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Does our diet affect brain function?

Food is essential for the brain since it needs 20% of the energy we ingest. A balanced diet helps improve brain function and avoid nutrient deficiencies that can cause memory and concentration problems. Tryptophan-rich foods are especially important for the production of neurotransmitters that influence mood, sleep, and appetite.

Does our diet affect brain function? Does our diet affect brain function?

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The brain is an intricate jumble of neurons or nerve cells and electrical cables interconnected by very simple chemical substances, whose mission is to transmit messages from one nerve cell to another.

The brain represents only 2% of our weight: however, it needs around 20% of the energy we ingest. If we "are what we eat", then the brain will also depend on what we eat.

We can improve brain health and function through nutrition.

  • The main energy the brain needs to function is glucose, which comes from eating foods rich in carbohydrates, such as grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables, as well as dairy products. But, in addition, it needs other essential nutrients: vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, proteins...
  • An excess or deficiency of the necessary nutrient can affect the nervous system. An unbalanced diet can produce specific deficiencies of some of the nutrients, which are manifested through symptoms or sensations such as apathy, reluctance, irritability, nervousness, fatigue, lack of attention, memory problems, concentration problems and even depression.



We know nutrition is important, but it's even more so for brain function.

  • The brain, like any part of the body, needs nourishment. Depending on the nutrients you receive, your brain activity will be different.
  • The composition of each meal has a direct effect on the production of chemical signals in the brain. These substances, responsible for the transmission of information along the nervous system, are called neurotransmitters, and they can be partly modulated by food. By this means we could influence mood and behaviour, help relieve depression, anxiety, neurosis and sleep disorders.
  • Each of the existing neurotransmitters - there are about 50 different ones - has a specific mission. To form them, certain nutrients are required that are provided by different foods.


For example, dairy products (cheese, milk), eggs, fish, meat, legumes, nuts and fruit (banana, pineapple, avocado) provide a substance called tryptophan, essential to synthesize a neurotransmitter called serotonin, which is related to emotions , depression, control of temperature, appetite and sleep. Thus, a serotonin deficiency can cause the circuits that require this substance to fail.


  • It will improve our mood
  • we will think faster
  • we will have more memory
  • we will be able to concentrate better.


These are just small examples of what food can do for the brain.

When we think about nutrition, we must not only think about diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, obesity, etc., but also about the most important organ, the brain.

WHAT should we EAT?

  • You should try to eat more carbohydrate-rich foods with some protein at night; they will help you relax and sleep better.
  • Essential fatty acids should be consumed, either in the form of blue fish or dietary supplements.
  • It is desirable to include protein-rich foods in the diet. Proteins are essential for making the neurotransmitters that are vital for brain processes. You should try to make the midday meal richer in protein, to optimize the mind and stay more awake in the afternoon.
  • You need to eat foods rich in vitamins and minerals; they hold the key to many reactions being able to take place.
    Drinking 1.5 or 2 liters of water every day helps to keep the brain well hydrated.
    To oxygenate the brain, exercise and light and frequent meals are convenient.



The main energy the brain needs to function is glucose, which comes from eating foods rich in carbohydrates.
Through nutrition, we could improve mood and behavior, helping to alleviate depression, anxiety, neurosis and sleep disorders.



* Image generated by Stable Diffusion

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