We read a recent article about mental acuity being linked to nutrition. The moment we saw the headline we thought: “For real. This is a thing that someone spent time and money on studying?!”
It seems like it would be an indisputable fact that wouldn’t need proof. You eat well and your brain performs well. You eat garbage and your performance goes down. Apparently, it requires more investigation to prove.
The study was the first of its kind and actually measured specific wide ranges of blood nutrient levels instead of using questionnaires to analyze the food and nutrients that subjects ingested prior to testing. The study found that with high levels of vitamins B, C, D and E and Omega-3 fatty acids, subjects performed much higher than subjects with lower levels of these specific nutrients in their blood. Those lower nourished subjects ate foods devoid of these nutrients, categorized as “junk food.” Trans-fat, pastries, processed foods, fried foods, margarine and other commonly considered unhealthy foods.
We knew this as a truth, but reading it still gave us pause. We imagined all the children stuffed full of toaster pastries and empty calories before being sent off to school by well-meaning parents. Breakfast feeds the brain . . . so we’re told. Do we really get what that means? It’s a great slogan to sell so-called breakfast foods. Do we really get the impact of feeding brains, developing brains, sugar-laden fortified food-like products?
The study went on to investigate something else. Brain mass. Individuals who ate the Standard American Diet were tested for 30 different nutrient biomarkers and given an MRI brain scan. People with lower nutrient levels in their blood showed signs of brain shrinkage. Brain. Shrinkage. Yes, read that again. When people ate junk, their brains shrunk.
We know that as we drastically changed what we put into our bodies, as the fuel changed, our minds began to react with drastic clarity. We’re not sure if we had brain shrinkage, or what our beginning nutrient biomarkers were, but we are sure that the constant mental fog was due to our poor eating habits. We dragged ourselves around. It wasn’t always the weight holding us back. Our brains were . . . sluggish.
Feeding our bodies proper fuel is about more than losing pounds and inches. The mental acuity, crispness of memory, energy, health of organs and the longevity promised by fueling our bodies with clean burning nutrient dense fuel . . . it’s far more than “thin.” Plump well-nourished brains are the new tiny waist.