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It’s Good Housekeeping’s 17th anniversary, and mommies, it’s your month, too! Enjoy meaty reads on everything relevant to you—from deliciously simple cake recipes to stories of compassion during Pope Francis’s visit.
Your brain is a very important part of your body. In fact, you might say that it is the most important part of your body. It’s the control center of every little activity that happens inside you, down to the microscopic level, and it's also the repository of everything you’ve ever touched, tasted, smelled, heard, or seen. It contains all the words you’ve ever learned, all the thoughts you’ve ever thought, all the feelings you’ve ever felt. It knows everything you know, whether it’s "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" on the piano or the sequence of numbers that you dial on your mobile phone in order to say "I love you" to someone else. Yup, the brain is a pretty awesome piece of machinery.
And this three-pound blob of gray matter that consumes at least 20 percent of your daily calorie intake is always hungry. It needs quite a lot of power to go through even just one normal day. After all, your brain is at least 60 percent fat, and it needs all that fuel to power through your everyday activities. How does it do that?
Basically, the brain needs energy to keep going, and its main source of energy is glucose (commonly known as sugar), which is synthesized from carbohydrates . But not all glucose-carrying food is the same. Figuring out the best brain food—that is, food that is high in glucose but releases this energy in measured doses that don't inhibit regular brain functions—for your body is not an easy task.
The glycemic index or GI is a list that ranks food according to its glycemic levels, or how it affects the sugar in your blood stream. Eating food that ranks high in the GI will give you a quicker boost of energy, but will also make you crash quicker and feel hungrier much sooner. Food that ranks low in the GI releases glucose slower in your system, which steadily feeds your brain enough energy to sustain day-to-day functions without crashing.
So here’s a list of 20 brain foods you can munch on throughout your day to give your very own central computer system the boost it needs to operate at optimum levels, without any pesky sugar crashes.
(Photo by Jerry Bunkers via Flickr Creative Commons)