molecules. When you digest the fat in your food, it is broken down into fatty acid molecules of various lengths. Your brain uses these fatty acids to assemble the special types of fat it incorporates into its cell membranes. Myelin is the protective sheath that covers communicating neurons. It is composed of 30% protein and 70% fat. One of the most common fatty acids in myelin is oleic acid, which is the most abundant fatty acid in human milk and in our diet. Monosaturated oleic acid is the main component of olive oil as well as oils from almonds, pecans, macadamias, peanuts, and avocados.
These help your brain work. Food sources from LA include sunflower, safflower, corn and sesame oils. These oils, as well as walnuts help brain cells absorb oxygen and keep them healthy and happy which therefore makes your brain work better.
The number one ingredient for a healthy brain is water. Since the brain is 75 % water, low water content will affect cognitive function and neurotransmitter function. It is suggested to drink eight glasses of water a day. Electrolytes are also needed to the balance the body’s fluids as well as maintain heart rhythm, muscles contraction and brain function. These vital electrolytes also come from our diet.
There is a strong correlation between cognitive advantages of school age children and nutrition.
Although good nutrition is important for everyone, this is especially true for children younger than five years because these years are demanding for the developing child. They are the years in which children acquire many of the physical attributes and the social and psychological structures needed in life and for learning. Since young children grow and learn at an astounding rate, they should be physically very active, because physical activity develops muscle tone and neural connections in the brain. In order to have the energy required to grow, move and learn, children need nourishing food and plenty of water. This requires a varied diet that provides a balance of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals. A good diet will not only improve concentration and energy levels but it will therefore increase a child’s learning potential. A healthy diet in childhood will also help to prevent anemia, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and obesity in later life.