The 8 Domains and Brain Health - Food for the Brain

Here at Food for the Brain, we approach brain health using our 8 domains approach. This approach is rooted in the nutritional psychiatry, neuroscience and psychology evidence base and encompasses nutrition and lifestyle interventions for supporting brain health and mental being, and preventing cognitive decline.

Nutrition is so important for the brain. The brain is the most energy-hungry organ in the body. Despite the fact that it weighs just 1.5kg, it steals roughly 25% of the body’s energy requirements. It is therefore dependent on a second-to-second supply of energy, which is only provided by the food we eat. Much like a performance car, the brain functions best when it runs on premium fuel. 

Watch our own Scientific Advisory Board member Professor Julia Rucklidge TedX talk here on the surprisingly dramatic role of nutrition on mental health.

When we think of food, we think of it as being enjoyable and providing energy and building blocks for the body. However, research is starting to recognise the important role food and dietary factors play on specific molecular systems and the mechanisms that preserve our mental function (1). As science has advanced, we’ve been able to identify how food not only influences energy metabolism, but also neuroplasticity. This is our brain’s ability to change and reorganise itself in response to injury and learning experiences (1), which is an important factor in the evolution of the modern brain. This emerging area of research is called, “nutritional psychiatry”, and posits nutritional medicine as a key intervention for brain health and mental wellbeing across the lifespan (2) (3).

Click on the images below to learn more about each of the individual domains.

Domain 1: Eat a low Glycemic Load (GL) diet

Keeping blood glucose levels in the low-normal range is reflected by a low glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1c). A low HbA1c is usually a proxy for improved insulin sensitivity…

Domain 2 : Keep Your Homocysteine Low with B vitamins

B vitamins are essential for many aspects of brain function. They are essential for healthy methylation, which is needed to build brain cell membranes and neurotransmitters…

Domain 3: Increase Brain Fats, Omega-3, Phospholipids & vitamin D

The omega-3 fat docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is the most abundant polyunsaturated fat in the brain…

Domain 4: Eat and Drink Antioxidants & Polyphenols

Antioxidants and polyphenols are plant-based nutrients that protect the brain…

Domain 5 : A Healthy Gut is a Healthy Brain

A healthy gut is essential for a healthy brain. In recent years it has become established that there are many ways in which the gut communicates with the brain, and vice versa…

Domain 6: Exercise and Keep Physically Active

Movement is one of the most powerful ways to reduce of risk cognitive decline …

Domain 7: Active Mind

The term “use it or lose it” is very pertinent for preventing cognitive decline in older adults…

Domain 8 : Sleep Well, Stay Calm and Live Purposefully

Several factors related to emotional health are thought to increase risk of cognitive impairment and dementia. ..

References:

  1. Gómez-Pinilla F. (2008). Brain foods: the effects of nutrients on brain function. Nature reviews. Neuroscience9(7), 568–578. https://doi.org/10.1038/nrn2421
  2. Sarris J. (2019). Nutritional Psychiatry: From Concept to the Clinic. Drugs79(9), 929–934. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40265-019-01134-9
  3. Sarris, J., Logan, A. C., Akbaraly, T. N., Amminger, G. P., Balanzá-Martínez, V., Freeman, M. P., Hibbeln, J., Matsuoka, Y., Mischoulon, D., Mizoue, T., Nanri, A., Nishi, D., Ramsey, D., Rucklidge, J. J., Sanchez-Villegas, A., Scholey, A., Su, K. P., Jacka, F. N., & International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research (2015). Nutritional medicine as mainstream in psychiatry. The lancet. Psychiatry2(3), 271–274. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2215-0366(14)00051-0

Our Cognitive Function Test

Our cognitive function test can help you identify early signs of cognitive decline, as well as give some personalised dietary and lifestyle guidance to help you take positive steps to prevent Alzheimer’s.