Feeding Your Brain
Grace Keller's brother teased her about her bad breath when she was a teenager, so she started eating extra oranges every day. She liked them so well that she worked out a simple diet for herself of fruits, nuts, and leafy greens, all grown organically, if possible. “Cooking destroys vital enzymes,” said Keller, who takes no medications and said she hasn't had a cold for 30 years. She says she feels like 16 or 12 or 20–any of those ages. She's 95 and exercised on a trampoline until she moved recently from her California home to Eugene, Oregon, to live with her daughter.
She is a singer with the Sugar Beets, which was formed in 1990. Her daughter says she's still amazingly lucid and just wonderful to be around. Grace says, “I know 1,000 songs. We counted one time, me and my boyfriend.”
Grace remembers when Charles Lindbergh flew across the Atlantic and lived through both world wars. Her daughter says she has the blood pressure of a teenager and that she's a walking legend with the doctors. Grace says, “The live foods make you feel the wonder of life.” (The Register Guard, April 6, 2007.
Located in the center of the head, protected by the skull, and near the sensory apparatus of vision, hearing, balance, taste, and smell, the brain is the most powerful CPU known to man. In humans, convolutions of the brain make it possible for it to accommodate a great number of neutrons and still fit inside the skull. The structure of the human brain is different from that of other animals in several ways. For example, the prefrontal cortex, the most complex part of the brain, is much larger. The human brain also has a great number of synaptic connections that allow for parallel processing.
The brain receives signals through nerves coming from the sensors. The signals are processed through the central nervous system, and reactions occur depending upon reflex and learned experience. Muscles are controlled in much the same way. The spinal cord is communications central for most of these messages.
The brain also produces some of the hormones that influence organs and glands elsewhere in the body. The brain also reacts to hormones produced in other parts of the body.
Some (not all) Diseases and Ailments of the Brain
- Neurodegenerative Diseases:
- Alzheimer's disease
- Parkinson's disease
- Huntington's disease
- Mental Illnesses:
- Clinical depression
- Bipolar disorder
- Infectious Diseases:
- Congenital Diseases:
- Tay-Sachs disease
- Fragile X syndrome
- Down syndrome
It would seem that Grace Keller has found the fountain of youth. Most of us would like to have her mental acuity and physical strength at the age of 95. Few of us will. There are certain nutrients designated by the scientists as “essential.” What this means in nutrition is that we must replenish these nutrients by eating them.
Almost all the fuel for the brain's work must come from glucose, which it cannot manufacture. It must be made of carbohydrates. The body usually maintains a supply of glucose and other energy sources, and typically it is adequate to meet the needs of the brain. Because the brain must receive a constant, accurate steady flow of this fuel in order to survive, it has often been suspect with regard to mental illness and brain disorders. In order to maintain healthy glucose levels, be sure to eat plenty of complex carbohydrates, which are broken down into glucose molecules and used as fuel or stored in muscle and the liver as glycogen. This will make your body and your brain function at optimal level. Just ask Grace!
Starchy carbohydrates include soaked brown rice. Fibrous carbohydrates include asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, mushrooms, spinach, and pepper. They can also be found in most dark green leafy vegetables. Be careful that you choose those that have not been cooked or processed.
By TTS Cofounder Botanical Chef Omid Jaffari