01 Feb Brainy Brunch
Spice it up with an Omelette
The centerpiece of the brainy brunch is a spicy omelette.
You may ask, “Why Spicy?”
Well, it turns out that capsaicin (the spicy component of chili peppers) reduces toxic protein (amyloid-beta) buildup in the brain. Amyloid-beta are peptides are the main component of the amyloid plaques found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease. So, adding some heat to your omelette may help reduce Alzheimer’s disease and improve cognitive deficits.
You don’t need to go berserk and add ghost peppers, which clock in at one million on the Scoville spiciness scale. You can get the same brain benefits from a milder chili.
Scramble up some eggs
The incredible edible egg provides some of the highest quantities of choline of any food. Choline is an essential nutrient that is required for normal development and function of the brain. Choline promotes brain health in several ways including the maintenance of structural integrity of cell membranes and the regulation of signals that pass between neurons (brain cells). Choline also may function through epigenetics (how your environment can change the way genes work) by chemically altering DNA (methylation) and changing the expression of neuronal genes.
Not getting enough choline in your diet may have adverse effects on brain health. Dysregulated genes may contribute to some neurodegenerative disorders (such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gherig’s disease), multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease). It may also contribute to the etiology of stress-related disorders and age-related decline in memory later in life.
In fact, getting plenty of choline early in life, enhances performance in memory-related tasks during adulthood. And maintaining adequate choline intake throughout life may act as a neuroprotectant that may mitigate some of the adverse effects of neurodegenerative disorders.
Toss in some mushrooms
There is evidence that mushrooms may enhance cognitive function (thinking and memory). Mushrooms are rich in ergothioneine, a unique antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, that may provide brain benefits.
Slice and dice some onions
Onions are bad for your breath, but good for your brain. Japanese researchers discovered that people suffering from memory loss who added onions to their diets reported improvements in their ability to recall. Onions may be helpful to the hippocampus, a part of the brain that is involved in processing emotions as well as memory. Onions contain a flavonoid called quercetin (also found red wine, green tea, apples, berries, Ginkgo biloba, St. John’s wort, American elder and buckwheat tea). One antioxidant found in onions binds with harmful toxins in the brain and flushes them out of the body. The sulphur-containing compound, which has been shown to slow down the deterioration of memory usually associated with ageing, is also found in garlic, scallion, shallot, leek, and chives.
Color cheers up your morning
Bell peppers do not have much capsaicin, but they may contribute to brain health by decreasing brain inflammation. Brightly colored vegetables reduce inflammatory substances in the blood and may help clear away brain toxins and harmful proteins. A brain with lower inflammation is at lower risk of a stroke and is more resistant to brain damage following injury or stroke. Bell peppers and other similar vegetables have also been reported to reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease, depression, Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline (memory or thinking problems).
Cool it down with yogurt
Between bites of that delicious, spicy omelette, you’ll probably want a few spoons of cool, creamy yogurt to put out the fire on your tongue. Make sure you pick a yogurt that is chock full of live active cultures. If you’ve chosen wisely, that cup of yogurt may have billions of probiotics.
Probiotics are living microorganisms that may provide health benefits that go beyond basic nutrition. It is well known that probiotics maintain a balanced gut microbiota (the panoply of microorganisms (bacteria, fungi, virus, etc.) including their genetic material that naturally exist within your body). It is also well established that this balance supports gut health. But, science has revealed that probiotics can also benefit the rest of the body, including the brain.
About 40 trillion bacteria are living inside your body. Most of them reside in your gut and don’t cause any health problems. You are composed of roughly 30 trillion human cells. Based on widely accepted democratic principles, if each cell in your body were given a vote, a bacteria would be elected president.
You should strive to minimize the number of bad bacteria inside your body while fostering the good bacteria (probiotics). The good bacteria (live microorganisms) that live in your gut may be essential to physical health and may benefit your brain and mental health. The uber probiotics belong to the bacteria families of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria. Runners up include certain types of Streptococcus and Lactococcus.
The intestines and brain are chemically connected by what is called the brain gut axis. The gut communicates with the brain through your gut microbes, which produce molecules that carry information to the brain. Each of these bacteria produce different substances that may affect the brain. These include bacterial genetic material, short-chain fatty acids, neurotransmitters and amino acids. Gut bacteria can also influence the brain and central nervous system by controlling inflammation and hormone production.
Several researchers have found that people with certain mental health conditions (clinically diagnosed depression, anxiety and psychological distress) also have an altered microbiota. It is still unknown whether the imbalance of gut bacteria contributed to the mental health conditions or whether it is merely coincidental (diet and lifestyle may have caused the gut imbalance independent from the mental condition). An emerging field of research studies probiotics that benefit mental health. This family of probiotics has been termed psychobiotics. Bifidobacteria, Streptococcus, Lactobacillus, and Lactococcus have all been used as psychobiotics. Scientists have administered psychobiotics to both patients and healthy volunteers and have reported some interesting findings. Psychobiotics may affect the brain regions that control emotion and sensation. In various studies, scientists have reported that probiotics may reduce symptoms of depression, reduce negative thoughts associated with a sad mood and increase feelings of well-being.
Other studies have demonstrated that probiotics lower levels of inflammatory markers in the blood. Some researchers, citing the salutary benefits of reduced central nervous system inflammation, have reported that probiotics may reduce some symptoms of multiple sclerosis and schizophrenia.
Rest and digest with a cup of joe.
To get the full brainy brunch benefit, savor a cup of rich mocaccino at the end of your meal. The two main ingredients of mocaccino (coffee and chocolate) may improve brain health. Coffee and chocolate are both rich in methylxanthines, which make your brain more resilient. Scientists have lauded the benefits of methylxanthines, research suggests this class of chemicals improves neuronal network activity, sustains cognitive performance (thinking, memory and language function). Methylxanthines may also offer you protection from stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
Fresh ground coffee
Enjoying coffee on a daily basis may benefit the brain. One potentially brain boosting chemical, phenylindanes, is present in both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee. Darker roasts of coffee have more of the healthful phenylindanes than lighter roasts. Researchers have reported that phenylindanes may prevent the brain buildup toxic proteins (tau and beta-amyloid) that are associated with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
The caffeine in coffee, when taken in moderation, may also be beneficial for your brain. Scientists have discovered that caffeine is active in the adenosine receptors of certain neurons (brain cells). By changing the activity of these neurons, coffee may improve mood, memory, alertness, reaction time and mental performance.
Dark chocolate powder
Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, is rich in several substances that may benefit your brain. You probably will want to make enough mocaccino for two, because chocolate is rich in phenylethylamine, a chemical which transmits feelings of love in your brain (think afternoon delight)
Chocolate boasts several beneficial phytochemicals (ubiquitous plant chemicals). Cocoa flavinols and other polyphenols have been reported to have multiple brain benefits. Red wine is famous for its polyphenol content, but it is not alone. Besides chocolate, polyphenols are present in many foods including the skin of grapes, pomegranate and plums.
Polyphenols and flavinols have been reported to increase cerebral blood flow and improve brain metabolism. On this basis, scientists believe chocolate may make your brain more resistant to damage from stroke. These chemicals may protect you from dementia and age related cognitive decline. Other benefits may include protection against mood disorders.