Welcome to the 10-day Food for Thought series. I am writing this series for the Illinois Region of Phi Theta Kappa to promote healthy, focused, smart brains. Post #8 is about what kind of protein you should eat, and why you need protein for brain function.
You need Protein to make Neurotransmitters.
Remember how I talked about the neurotransmitter GABA and how important it is to calming your mind?
Also, remember how I said eggs are a brain food because they are rich in choline, an essential component of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine?
Neurotransmitters make all your brain functions work smoothly when they’re made correctly in the right amounts. To make neurotransmitters, you need amino acids. Amino acids come from the protein you eat. Some research, like T. Colin Campbell’s China Study, say there are risks from eating too much animal protein. We are all individuals and some of us thrive and feel our best with a different diet than someone else. Some feel fantastic as vegans and some of us feel terrific eating a bit more meat.
Choose a high-quality protein source at each meal. Here are the best sources:
Beans & Legumes
baby lima beans
french green beans
great northern beans
green and yellow peas
lentils (try this delicious lentil shepherd’s pie!)
peanut (it’s actually not a nut)
red kidney beans
sugar snap peas
white kidney beans
Organic, Omega-3 whole eggs
Mercury-free (or low-toxin) Fish
Wild Alaskan salmon
sablefish (black cod)
Organic, grass-fed, hormone-free, antibiotic-free, pesticide-free poultry
Lean, Organic, grass-fed, hormone-free, antibiotic-free beef
(about 4-6 ounces per serving, 1-2 times per week)
*When selecting protein, avoid eating large amounts of meat.
Think about the sources of protein in your diet. Is there something you could eat less of, so that you can make room for another source? Can you add beans and nuts to your salad? Can you buy Organic chicken rather than conventional chicken?
What step will you take this week to get higher quality protein?