For scientists our brain still remains a mystery organ. New research is constantly adding to our knowledge of how this fascinating organ works and what it needs to function at an optimal level.
In this article I will share with you some fascinating brain facts that will help you understand this valuable organ better and will help you see how your brain is very sensitive to the foods you eat.
Key Brain Facts
1. The typical brain is about 2% of the body’s weight but uses 20% of its total energy and oxygen intake.
2. The brain is 73% water. Only 2% dehydration can affect attention, memory and other mental skills.
3. Your brain weighs about 1.36 kg (3 pounds).
4. The dry weight of your brain is 60%, making it the fattest organ of the body. Healthy fats like extra-virgin olive oil, olives, avocados and unsalted nuts are vital for your brain to function at its best and for preventing dementia and Alzheimer’s.
5. 25% of the body’s cholesterol is found in the brain. Cholesterol is an essential part of every brain cell. Without adequate cholesterol, brain cells die.
6. 20% of the brain’s dry weight is in fact, cholesterol. Cholesterol helps neurons transmit messages in the brain. In essence, it acts as a facilitator for the brain to communicate and function properly. Cholesterol in the brain stimulates thinking and memory.
Weight and Brain Health Link
7. Research has shown that having a Body Mass Index (BMI) above 30, which classifies weight in the category of obesity, is associated with inflammation and metabolic changes, like insulin resistance, that increase the risk for Alzheimer’s disease.
8. Research has showed that the bigger a person’s belly is (waist-to-hip-ratio), the smaller the brain’s memory center, the hippocampus, leading to memory loss and an increased risk of dementia.
9. In people who have celiac disease and in the great many more who do not have celiac disease but are intolerant to gluten, this sticky, wheat protein has been found to cause inflammation which leads to depression, headaches, chronic fatigue, and even bipolar disorders.
10. Alcohol does not kill brain cells, it “damages” the connective tissue at the end of neurons.
11. High sugar diets cause increase inflammation throughout the body, leading to damaging effects for the brain which actually accelerate the aging of the brain.
12. Frequent exercise protects your brain from shrinkage and also minimizes the risk of becoming overweight or diabetic, which are both major risk factors for brain disease.
Take Home Message
- Your brain health is greatly affected by your lifestyle.
- Make healthy fats a daily addition to your diet.
- Aim to reach or stay at a healthy weight.
- If you have celiac disease or are gluten intolerant follow a gluten free diet very carefully.
- Keep alcohol intake at safe limits.
- 50 amazing human brain facts (based on the latest science), Be Brain Fit, accessed at: https://bebrainfit.com/human-brain-facts/
- Your back up brain, Psychology Today, accessed at: https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/201111/your-backup-brain
- Grain Brain by Dr.David Perlmutter, ISBN 978 1 444 79190 7
- A Daulatzai, Mak. “Non-celiac gluten sensitivity triggers gut dysbiosis, neuroinflammation, gut-brain axis dysfunction, and vulnerability for dementia.” CNS & Neurological Disorders-Drug Targets (Formerly Current Drug Targets-CNS & Neurological Disorders) 14, no. 1 (2015): 110-131.
- de Magistris, Laura, Dario Siniscalco, Carmela Bravaccio, and Carmelina Loguercio. “Gut–Brain Axis: A New Revolution to Understand the Pathogenesis of Autism and Other Severe Neurological Diseases.” In Human Nutrition from the Gastroenterologist’s perspective, pp. 49-65. Springer International Publishing, 2016.
- Jensen, G. Badsberg, and Bente Pakkenberg. “Do alcoholics drink their neurons away?.” The Lancet 342, no. 8881 (1993): 1201-1204.