Christine Bailey, author of The Brain Boost Diet Plan, talks to Sarah Orme and Kate Bennett about what to eat to keep your brain healthy.
Most diets focus on your body, so we were excited to hear about a diet that’s designed to supercharge your brain.
Listen to the podcast to learn more and pick up some expert tips from Christine.
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Why looking after your brain is important
“What we’re now learning from research is that there’s an actual link between the brain functioning and how healthy our gut is,” says Christine.
However, the real motivation behind her new book is much more personal. “My gran suffered with Alzheimer’s,” she says.
Throughout her teens and early twenties, she witnessed her grandmother’s deterioration. “It was a horrible experience.”
Christine is increasingly asked by people in their thirties and early forties how they can look after their brain health and reduce their risk of Alzheimer’s.
The mental health benefits of eating well
“We’ve all probably gone through a day where perhaps we haven’t eaten well or skipped a meal. And we suddenly realise how irritable we feel, how moody or light-headed or foggy-headed we are.”
Certain foods have the capacity to improve your brain’s performance. “From my perspective, that is really quite encouraging and motivating,” says Christine.
In particular, people who experience low mood or feel up and down can benefit from a better diet. “It all goes back to neurotransmitters that we produce.
“Our brain produces a whole range of chemicals that influence how we think and feel – and a couple of those are very associated with mood and motivation.
“So, serotonin. A lot of people would have probably heard of serotonin, because when you’re given anti-depressants it’s often an SSRI (serotonin reuptake inhibitor).
“The other neurotransmitter is dopamine. A high-dopamine type of person is one that’s very motivated, highly strung and maybe a perfectionist.
“If you don’t produce enough dopamine, it can leave you feeling quite restless or unmotivated. You might find that things don’t excite you as much.”
To produce those neurotransmitters, we need certain proteins and amino acids and certain nutrients.
“Changing what you eat, even tweaking it slightly, can actually influence the production of those mood-boosting neurotransmitters,” she says.