Many people typify good health from the neck down. But it hardly needs to be spelled out that eating too much junk food is not only bad for the way our bodies look, but also how our brain works.
The ticket to health, happiness and clear thinking is applying those laws which regulate how our mind operates. None of the principles involved are rocket science. Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling said: “It is now recognized by leading workers in the field that behaviour is determined by the functioning of the brain, and that the functioning of the brain is dependent on its composition and its structure.”
In other words, thinking is as biological as digestion, and scientists recognize that the physical state of our brain affects our thinking. That’s bad news for the masses, for which there seldom is a home cooked meal. And even “home-cooking” has been re-defined to include Hamburger Helper, canned vegetables and processed meats. What’s left out are fresh fruits and vegetables, beneficial fats from nuts and fish (the brain is 60% fat), quality proteins such as lean meats and water.
The World Health Organization claims that mental health problems “are fast becoming the number-one health issue of the 21st century”. Clinical depression is the biggest international health threat after heart disease, and dementia is fast making a powerful case for itself. Studies now point to junk food increasing the occurrence of other mental ailments such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Most ill health and disease doesn’t happen by chance. Studies show that 9 out 10 people eat less than the recommended daily amounts of essential nutrients, which makes for a compelling case of garbage in, garbage out. Whenever you eat from a can, a package or a box, food technology not only denies you essential nutrients, but it also gives you the added burden of unwanted elements. Everything we eat seems to have the stamp of ill health: irradiation, sterilization, pasteurization, over-processing, biotechnology, agricultural superbugs, overcrowded farm pens and unhealthy animal feeds. Add to that unwanted chemicals, preservatives, sugars and harmful fats, pesticides, herbicides, steroids, hormones, lack of enzymes, fibre and nutrients.
Believe it or not, what you eat becomes your brain and your body. The proteins, carbohydrates, fats, fibre, water and nutrients you ingest from wholesome foods impacts the functioning of the brain. Obviously, the more healthy food you eat, the better off your brain, and body, will be.
Blood sugar and the brain
Aside from nutritional deficiencies, another important key to understanding how blood sugar-levels affect the brain. Too little produces fatigue, confusion, irritability and aggression, while too much may result in loss of consciousness.
Processed foods like refined sugars and flours can send blood sugar levels on a roller coaster ride throughout the day, resulting in emotional ups and downs and possibly a dependence on such foods. The immediate effect on blood sugar levels after consumption is almost drug-like and temporarily lifts the moods.
Denial of cause is a growing trend in modern society, followed by shock at the occurrence of disease. The solution is to eat whole foods to feed the brain. Our physical body is not separate from our mind. If we disconnect the two, it becomes easy to think that diet plays no role in mental health. But it does, as a contributing factor. Contrary to what most assume, mental illness is not all psychological, but also physiological.
Whole foods, as close to their natural state as possible allow optimum capacity to think, reason and make decisions. Learn to apply these health principles to keep your mind sharp.