Written by:
Sibtain Mustafa

Life keeps all of us busy, we get stuck in ‘by-default’ pattern and neglect some basics of being human. Few don’t bother what they eat, it’s just a matter of hunger which pushes them to eat. Some who focus on diet that’s because they want to become physically smart and attractive. And most of us, eat to take pleasure or to enjoy different tastes that bring us instant “yummy” feeling. So point to ponder here is, do we really allow our brain to eat healthy? Do we attend to dietary needs of our brain?

Sibtain Mustafa serves as Clinical Psychologist at Willing ways Lahore. He has done Master’s in Clinical Psychology, from University of Karachi, Karachi. He has served as an internee at Anti Narcotics Force-ANF Rehabilitation Center, Karachi. During his internship he developed understanding of basic concepts in addiction. Furthermore he has worked as a trainee psychologist in Alleviate Addiction Suffering (AAS) Trust, Karachi.

Editor: Haroon Christy

Unfortunately, eating healthy seems like a most challenging thing to do, with all those TV commercials and facilities. You just need to make a call and you can get all unhealthy options at your door step. Do you ever wonder why we order pizza or fried chicken in the middle of the nights? Any person would know that it’s not healthy, then why we do it?

Well, there is a scientific mechanism behind unhealthy eating. In order to survive, animal part of brain produces certain automatic responses like thirst and hunger. But wouldn’t it be boring to just eat without taste and reward? So these are some additional factors. One that we taste and it makes us recognize the food that we can eat and enjoy. Secondly, reward system in our brain produces the feeling of pleasure by releasing a certain chemical “dopamine”.  This chemical rewards our behavior of eating and make sure we survive. But dopamine is highly addictive. It gets tricky when we eat more and get more dopamine. Eventually people develop unhealthy eating habits which results in obesity and many other serious problems.

Considering recent researches, humans are chemical beings so we need to take care of our chemicals. You can start by learning the process of our reward system and using it for your benefit by limiting the release of dopamine. Furthermore, identifying specific food and its effect on our brain can help. Following food choices can make you more intelligent and smarter,

Eat Mediterranean diet

A new research has suggested that Mediterranean diet can reduce the risk of memory loss in the process of aging. It can also improve cognitive performance that means higher mental process performed by prefrontal lobe. This type of diet includes vegetables, fruits, fishes, potatoes, beans, whole grains, nuts, olive oil and rarely meat. Mediterranean diet does not include any processed food such as fried chicken, snacks, fast food, whole-fat dairy and poultry products.

Eat Meat too

A study has concluded that a vegetarian or vegan person can perform poor on the level of memory. On the other hand, people who eat meat perform better on memory tasks. “Creatine” is a naturally occurring chemical in meat. This chemical is not present on vegetables and vegetarians have low level of creatine. Moreover, further researchers also found this chemical to be effective for cognition and mood management.