Our brains are powerful organic machines. They control all thought, movement and sensation while calculating and reacting with speed. Our brain stores an immense amount of data as images, text and lots of concepts. Our brains also regulate thousands of complex functions, usually without bothering the conscious us with the exact details, such as with circadian rhythm, hormone balance, breathing, unconscious activity, and blood flow. This means the brain is constantly working, even when we sleep.
This also makes our brain the most energy greedy organ in our bodies, weighing only 2% of our total body weight but consuming more than 20% of our caloric intake. Then half of that energy goes toward the bioelectrical messages our brains send spiraling through the neurons and throughout the body.We know that how we eat can affect our bodies, but what we put in our mouths also affects our mood, the brain’s energy, our memory, and even our ability to handle stress, complex problems, or simple daily tasks.The. brain is a picky eater too, demanding a constant supply of glucose and not much else to keep it running. Neurons don’t store this basic sugar like other cells, so they are always hungry and rather needy. We obtain this fuel from the carbohydrates we eat such as in fruits, vegetables, and grains. The brain may run on sugars, but this doesn’t mean we can eat junk food. Refined sugars, like table sugar or high fructose corn syrup, aren’t safe options since overly high blood glucose levels, or sugar spikes do damage to cells throughout the body, including the brain, and can literally starve our hungry neurons.
Insulin is a hormone that encourages cells to absorb and store glucose. As glucose enters the blood stream from, the pancreas releases just the right amount of insulin to keep blood sugar under control. But, when we consume refined sugars, glucose levels rise too high too fast for the body to control it all in this usual fashion. This damages the liver and kidneys as the body tries desperately to rid itself of the sudden influx of excess glucose, and loose glucose can bind with protein to form very reactive free radicals that do damage everywhere they go. The pancreas also responds by releasing more insulin than normal and cells throughout the body respond by pulling in glucose as fast as possible.
This soon pulls down the dangerous blood sugar levels, but often they fall too low when the body has been forced to react so drastically. This is why so many people experience a crash shortly after the rush that comes with sugar. We flood our system with fuel and it feels good, but then our bodies have to do something with too much fuel and the levels drop well below normal. Since our neurons can’t store glucose like other cells, they starve during this crash. This forces the brain to rob glucose from nearby fluids and then it becomes sluggish as it runs low. Our memory and focus suffer during these low points and the repeated ups and downs continually damage our neurons. So, we should take best care of our brain.