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Thursday, September 24, 2020

How Food That We Eat Controls Our Brain

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It's impossible to avoid it. For decades, we are surrounded by sweet and fatty foods. And the body can't yet handle it well with these eating habits. 


But what about the brain?


Is our mental health, our mood, and our brains suffer from the wrong kind of nutrition? We know that fast food make us fat, but science tell us now that it's possible to shrink our brains.


Brain researchers have joined the dining table, to study effects of our eating habits. A diet that is high in fat and sugar, in the long run, causes changes to part brain involved in memory.


This is the latest research fields, an emerging science which highlights new nutritional aspects. Food intake habits which are high in fat and sugar resulting in brain reprogramming.


In short, our brains are affected by what's on our plates.



 What We Eat


It all started with our first meal, even before birth. The brain builds up during pregnancy. How it will function later depends on how things are maintained by the diet of pregnant women for nine months. A number of consequences of malnutrition during pregnancy long known.


Currently, scientists in Australia is seeing the impact of nutrition on brain function.


Felice Jacka, a professor at the University of Melbourne, check the baby's behavior after following the eating habits of 23,000 pregnant women.


We measure food intake fast food and their preparations, we measured intake their healthy diet, foods with lots of fiber and nutrition, and others. And then we look at health emotional to their children for a few years of life from 18 months to 5 years. Of course, taking into account things like education, income, maternal mental health, parenting practice, these kinds of things. And what we saw very clearly is mothers who eat more fast food and processed, so sweet drinks, and salty snacks, you know, cookies, biscuits, during their pregnancy, their children have more behavior like aggression, and anger, and tantrum.

This disturbing correlation indicates that a mother's diet impact on mental development of the baby, although the link still has to be shown at a biological level.


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However, Felice Jacka is sure. So that's what we saw in this great Norwegian study is that the children's diet also important, regardless of what you eat.

If the children eat too much fast food and processed, and or not enough with healthy food, they have a lot more this anger and aggressive behavior, but also sadness, anxiety, worries, nightmares.


Since then, Professor Jacka concluded confirmed by research in Spain, Netherlands, and Canada.


Excess fat and sugar now in view scientists working in the area of ​​the brain. Strengths and weaknesses. Fast food often lack of essential nutrients, thus leaving the body, and especially nerve cells, deficient.


In the laboratory at this University of Bordeaux, scientists study consequences for lack of food in the mouse brain.


This experiment was used to measure anxiety. The animal has a choice between explore bright areas or hide in the shade. Normal mice take their time to check a bright area. But this animal is very deficient omega-3 fatty acids during its development.

The number of incidents was reduced by a third. What do we eat may have power to change our mood, to stimulate a certain urge.

But can the food on our plates also influence our decisions, which we believe we made with use our free will? When people are asked do they think that the food they eat impact on health, most of them answered yes.


But when they were asked can the diet too influencing thoughts and decisions, very few people who want to believe this.


However, at the Psychology Institute Lubeck University in Germany, Professor So Young Park, for the first time, has proven it. Her work is revealing mechanism where food can affect our mind.


And for that, researchers have developed a rather original experiment. Imagine you face the following dilemma. The money on the table must be divided into two sums. But your colleague, a stranger, who is deciding how it's divided.


I'll give you two euros and eight euros for me. If you accept that unfair offer, You're left with little money but far less than your counterpart. If you refuse, no one wins.


So what are you going to do?

Do you accept the offer and received two euros, even if you feel cheated? Or, do you refuse, and left with an empty bag but you feel proud?

Well, surprisingly, either you will take the money or not depending on what that you just ate. As part of this research, we followed 24 people who came to the laboratory twice, to receive breakfast different.

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We found that the same person make decision which is very different depending on what  they ate that morning. For test takers, both breakfasts look the same.


In fact, one is much richer in protein than the other. The ratio of protein to sugar is the only parameter that changes. Several hours after eating, subject to some tests on the computer.


Today he accepted the offer. His own interests exceed his anger at the injustice, and he will go with a little money in his pocket. Last week he especially refused and got almost nothing. Subject after consuming high protein breakfast in the morning, tolerant of unfair offer.


Conversely, the subjects who consume high carbohydrate breakfast, less tolerant in deep face an unfair offer. On average, subjects which has very little protein refuse an unfair offer twice as often. But what about that result this surprising can be explained?


In their search for biological evidence for this observation, scientists did blood tests. They send blood to the laboratory for analysis, they measured hormone levels and amino acids in the blood. For hormones, we are interested in insulin, cortisol, adrenaline, and ACTH.

And amino acids, tryptophan and tyrosine. Of these substances, the most important one is tyrosine. Amino acids are one of the building blocks of protein which is a key brain function, dopamine.


This molecule confirms communication between neurons involved in motivation and risk taking. Blood analysis results showed that the subject with higher tyrosine levels in his blood more willing accept an unfair offer.


In other words, what is we can eat in a few hours subtly change brain chemistry, and thus communication between neurons.

Enough to guide some of our decisions. Experiments continue at Lubeck to confirm this result.

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The implications are very broad. Since we eat three times a day,

every day, we realize that food has extraordinary power that changes and shape mankind. So it's important to think about how can we use food to increase our well-being and optimize our mental state. Not only diet which is not balanced affect function and our brain behavior, and our meal plans interfere with everyday decisions, also increasingly clear that diet played a decisive role in our mood and, maybe mental health too.


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But how with fast food, sprinkled with sugar and bad fats?

What would happen if we eat a lot more than that?


This is the focus of research in Australia at the University of Sydney. Margaret Morris runs laboratory where mice be fed this type of food fast food that you find at the supermarket or cheap fast food restaurant. Our experiment uses various western foods, of the kind eaten by all of us. So we feed the meat pies, chips, cookies and biscuits. Kinds of food available and cheap.


So we modeled the Western world. The first consequences of this diet, rats doubled their food rations. The animal seems like it never full. But that's not the result the most surprising.


One of interest our main research is the impact of this diet on animal memory. And we can measure this easily in mice by using assignments which is known as unknown object and unknown place assignment.

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In this test, researchers put objects in the rat cage. The animal is coming soon to check it out. By nature, rodents very curious.


After completing the examination and remember the environment, it was moved temporarily. We then put the animal is in place with one object which has shifted. Upon his return, the rats finished more time to inspect objects which has changed places because it already knows the other object. It was etched into his memory. Mice filled with bad food behaves differently.


What we observe is that of animals who eat a high-fat diet or foods high in sugar, or combined foods high in fat and foods high in sugar, less able to recognize, remember that thing has moved, they explore the two things are almost the same, it shows spatial memory disorders.


Rats that eat too much not only destroy spatial memory, but also other damages which gives off a warning signal for scientists. They show damage on the hippocampus, small area located in the center of the brain.


That's very important for learning and memory consolidation. Recent studies show that in humans a diet that is too rich in energy also irritates the hippocampus.


For example, take a look that the quality of people's diets related to size their hippocampus, with a measure of the volume of the cortex cerebellum and their base ganglia.


And there started be an intervention study, so for example we see that only four days on a fast food type diet will have an impact on related cognitive functions with the hippocampus.


Margaret Morris now trying to understand how about sugary food and fatty disturbing the brains of the mice to affect their performance. He has a hypothesis, namely: Eat too much fat and sugar triggers an inflammatory reaction which spreads to the neurons.

So, in response against this food, there is a generalized inflammatory response all over the body. This has been well explained in obesity, but now seems responsive enough too.


And what we found is that inflammatory molecules like cytokines increased in response to a diet. A diet that is too rich is confusing immune system. It responds with triggers an inflammatory reaction, especially in fat tissue. Our fat mass releases substances which then spread this inflammation throughout the body.


Neurons are considered spared of this effect beyond the blood brain barrier protective, semi-permeable membrane that separatesm blood vessel that circulates from the brain.

So there is increased inflammation all over the body, and we thought this can spread to the brain. It's because of the blood brain barrier which normally protects the brain of inflammatory molecules maybe actually distracted by food and become leaky, allows molecular traffic get into the brain.


Inflammation infiltrates the meninges, and then triggered a surprising phenomenon.


In his laboratory, Sophie Laye pointed out in the mice who eats too much that cells certain immunity in the brain, microglial cells, start devouring neurons. Microglial cells in the brain this is important because they can eat neurons that die.


But at that moment deregulated, especially in a nutritional situation

unbalanced they start eating living neurons. Hence, with consuming these neurons in excessive amounts, eventually they will destroy or participate in destruction of neuron networks. That includes living neurons and that should work. This reaction of microglial cells can be filmed in-vitro.


This description shows how they move energetically. The red object is a neuron fragment they consume. In obese mice, activity to be fast and energetic.

This phenomenon is thought to have an effect significant on brain function. We have already said in people for 30 years, don't eat this food, you may have a heart attack, You may have cancer and diabetes. It didn't work change people's behavior. We hope that people understand that what is they put it in their mouth actually very important for their brain health and their children, who might have more impact deep on the options people's food.


Microscope, micromanipulator, and ultra-sensitive recorders.


Xavier Fioramonti in charge of an equipment which can record electrical activity from one neuron.

The principle is simple, a piece of mouse brain soaked in fluids that keep him alive. The researcher carefully approached him with electrodes. That's a very thorough operation. 


Here, I lowered the dropper into chunks of the brain and now we will approaching this tape pipette near neurons to make contact. That is all, we've made contact and now we'll be able to measure electrical activity of neurons. The peak of the output we see is a potential area for action. This is how neurons are encode information. Time elapsed between peaks is the message sent by neurons. Now we will improve glucose concentration in the container. And we'll see whether this cell responds this increase in glucose concentration.

-Researchers



This cell responds increase with electrical activity a lot more. There is more potential for action than we see here before the upgrade glucose concentration. This signal comes from a single cell.

 But in the brain, neurons connected to each other. It made scientists guess that glucose have the ability to modify activity of all areas of the brain in control emotions and pleasure. Is this how sugar ensures his grip on our will?


This, for now, just a hypothesis. But today, sugar addiction is intense research subjects in the laboratories. And what seems cleareris that the strength of sugar is similar to drugs.


Serge Ahmed is one the first to provide evidence by experiment which is very simple.


The first step, he raises mice, give them cocaine and sugar. Then after weeks undergoing this diet, she delivers these animals are a choice.


We have situations where animals have options between the levers connected to the tool an injection containing a medicinal solution. And, the drug in question is medicine hard like cocaine and heroin. And on the left, a lever made it possible controlling syringes which contains a sweet drink. And, there we see the animal choose to drink sugary drinks. The mice chose sugar water four times more often than drugs. It cannot be called as a glucose overdose, but an irresistible desire clearly visible.


So this experiment just shows that sugar has more addictive potential than we imagined and that, maybe, even stronger than the pull of hard drugs, like cocaine and heroin. Today, we live in the environment slightly crazy food. We find sugar in many foods, as we hope, in sweet drinks.  But we'll also find sugar in food which wasn't meant to be sweet, like meat and soup.


We can quote other examples, but adding sugar to this food who contributed on the fact that we're going to make people are addicted without them knowing it.


At the Oregon Research Institute, the influence of sweet foods in the human brain is being investigated. What is revealed by this research program is that habit of eating solid food energy changes your neural circuits in exactly the same way as consumption of illegal drugs.



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