Tuesday, 01 August 2017 18:13

Nutrients for Brain Health

The best nutrients for brain health (and how to get them)
 
There are so many nutrients that you need for overall health. Vitamins, minerals, probiotics, and essential fats, just to name a few.
 
But which ones are the most important for your brain? 
 
Which nutrients can help with brain development of infants, improve moods, and reduce the risk of dementias like Alzheimer’s?
 
Yes, of course, you need an array of nutrients! But, there are five real brain health “winners” here.
 
Let’s go over the brain boosting benefits of omega-3s, vitamin D, B vitamins, magnesium, and probiotics.
 
OMEGA-3s
 
Omega-3s are a type of essential fat. They are arguably the most important nutrients for brain health. 
 
If you take away the water weight, your brain is 60% fat. And 25% of this fat is omega-3s; in particular, the omega-3 called “DHA” (docosahexaenoic acid).
 
Omega-3s have many functions in the brain, for example, they help nerve cells insulate their electrical signals, stabilize their membranes, and reduce inflammation.
 
Omega-3s are critical for baby’s brain development. Getting enough omega-3s during pregnancy can help improve baby’s intelligence and reduce the risk of behavioural problems. 
 
People who regularly eat and/or have higher blood levels of omega-3s are less likely to be depressed. And several studies have shown that when people with mood swings, depression, or anxiety start taking omega-3 supplements, some of their symptoms improve.
 
In terms of age-related mental decline, studies also show that people with higher Omega-3 intakes have a lower risk of Alzheimer’s.
 
OK - They’re great for brain health, but how do I get enough omega-3s?
 
You can get the recommended amount of omega-3s, including DHA, from eating two servings of fatty fish each week.
 
Simple! Have a wild salmon steak and a shrimp stir fry one week. Then have some smoked mackerel and baked cod another week.
 
In terms of supplements, as little as 0.5 grams (500 mg) of fish oil each day is enough for most people to get the minimum recommended levels. Many fish oil supplements come in 1 g (1,000 mg) doses, and that may be just fine on a daily basis (check your labels to make sure).
Published in Deanna's Blog
Friday, 26 May 2017 14:12

Probiotics for Moods and Stress? Yes!

 
 
What do you do when your mood is off or you’re stressed to the max?

 Eat ice cream? Binge watch Netflix? Call your bestie?

 After reading this article, you may consider yogurt, a handful of walnuts, or maybe even some dark chocolate as your go-to mood-boosters and stress-busters.

Today, we’ll unpack some of the exciting (and preliminary) new research about the link between your gut health and moods/stress. 
 
We’ll talk about your friendly resident gut microbes (mostly bacteria), probiotic foods and supplements, as well as foods to feed those gut microbes and probiotics (aka “prebiotics”). 

WHAT THE HECK ARE “GUT MICROBES?  ”

Oh, our friendly “gut microbes.” 

They are the trillions of microbes that happily live in our gut. They help us by digesting foods, making vitamins, and even protecting us from the not-so-friendly microbes that may get in there.

Believe it or not, these friendly microbes have mood-boosting and stress-busting functions too!

FUN FACT: There are more microbes
 
FUN FACT: There are more microbes inside our gut than all of the human cells that make us. Yup, we’re more than half microbe! So, how can they NOT impact our health?

It’s a hotbed of research right now and we’re finding out more about their awesome health, and mood/stress benefits every day.

And, while the research is just starting to figure out the many gut microbe-brain connections, it’s such a cool new topic that I couldn’t wait to share it with you!

GUT MICROBES AND PROBIOTICS

The microbes that live in our guts are known as our “gut microbiota”. 
 
The microbes that we can ingest are known as “probiotics”.

“Probiotics” are live organisms that you can eat, drink, or take as a supplement. They’re what turn milk into yogurt, and cabbage into sauerkraut; and they are great for both your gut health and mental health.

Special probiotics that have mental health benefits are called “psychobiotics,” (psycho = mental health, and biotics = live). They’re live organisms that can benefit our psyche.

So, what’s the link between gut microbes, probiotics, and moods/stress?

  BAD MOODS/STRESS CAN MEAN BAD MICROBES

.  Stress can affect our friendly gut microbes.

 Several studies show that stressed rodents not only have increased stress hormones and stressed behaviours; but, they also have different gut microbes!

And this has been studied, to a small extent, in people too.

 One study showed that moms with high levels of stress hormones during pregnancy had infants with more of the “bad” gut microbes. 

But, can it work the other way around? Can changing our gut microbes affect our moods and stress responses?

Studies of rodents that grow up without any gut microbes at all (in a “bacteria-free” environment) respond to stress more than mice with normal gut microbes. Then, when they’re given either a probiotic or gut microbes from non-stressed mice, their stress responses often go back to normal.

The gut microbe, probiotic, and mood/stress connections are starting to get interesting, aren’t they?

  BAD MICROBES CAN MEAN BAD MOODS
Published in Deanna's Blog