Food for Thought

Posted on February 5, 2007

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Increasing numbers of North American children, some as young as five or six years old, have been placed on powerful drugs, antidepressants, or amphetamine-family stimulants. Older adults are succumbing to Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. The future of our society will be greatly influenced by how we respond to this crisis.

Losing our Memories? Losing our Minds?

Genetic research may offer clues to how the brain works, but it does little to offer immediate help on how to protect our brains and enhance our mental abilities. Environmental and nutritional influences as well as gastrointestinal health and immunity play a role in brain function, and these factors, especially nutrition, can be modified for better brain health.

Learning and Behaviour

From fetal development through childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, brain-critical nutrients influence academic or business performance, mood, and behaviour. The omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA (from fish oils) and the omega-6 fatty acid GLA (in evening primrose oil) play a critical role in brain development and function. Many children and adults supplement their diets with a combination of fish oil (or an EPA/DHA concentrate) and evening primrose oil, which effectively improves alertness and concentration.

Adequate iron, magnesium, calcium, and zinc; trace elements such as selenium and chromium; as well as sufficient B vitamins (thiamin and pyridoxine) can improve brain function, mood, and behaviour. Bioflavonoids in grapeseed and other natural antioxidants may assist brain performance.

Exposure to neurotoxins such as mercury and pesticides can damage the brain. Nutrients such as n-acetyl cysteine and l-glutamine, as well as milk thistle extract, and water-soluble fibre can help rid the body of neurotoxins.

The brain needs intensive nutritional support. Junk food and high-calorie snacks must be replaced with nutrient-dense meals and appropriate supplements. Use well-researched natural health products as an excellent, drug-free way to stay mentally sharp and energetic throughout the day.

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