Is the Food You Eat Messing with Your Head?
Fried oreos, hot wings, loaded nachos…. Delicious to the taste buds, but detrimental to your arteries. Foods like this are hard to resist, and if you decide to binge on these junk foods, you will likely regret it later because of the sick, sluggish feeling they give you. We all know certain foods cause weight gain and other health issues, but do you know the link between the food you eat and your brain?
The brain is one of the most complex things to understand. However, one thing experts do know is that diet plays a big role in brain function. When you think about it, it really makes perfect sense. How do you feel after eating a big Thanksgiving meal of turkey and stuffing? Pretty tired, right? Then you have the not so popular, beans, nuts, fruits and vegetables… these are the foods you want to stick to. It’s the way the chemicals in these foods interact with our brains.
Our brain places the foods we eat into one of the 3 gunas, which are then responsible for making us feel a certain way. Foods in the Tamasic category such as meats and processed foods make us feel tired. Spicy and sugary foods belong in the Rajasic category and make us feel agitated and over-stimulated. According to Ayurveda, the best diet for your brain is a Sattvic one. A sattvic diet includes high nutrient foods that keep your brain alert such as nuts, seeds, grains, fruits and vegetables… basically a vegetarian diet.
Although a mainly vegetarian diet is recommended, fats are still an important brain food. Keep in mind it’s a “vegetarian” diet, not to be confused with the vegan diet- dairy products are still very welcome in moderation. Ghee, “clarified butter” is highly recommended, as well as dairy products such as organic yogurt. Oh, and carbs are more than welcome in the Sattvic group too, so feel free to load up on the whole wheat pasta and bread!
Fruit, aka “nature’s candy” is a crucial part of the diet. It serves as a cleanser to rid your body of toxins. Blueberries are one of the most powerful brain foods for their high level of antioxidants. Another legendary ayurvedic fruit is amalaki, also known as the Indian gooseberry, and contains the richest natural form of vitamin C.
To all of those carnivores out there who think they’re getting enough nutrients by taking daily vitamins: you may not want to hear this, but you might be doing yourself more harm than good. Taking vitamin pills or capsules instead of consuming them through natural foods and spices is not the same. Research actually shows that beta-carotene supplements can cause an increased risk of some forms of cancer.
Switching to a Sattvic diet will introduce you to new foods you likely never knew existed. In turn, it makes you a more interesting person. Put it this way, would you be more impressed with someone who cooked beef hamburgers for dinner, or red lentil veggie burgers?
So, how are you feeling today? Sluggish from that bacon, egg and cheese bagel? Or are you alert and energized from your steel cut oats and fruit? Do you think you could survive the Sattvic diet?