FOOD FOR THOUGHT (quite literally)
By Nasar Ali, Aug 07 2013
The human brain is truly a complex and fascinating organ. It works in such mysterious ways and as a result of everything it is responsible for, this organ which constitutes only 2% of our body’s weight, takes up 20% of its’ energy. So, it follows that our brain obviously needs certain nutrients regularly in order to continue functioning properly.
In recent years, there are increasingly more debates on meat/animal products and whether we actually need them in order to survive and live a healthy life. However, I recently learned some very interesting facts which taught me that our brain needs 5 specific nutrients, which are only found in meat/animal products- unless you take supplements. In fact, without these specific nutrients, we could find our lives in critical danger!
The following nutrients are extremely important for our brain and are ONLY available from animal products:-
- VITAMIN B12- This is a water-soluble vitamin that is involved in the function of every cell in our body. It is necessary for blood formation as well as for brain functioning. Lack of this can result in anything from anemia to an impaired brain function, mental disorders and even a smaller brain. This really is a critical brain nutrient and it effects our brain function and our nervous system. It is also worth noting that a B12 deficiency can cause irreversible damage. You can get B12 from meat, fish and eggs.
- CREATINE- For all you athletes out there, you will know that Creatine is the most popular muscle building supplement. Creatine forms an energy reserve, so when we work out, it helps give us strength and last longer. Creatine may predominantly be in our skeletal muscles, but it is also concentrated in our brain. If you don’t eat meat, then taking supplements could really help improve cognitive performance and make you stronger.
- VITAMIN D3- There are two types of Vitamin D- D2 which is from plants and D3 which comes from animals. Studies show that D3 is more effective than the former. A deficiency in this is linked to many diseases, including but not limited to cardiovascular disease, cancer, and various disorders of the brain including depression and cognitive impairment.
- CARNOSINE- This is found specifically in animal tissues. It is highly concentrated in muscle tissue and out brain. Some of you may recognize it as an anti-ageing supplement. Researchers have speculated that animal foods can protect our brain and body against ageing, due to the large amounts of Carnosine in it.
- DOCOSAHEXAENOIC Acid (DHA)- DHA is one of two active forms of Omega-3 found in our body. DHA is actually the most abundant Omega-3 fatty acid in our brain and is critical for normal brain development. Low intake of DHA can affect cognitive function and mental health, particularly in children. And for women, it is also essential, as it can affect the brain function of any offspring. Everyone knows the best source of DHA is fatty fish; however, another great source is grass-fed and pastured animal products. This, like the other nutrients listed, are essential for proper brain functioning.
I know this is a LOT to take in, but I had no idea about most of this until I did some research. Sometimes we get busy and forget to make sure we are eating properly and getting all the nutrients we need to stay healthy and keep our brain functioning properly. It just so happens that our Chomps are perfect to make sure you are eating something that gives you all of the above 5 important nutrients. Having them in my bag now gives me piece of mind, because even on those days when I may not eat any animal product in my meals- I know I will have had something that is feeding my brain the nutrients it needs, even if it is just in the form of a snack.