"Food is like a pharmaceutical compound that effects the brain." - Fernando Gomez-Pinilla















Introduction:
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Fernando Gomez-Pinilla has been working and studying the effests of food exercise and sleep on the brain. He stated as a result of his findings "Diet, exercise and sleep have the potential to alter our brain health and mental function. This raises the exciting possibility that changes in diet are a viable strategy for enhancing cognitive abilities, protecting the brain from damage and counteracting the effects of aging." This quote sums up the way in which out eating habbits and pattens can effect our day to day cognition.


Omega 3 Fatty Acids:
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Omega 3 fatty acids are normally found in such foods such as salmon walnuts and kiwi fruits. They normally provide numorus benifits such as improving learning as well as memory. These foods that contain Omega 3 fatty acids can help fight against certian mental disorders that inculde depression, mood disorders, schizophrenia as well as dementia. Gomez-Pinilla stated that Omega 3 fatty acids can support synaptic plasticiyt and seem to affect the expression of numerous molecules that are associated to learning a memory in a positive light. For the brain to mornally function is is of the utmost importance to include Omega 3 fatty acids into ones diet.


Carbohydrates:
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Carbohydrates (potatos bread and choclate), when broken down, creates glucose for energy for the brain. When your carbohydrate intake is much less your brain's energy is much less making it harder for learning to occur. When carbohydrates are limited memory is weakened making inductive reasoning harder to do which can hinder cognitive learning. Carbohydrate depletion is not a permanent state, however, because if carbohydrates are reintroduced to someone's diet their cognition skills return to normal. This study is not only good for learning about cognitive learning abilities, but also for weight lose as well. "Although this study only tracked dieting participants for three weeks, the data suggest that diets can affect more than just weight," says Holly A. Taylor, professor of psychology at Tufts, "The brain needs glucose for energy and diets low in carbohydrates can be detrimental to learning, memory and thinking." ("Food you eat," 2008)


Junk Food:
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It has been proven that foods higher in calories can reduce the flexibility of the brains synapses and increases the possibility of cells becoming damaged by the formation of free radicals. Junk food and the food sold at fast food restaurants that contain high levels of trans fats and saturated facts affect cognition in a negative way. The brains synapses and numerous other types of molecules that are related to memory as well as learning are affected by these unhealthy dietary ways.


Folic Acids:
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This type of acid can be found in a wide number of foods such as orange juice, yeast and spinach. Certain levels of folic acids are essential for brain function. Without certain levels of folic acids in a humans system neurological disorders can develop. Depression can arise in some people as well as cognitive impairment. The combined use a folate supplements with the addition of other types of B vitamins and ensure prevention of cognitive decline and dementia during aging. Recent studies have shown that a three-year old folic acid supplement can help in reducing the decay of cognitive functions.


Informative Facts:
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1. Small portions of food when accompanied with appropriate nutrients have proven to be beneficial to the molecules of the brain.

2. Okinawa, an island of the coast of Japan, has the longest living population of people anywhere on earth due to frequency of exercise they get and the amount of fish they consume. They have a very low rate of mental disorders.

3. Controlled meal-skipping or sporadic caloric restriction might provide health benefits.

4. Evidence has shown that what we eat now can affect our grandchildren’s brain molecules and synapses, the molecular basis to more fully explain this evidence is still being researched.

5. A healthy diet along with exercise can reduce the effect of brain injury and lead to better and faster recovery.

6. Children who increased the amount of omega 3 fatty acids into their diet performed better in school. Reading and spelling scores increased and behavioral issues decreased.



Work Cited






By: Dr. Erin Bunker and Dr. Marlee Geiger