A “picky” Brain: The Relationship Between The Brain And The Stomach

Today we will learn more about a very interesting topic: The relationship between the brain and the stomach. Neuroscientist Raquel Marin guides us through the inner balance of the stomach, which is very important for our health.
A "picky" brain: The relationship between the brain and the stomach

Learning a new language, playing an instrument, socializing, maintaining a curious attitude, exercising… In order to keep your brain in shape, there are many strategies you can follow. In recent years, however, experts have focused on a very special topic: the  relationship between the brain and the stomach.

You have probably heard of the relationship between the condition of the stomach and the brain. Neuroscientists, such as Raquel Marin, have in fact highlighted the communication between these two organs and their relationship with diseases such as Alzheimer’s, fibromyalgia and depression.

In a way, your diet is the foundation of your health and you should pay attention to it. A healthy, versatile and young brain that is ready to change and respond effectively to its surroundings requires a number of very basic nutrients, such as B vitamins and natural antioxidants.

Raquel Marin with book about the relationship between the brain and the stomach

Keep your brain in shape for a better quality of life by understanding the relationship between the brain and the stomach

Is there a specific way to train your brain so you can grow old in the best possible intellectual form? There is actually not just one. There are many ways to do this. Most of them are about paying attention to your daily habits. Expert in the subject, Raquel Marin, shows how the brain and stomach are connected and how to keep your brain in shape.

Dr. Marin, a neuroscientist and professor of physiology at the University of La Laguna, stands out because of her work as an advocate for this topic and especially because of her interesting publications such as her latest book: Pon en forma tu cerebro  (In Danish: Hold din brain in shape). In it, she mentions the key to maintaining an active and healthy brain at an every age.

Just like the poet, Emily Dickinson, said, the  brain is bigger than the sky. This fascinating body, which people often compare to a computer, has many resources, processes and potentials that you probably only know a little about. Only experts can provide the answers and objective information that everyone should use in their daily lives.

If you want to know how to keep your brain in shape, this interview with Dr. Raquel Marin might answer your questions about it.

The relationship between the brain and the stomach

In your book, Pon en forma tu cerebro (In Danish: Keep your brain in shape), you mention that the brain is very picky, why is that? 

People always think about what to eat to keep their muscles, heart or skin healthy, but they often forget that the  brain does not just eat  anything. 

This body is one of the most demanding when it comes to nutrients. This is because it is metabolically hyperactive. It burns lots of calories and nutrients that it cannot produce. Without these it works poorly and sooner or later you will be able to feel it.

What can you say about the communication between the brain and the stomach?

In recent years, some amazing studies have confirmed that the stomach may be the brain’s best ally or its worst enemy.

Degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, autism, fibromyalgia, depression, anxiety, insomnia, multiple sclerosis, short life expectancy and poor physical performance are triggered early due to lack of balance in intestinal bacteria.

How important is water to the brain?

The two basic components of the brain are fat and water. The brain is very sensitive to dehydration. This is why you may drink water and notice intellectual well-being after a few minutes when you have a headache or are dizzy.

People often confuse glucose with sugar. Can you explain the difference between the two?

Glucose  is a simple molecule that is present in almost every unprocessed food you eat every day. Sugar  is a variety of molecules. Some of these are synthesized by humans in order to sweeten, preserve and make food more attractive. These processed sugars can damage your brain and cause inflammation.

What foods and activities are needed to improve intellectual and creative abilities?

The best way to keep your brain in shape is by helping neural communication and blood flow through the brain. You should therefore eat fatty fish, B, C, D and E vitamins, natural antioxidants (in colorful fruits and vegetables), iodide (in shellfish) and fiber (for the sake of the intestines), which can be found in legumes, seeds, cereals, vegetables and fruits.

The Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest diets for the brain in the whole world, precisely because they are rich in these foods.

Which foods are best for preferring sleep quality?

Foods rich in tryptophan,  such as grains, nuts, seeds, lean meats, fish, fruits (banana, kiwi, plums, figs, grapefruit, melon and tomato) and dark chocolate.

This amino acid contributes to the production of melatonin, which is the hormone that induces sleep. It is also good to avoid sitting in front of the computer or doing intellectually demanding activities before going to bed.

Also, try to follow a routine to relax and prepare yourself for sleep. Listen to soothing music, drink chamomile tea, adjust the temperature in the room, perform low-intensity activities, etc.

For example, if you go to the gym at 10pm or you eat meat and fries for dinner with half a bottle of wine, for example, it will most likely be harder for you to fall asleep.

Woman sleeping

Finally, in your book, you dedicate a chapter to finding the balance between a hectic lifestyle and the food you should eat for your brain. What exactly can we do about it?

I recommend a combination of steps. They help you combine the food you eat into your “two brains” (your actual brain and gut microbiota), your exercise routine, and habits that promote your brain activity and emotional balance.

The brain is like a set of muscles. Depending on what you do, you will develop one or the other part of it. The best way to get the most out of your brain and stomach is by knowing both.

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