If you’ve gone through some kind of major stress in your life, whether an accident, trauma, or even PTSD, your brain has taken a major hit whether physically, emotionally, chemically or all three! Nutrition can be a huge aspect of recovering from major traumas in life.
As my friend and colleague Dr. Richard Dubois says often, “There’s no disease process in the human body that can’t be helped or improved by good nutrition or that wouldn’t be made worse by poor nutrition.”
So what kind of nutrition will help your brain repair and function better?
Antioxidants And Brain Health
Antioxidants are crucial for healthy brain function. Your brain uses as much as 20% of your total energy output just to power itself! And when your body produces energy at the cellular level, it produces free radicals as a byproduct. Free radicals are basically unstable molecules that damage anything they come into contact with in your body.
When free radicals hit your DNA, it can cause damage and eventually lead to mutations which could lead to cancer. When free radicals hit your endothelium (the lining of your blood vessels), it can cause damage and eventually lead to hardening of the arteries and heart disease. When free radicals hit the neurons in your brain, it can cause damage and eventually lead to dementia, brain fog, or even Alzheimer’s.
We can’t stop your body from producing free radicals – it’s just a natural biological process that’s unavoidable. But we can help your body defend itself against them by making sure you eat enough antioxidants. The best way to get these antioxidants is from fresh, raw fruits, vegetables and berries. An apple, for instance, has over 10,000 phytonutrients (antioxidants) in it! And your body needs all of these antioxidants, not just 2o or 30 from a multivitamin. That’s why you should be eating lots of fresh produce and you can’t just rely on a vitamin supplement to protect you.
Omega-3 Fats And Brain Health
Another important aspect of your nutrition for healthy brain function is Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fats are called essential fatty acids because you must get them from your food, as well as Omega-6 fatty acids. The problem is that the average American eats 15 to 45 times more Omega-6 fats than Omega-3 fats, causing a huge imbalance. Research suggests a balanced ratio closer to 1:1 is ideal for good health.
Omega-3 fats are anti-inflammatory fats whereas Omega-6 fats are pro-inflammatory. When we eat 45 times as much Omega-6 fats as Omega-3 fats, our body and immune system become hyper-inflamed. This can lead to chronic stress response in the body, hormone imbalances, and chronic diseases like heart disease, stroke, dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Severe traumas in life also greatly increase inflammation. When you get in an accident, when you’re stressed, or when you have a huge emotional upset, your body triggers an inflammatory response. When you combine that with excess Omega-6 fats and not enough Omega-3 fats, your body can become excessively inflamed.
So simply by eating extra Omega-3 fats from sources like whole flax seeds, flax seed oil, chia seeds, hemp seeds or fish oil, you can protect your body from excess inflammation and help your brain and immune system recover and heal much faster.
When it comes to brain health and nutrition, you’ve got to realize that you’re in control. No disease, no trauma, and no upset in life is ever too great for the human spirit to overcome. When you realize that you are indeed in control and you know you can do something today and every day to make a difference in your health, you’ll have the courage to overcome any challenge in life.
Here’s to you living an amazing life!
This article written by Tom Corson-Knowles, founder of Authentic Health Coaching. You can get Dr. Corson’s Top 5 Nutrition Tips Report for free at www.tomcorsonknowles.com/