(NaturalNews) "Food is like a pharmaceutical compound that affects the brain," says UCLA professor of neurosurgery and physiological science, Fernando Gomez-Pinilla. In the competitive world of today, strengthening our natural talents is vital if we are to be successful both in our line of work and in our personal pursuits, and it often seems like our very existence is littered with various tests and challenges that ask us to push our limits. Fortunately, scientific evidence now shows that an assortment of raw foods can greatly enhance our mental performance, by providing us with pure, natural mental boosters.
Interestingly enough, while only weighing about 1.5 kilograms, the brain alone accounts for approximately 20% of the daily energy expenditure of the human body. While intense mental workout burns more calories than a state of mental relaxation, a study published by the Wisconsin University in the prestigious Cell magazine reveals that the brain tends to treat excess carbohydrates as if they were an invading pathogen.
For this reason, finding the right calorie balance is essential, and lighter and more frequent meals are usually recommended instead of highly energy-dense meals. Leigh Gibson of Roehampton University in England explains that the human brain functions best with approximately 25 grams of glucose circulating in the blood stream, which is only about the amount of carbohydrates found in an average banana.
Omega 3-fatty acids were found to be essential for the normal development of the brain in fetuses and young children, and evidence now suggests that omega-3 fatty acids can further enhance membranes in brain cells, and even repair cell damage by promoting neural growth.
Furthermore, Dr. Fernando Gomez-Pinilla revealed that a "dietary deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids in humans has been associated with an increased risk of several mental disorders, including attention-deficit disorder, dyslexia, dementia, depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia."
Chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, purslane, black raspberries, pecans, and hazelnuts are wonderful plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Purslane in particular, while usually considered nothing but a weed in the United States, carries the highest content of alpha-linoleic acid among all green leafy plants, and can be added to salads and green smoothies for a slightly saltier flavor.
Proteins not only are useful for muscle growth, but are largely responsible for our intelligence and mental abilities as well (in that they provide us with crucial amino-acids that regulate brain activity and development). Judith Wurtman, PhD, director of a women's health program at the MIT Clinical Research Center in Boston, explained that the two neurotransmitters dopamine and epinephrine (or adrenaline) are mainly responsible for our mental alertness, and that they are produced from tyrosine. Peanuts, almonds, avocados, lima beans, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds are great natural sources of this important amino-acid.
Inositol is a special type of carbohydrate that does not render energy like a classic sugar, but instead has a wide range of beneficial effects on the human nervous system. It can improve mental endurance, modulate serotonin activity, support brain and bone marrow cell membranes, and combat a number of psychiatric conditions and disorders, including bulimia, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, agoraphobia, and clinical depression. According to research data published in The American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition, inositol is found in fruits (bananas, raisins and citrus fruits), beans, yeasts, grains and most nuts.
Raw Michelle is a natural health blogger and researcher, sharing her passions with others, using the Internet as her medium. She discusses topics in a straight forward way in hopes to help people from all walks of life achieve optimal health and well-being. She has authored and published hundreds of articles on topics such as the raw food diet and green living in general. In 2010, Michelle created RawFoodHealthWatch.com, to share with people her approach to the raw food diet and detoxification.