The Best Food Fuel for Your Brain

Does your brain need sugar and carbohydrates to function properly? That’s at least what I thought for a long time but today I know that it’s actually not true – and I will tell you why. Read on for The Best Food Fuel for Your Brain!

It is true that your brain can’t burn fatty acids but only glucose or ketones. Glucose is blood sugar and all the carbohydrates that you eat will transform into glucose in your body.

Ketones are water-soluble acids that are formed in your liver and are used as energy. Your brain burns about 120 grams of glucose a day but only if the daily carbohydrate intake amounts to at least 120 grams. Thus, if the intake is less than 120 grams, the liver forms ketones to provide energy to and for the brain instead.

A smaller portion of brain cells can only burn glucose which makes the essential need for glucose amount to 20-30 grams per day. This amount is actually something our livers can produce through the process of gluconeogenesis, which means that our brain’s essential carbohydrate needs are a total of 0 grams.

With that being said, you don’t have to cut out carbohydrates completely – but it’s good to know that your brain actually doesn’t NEED them. Regardless of how much carbohydrates you eat, it’s important to choose the best kind of fuel for your brain and to provide it with good fats. Here are some suggestions of good brain fuel:

1. Products that contain Omega-3

These are very important for a healthy brain. Actually, both Omega-3 fatty acids and Omega-6 are important for the function of your brain and it’s super important that the intake of these are sufficient and balanced. Walnuts, fish and eggs are examples of foods that contain Omega-3 and you’ll find Omega-6 in vegetable oils and most nuts.

2. Vegetables

Veggies are generally good brain fuel and beetroot has been shown to have extraordinary effects, especially pure, fresh, beetroot juice. The reason behind this is that the nitrates contained in beetroot juice are converted into the vasodilator, nitrogen oxide (NO) which in turn helps to improve the supply of oxygen and other nutrients.

3. Avocado, blueberries, broccoli & salvia 

These are other good forms of brain fuel – for different reasons. Blueberries contains anthocyanin for example, which can have positive effects on your learning ability, memory and coordination.

So, in summary always provide your brain with good fats as they are necessary for optimum brain function and protection. Also, now that you are aware that you don’t necessarily need to eat carbohydrates for your brain to function efficiently, you can now be more conscious of which sources of carbohydrates you select and note which work best for you. What foods have you tried that really give you a brain-boosting edge? Let us know in the comments below and follow the conversation on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram. Meantime, check out these other foods that you can definitely eat with confidence, and don’t forget to KEEP YOUR Fit ON!

Pepita Andersson

Pepita from Sweden, is a certified nutritionist with a Bachelor's degree in psychology and a passion for food and mental health. With a burning interest in both nutrition and the human brain, she strives to increase understanding of how these are strongly related. She wants to guide people on how to create a more sustainable and healthy lifestyle – the goal being to achieve a constant state of love and caring for their minds and bodies.

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