Nutrition for Brain Health - Food for the Brain

Here at Food for the Brain, we approach brain health firmly 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 body systems, in terms of the mechanisms at play that preserve our mental function (1). As science is advancing, we are beginning to be 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).

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