Getting the Most Out of Your Brain
It may be surprising, but your brain composed mostly of fat. It is actually composed of around 60% fat. On top of that, your brain burns about 20% BMR per day. BMR or Basal Metabolic Rate is the number of calories that your body burns when at rest.
So if you were to burn 1,000 calories per day at rest your brain would make up of about 200 of those calories burned.
There are a few things your brain needs in order to function well:
- Fats – Monounsaturated Fats, Polyunsaturated Fats, Saturated Fats, Omega 3 Fatty Acids
- Proteins – Histidine, Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methionine, Phenylalanine, Threonine, Tryptophan, and Valine.
- Micro Nutrients/Vitamins – Vitamin B, C, and E
I put the proteins most important to brain function in bold, the others listed are essential amino acids. They are called “essential amino acids” because they come only from food, the body does not produce them.
Next lets take a look at where to get these nutrients.
Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats can be found in nuts and many different oils. Olive oil, peanut oil, avacado oil, and sunflower oil all contain unsaturated fats. Most of the time you will see unsaturated fats in liquid form at room temperature.
Omega-3 fatty acids can be found most in fish and other seafood. I have a hard time consuming enough omega-3 and tend to use supplements instead.
Saturated fats can be found in many places including butter, coconut oil, avacados, and red meat. I would highly suggest that if you intend to consume saturated fat from butter you use butter from grass fed cattle. Also, try to balance the amount of red meat you eat with some sort of unsaturated fat or omega-3.
The main reason for this is due to the fact that red meat seems to cause some inflammation while unsaturated fats and omega-3 help to reduce it.
Proteins (Amino Acids)
We will just go over where to get the main 3 bold amino acids above since they contribute the most to brain function.
Leucine can be found many places including eggs, chicken, tuna, and soy.
Lysine can be found in chicken and turkey breast, tuna, and various other seafood.
Tryptophan can be found in elk, turkey, soy, egg whites, and spinach.
Of course, there are many other sources for each of these amino acids, but these are some of the most common. As long as you are eating a diverse diet including animal protein and vegetables you will probably be fine. If you have a diet that excludes animal protein and eggs, you may want to make an extra effort to track how much of these amino acids you are consuming.
Like I said before, the most important micro nutrients for brain function are vitamins B, C, and E. If you want the easiest way to ensure you are consuming these micro nutrients a multivitamin would be the easiest way.
Vitamin B can be found in fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy products.
Vitamin C can be found in citrus fruits, leafy greens, broccoli, berries, and some peppers.
Vitamin E can be found in nuts, avocados, spinach, and olive oil.
What Works Best For Me
I have gotten the best clear thought and focus when eating a diverse diet with few processed foods. Often eating avocados, coconut oil, and butter (from grass fed cattle), multi vitamins, and drinking coffee. Below is what a normal day might look like:
- 6am – Drink instant coffee with chaga and lions mane adding 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. You can find the specific coffee here. Sometimes I have eggs as well.
- 10am-2pm – Depending on when I get hungry I will eat an avocado and take multivitamins. I find the most effective multivitamin for myself to be Animal Pak, which can be found here.
- 4pm – I will have some sort of snack, maybe another avocado, nuts, coffee beans covered in dark chocolate, etc.
- 6pm-8pm – Normally I try to eat a lot of some sort of protein. Turkey burgers, ground pork, shaved steak, chicken, etc.
That’s about it, then the next day I start it all over again. If I am working out I might include more during the 10am-2pm window because I will be much more hungry. However, working a desk job I do not really need much more on days that I do not exercise. Following the above diet has kept my mind less foggy and allowed me to focus and think more clearly throughout the day. I am pretty heavy on saturated fat most of the time, but I monitor my health accordingly.
Feel free to share anything that you like to do in order to get the most out of your brain!
Now that you know how to fuel your brain, learn how to trick it into getting more done here!