Why is Almond a Brain Food
Yesterday Abhishek and I were going somewhere when we randomly started discussing that how, when we were growing up, our mothers made sure that we ate almonds daily. Both our moms believed that almonds are very good for brain.
I remember that in summers my maa, made me eat overnight soaked almonds. Whereas in winters, she use to make a paste of almonds, black pepper and sugar and add that paste to a glass of milk. In fact, one of my teacher at school told us a true story that there was a boy, who had very very limited resources with him and his parents, when he started preparing for civil service exams. He use to sit under the lamp on the streets to study when there was no electricity in his neighborhood. He made it to IAS with a very good rank. Later when he was asked in an interview that what is one thing that made your mind so sharp in spite of the hardships in which you prepared for the exam? He said, “I owe my intelligence to the almonds that my mother use to make me eat daily”.
Not only this, whenever I was losing a lot of hair or having skin problems or having joint pains then my grandmother always told me to start having soaked almonds daily. This information got into me instinctively. So now when I hear somebody’s joints crackling, I immediately ask them to have almonds.
A few days back, it all occurred to me and I started soaking almonds in water again in the night. And I started getting curious to know Why is Almond a Brain Food?
My first research started with understanding the brain, its structure and working and its requirement vis-a- vis food.
I have written this post in this order; What makes any brain an intelligent brain? And how some macro and micro nutrients can help to build up this intelligence? And at last I will correlate all of this info with Why is Almond a Brain Food.
What makes any brain an intelligent brain?
One liner answer for the first question is that it is more neurons i.e brain cells and connections in our brain that equals a stronger memory and sharper mind.
How some macro and micro nutrients can help to build up this intelligence?
1. Healthy Fats
Most of our brain is made up of healthy fats. As we always try to reduce fats and increase muscles to get a lean body. If we try to achieve the same with our brain then we will have a brain, which will be lean in its capabilities . *jokes apart* . You must have observed that walnuts, which are the best vegetarian source of Omega 3 fatty acids, look like a brain.
Takeaway: Healthy fat basically builds our mind. Anyone who is under depression or feels sucked up in mind should include omega 3 supplements in their diet. And should have seeds, nuts, fishes etc daily. This is the reason a good dietician always asks you for your stress levels and work requirements before she recommends a diet
Our body’s system is constantly at work. At any time, there are so many things that are getting digested, processed or assimilated by our bodies. I don’t mean assimilation of just the food that we eat but also the things that we take in through our environment. Like poisonous gases in pollution, chemicals in cosmetics and toiletries, impurities in water, mental stress in daily life etc. So our body has the responsibility to deal with all of these things. Most of the time, it excretes all that is redundant or harmful. But with time, it gathers some of these in the body as fats or toxins or free radicals.
This is the reason ayurveda recommends people to go for detoxification. Read What is detoxification. Do Panchkarma or Intermittent Fasting Work for Weight Loss? And for How long?
Why do we need to bother so much about antioxidants intake? Basically, the type of lifestyle we live where we are always surrounded by pollution, synthetic products like detergents, cosmetics, mosquito repellents etc, the type of food that we eat with all the pesticides, the amount of stress that we face, the strong television rays, microwave rays that surround us and the fancy lights that we use all expose our blood cells to oxidation or free radical formation. These free radicals deposits in our body and hampers the normal functioning of many processes of our body which shows very soon on our skin. You must have noticed some people have a really dull and dead skin esp if they are someone who smoke or stay with people who smoke. As smoking results in a lot of oxidation and free radical formation. Antioxidants rescue these free radicals from our body.
Similarly, As we age, these free radicals attack and break down our brain cells. If we don’t fight this, we are likely to experience age-related memory loss when we get older.
Take away : Antioxidant food basically protect the mind. Eat colorful food. Plan colorful snacks like cucumber and tomatoes, or berries etc for yourself
3. High-Tyrosine Proteins
Besides neurons, our brain also includes important chemicals called neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are the messengers that carry brain signals from one neuron to the next. We may have a great brain structure, but if the supply of the different neurotransmitters is insufficient our brain won’t function properly.
And it is proteins like tryptophan and tyrosine that are the components of these neurotransmitters. Why do our moms ask us to have warm milk in the night? Because it has tryptophan, which build a neurotransmitter, which calms the brain for a sound sleep.
Take Away: Tyrosine rich food basically sparks the mind eat dairy, eggs, fishes etc
4. Vitamins and Minerals
These are the building blocks of anything that is there in the body. Vitamins and minerals deficiencies in the body means sluggish metabolism, poor skin, poor vision and dull brain. For brain the building minerals are calcium and iron. And vitamins are vit C, B12 and B6.
Take away: Since vitamins and minerals are the building blocks so it is important to make sure that there is no deficiency in our body. eat multigrain flour, dairy etc. Add lemon juice to your snacks. Sleep and eat on time to check any sugar cravings.
Our brain derives 100% energy from sugar. This is the reason we feel cranky and frustrated when we have not eaten properly. And this is the reason our crankiness and frustration find its solution behind the doors of refrigerator or restaurant . People who eat every 2 hours maintain a stable blood sugar level and hence a stable sanity level
Now fiber, in itself is no food but it has a very important role to play with our mood swings and sanity levels. Fiber helps slow the absorption of sugar from our diet.
Our brain operates 100% on sugar. But the trick is that the sugar must be delivered in a very steady stream and in the proper amount or our brain gets overwhelmed. Eating enough fiber slows our digestion and results in the sugar in our food being delivered into our bloodstream gradually. So when the food has fiber like then are no temporary *sugar highs*.
Take Away Fiber basically regulates our fuel supply to the brain. Eat complex carbs. Paranthas instead of pizzas. Fruit instead of fruit juice, Coconut water instead of frappes
Huhh.. Finally the last question. Why is Almond a Brain Food
Before I answer that question let me tell you that why is it good to eat water soaked almonds. Dry almonds contain an enzyme inhibitor in the skin which is basically meant to protect the seed till it gets moisture for germination. Once the almonds are soaked in water this enzyme inhibitor is released.
Eating pre soaked almonds makes them easier to digest and also makes more nutrients available for digestion. In fact, most nuts and seeds are easier to digest and have better nutrient availability when soaked overnight before consumption.
Now the main answer: Almonds are
A rich source of dietary fiber, vitamins B Complex, minerals calcium, potassium, manganese, iron ,zinc, magnesium and selenium and phytochemicals (antoxidants). Rich in the mono unsaturated fatty acids like oleic acid & palmitoleic acids (Omega 3 fatty acids).
Rich in the antioxidant Viamin E.
Eat water soaked almonds for the brain, the skin, the hair and the body
Loads of Love
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