How Food affects the Brain


I had read that, “We are, what we eat.” And I never really understood the true meaning of it. Until, I watched a Ted video titled, “How the food you eat affects your brain.”

And that got me thinking, reading more on the subject and being more aware of the how food influenced my behaviour! And, it was all true…


Our brain is always “on.” It takes care of our thoughts, movements, breathing, heartbeat, senses — it works 24/7. This means your brain requires a constant supply of fuel. That “fuel” comes from the foods you eat — and what’s in that fuel makes all the difference. Put simply, what you eat directly affects the structure and function of your brain and, ultimately, your mood.

Brain components

If we dehydrated our brain, we would be left with lipids (fats). The rest of the matter is made up of glucose, micronutrients, amino acids and proteins.

Trans fat

Trans fats, which are found  in fried foods and highly-processed baked goods, comprimises health. Research shows that trans fats may worsen memory. And those who eat a lot of them are more likely to have a smaller brain.

Good food for the brain

Research suggests an association between improved mood and foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, tryptophan, folate and other B vitamins. Eating fruits, vegetables, omega-3-rich foods, protein, complex carbohydrates and drinking enough water, could help make a positive difference in mood and well-being.

To avoid dips in attention span and mood, skip high-glycemic carbohydrates like white bread and dessert. Which can send blood sugar levels in your brain skyrocketing before crashing. Complex carbs like legumes and whole grains increase blood sugar levels at a slower pace, which helps your brain remain more attentive and focused.

Good Bacteria affects your mood

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate sleep and appetite, mediate moods, and inhibit pain. Since about 95% of your serotonin is produced in your gastrointestinal tract. It makes sense that the inner workings of your digestive system don’t just help you digest food. But also guide your emotions. The good bacteria play an essential role in your health. They activate neural pathways that travel directly between the gut and the brain.

Studies have shown that when people take probiotics (supplements containing the good bacteria), their anxiety levels, perception of stress, and mental outlook improve; compared with people who did not take probiotics.

What does this mean for us?

Start paying attention to how eating different foods makes you feel — not just in the moment, but the next day. Try eating a “clean” diet for two to three weeks — that means cutting out all processed foods and sugar. Add fermented food, see how you feel.

People suffering from anxiety, depression, stress never think about their foods. It’s time, we all get aware about what we eat!!

Iti Jain

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ItI jain

Yogi. Blogger. Storyteller After, a decade of being a fitness enthusiast and various trial and errors with corporate jobs and teaching (post a PG degree in Management).



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