Nutrition, Neurons, and the Brain: Your Brain on Food Book Review

Your Brain on Food, How Chemicals Control Your Thoughts And Feelings
by Gary L. Wenk
Oxford University Press, 2010, 2015, $24,95, ISBN 978 0 19 939327 5
Reviewed by Susanne van Doorn

 

nutrition
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how Nutrition can be addictive

Gary Wenk PhD, Professor of Psychology & Neuroscience & Molecular Virology, Immunology and Medical Genetics at the Ohio State University and Medical Center, has written a book that we all need to read. Because we are all addicted.

Some are addicted to love, but all of us are addicted to food. It is such a shame that there are not classes in schools, teaching our children about how the brain reacts to food.

Now this addiction is a necessity, because if we don’t eat, we are going to die. But Gary Wenk shows you how this addiction works. And he tells how drugs work.
“This book explores not only several drugs but also a range of foods with these effects”. There is not such a big difference between drugs and food…

Nutrition that is good for us

I know what you are thinking right now. “What food do I need to eat? Just tell me and I will go out and buy it. I will even eat it. Each day. Promise.”

But you know well enough as I do, that there is no miracle food. Gary refutes our believes about Ginkgo biloba as anti-aging miracle, reduces our believe in omega 3, unless you are depressed. He says what our mothers have always thought us: eat a lot of different foods, in a variety of colours. There is no need to take supplements, except for calcium if you are a woman of a certain age.

nutrition

Fruit gets a thumbs up, because of the antioxidants. Oxygen is our biggest enemy, but we are not able to life without it. So eating lots of fruits is very good for the brain.

Nutrition and Fat

We all know that food in restaurants usefully tastes so much better than food at home. That is because of the magical ingredient of fat. Nutrition that contains fat is immediately rewarding. Do you know we have a fat gene?
“A recent study demonstrated that humans, and other animals, exhibit a protein on their tongue that can sense the presence of fat” (p. 43).

nutrition

And did you know there is a parasite that eats your fat away? The T. Gondii… Before you start ordering this parasite, you have to know that ingesting any parasite is not without danger.

Conclusion: to buy or not to buy?

Pros:

  • You owe it to yourself to educate yourself about food. This is a very informative book.
  • The book covers the most important neurotransmitters: dopamine, histamine, acetylcholine and serotonin for example.
  • You will find out that drinking coffee isn’t as bad as you always thought.
  • You will find out that the only way to lose weight is to start eating less.
  • You will find out that eating less is the best thing you can do for your brain.
  • You are going to know so much more about Alzheimer and Parkinson, that it is a must buy for anyone who has a person with that disease in their midst.

Cons:

  • The publisher wanted to make this a popular science book so there are no models of neural pathways in it. This is what I mean:
    tryptophan -> 5-hydroxytryptophan -> serotonin. It is all explained in texts, of course. Gary knows his stuff, no question about it. But I missed these simple models and I experienced a craving for such a model with a list of food that would benefit a person who would want to increase these substances.
  • Gary is a Professor. He has a scientific way of writing. The book is readable, but not really easy. You have to pay attention, scrabble your own models down and make your own conclusions. As a matter of fact, this could just as well be a pro, but if you are looking for an easy book, this isn’t it. You have to put your brain to work reading it.
  • Being a dream expert I was disappointed to read a chapter about “Sleeping versus Waking” that is mostly about staying or being awake.

Mindfunda verdict:
 8/10

Here is an link to buy on Amazon if you enjoyed this review, and like to support our work. We appreciate your help!


THIS CONTENT IS CREATED BY SUSANNE VAN DOORN, AUTHOR AND OWNER OF MINDFUNDA; MAKING THE FUNDAMENTALS OF PSYCHOLOGY, MYTHOLOGY AND SPIRITUALITY EASY TO USE IN YOUR PERSONAL LIFE!

What is Mindfunda about?

My name is Susanne van Doorn, I am a Dutch psychologist, blogger and author. I have been working with psychology, dreams and mythology ever since I finished my study in psychology at Tilburg University. I made this independant site to share insights, and recent scientific articles about the brain, dreams, and mythology for use in your personal life.

This posting is categorised as Brainfunda:
articles and relevant information about the brain about how you can use this in your everyday life. Neurology, the brain all the fascinating things we find out in current research.

Read more about Mindfunda here, or visit our Courses Page.


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10 remarkable things about the human brain

Unexpected Fact #1:
There are no right-brained versus left brained people!
Unexpected Fact #2:
Awareness can not be traced back to a specific point in the brain!

I found out about these -and at least 10 more- remarkable facts by reading ‘The Human Brain Book’ By Rita Carter, a highly recommended read if you are interested in all aspects the human brain.

The Human Brain - Rita Carter ( on Amazon)
The Human Brain Rita Carter

 

10 remarkable things about the human brain:

 

  • Did you know that no human brain is the same? Human brains are built according to the construction plan of the genes, but each set of genes is unique.

 

  • The corpus callosum, the part that unites the two human brain halfs is bigger in women. This might be the cause of the ability of most women to be more emotionally aware.

 

  • Dyslexia is more common with left-handed people.

 

  • Einsteins’ brain missed a groove in the parietal lobe. The area underneath is involved in mathematical thinking. This could be the reason why Einstein had this capacity for capturing the universe in mathematical equations.

 

  • The basic structure of the human brain is finished when a child is three years old. Some parts, like the prefrontal cortex are still offline.

 

  • The prefrontal cortex is fully developed when your 30 years old. The emotional brain is fully developed now. The prefrontal cortex is activated by emotions and leads to more thoughtful perceptions.

 

  • Gamma-aminoacid (GABA), produced by the hypothalamus decreases wakefulness,
    and helps you fall asleep.

 

  • There is a circuit in the small brain that measures time. This circuit transmits the data to the motor cortex so muscles can move.

 

  • That is why, when you want to fall asleep, you should walk when it is dark. The darkness increases the fabrication of melatonin.

 

  • To cure phantom pain, people with dissected limbs like arms or legs, look into a mirror that projects those limbs moving. this illusion can alleviate phantom pain.

 

Mindfunda Verdict:

‘The Human Brain Book’ by Rita Carter is an easy to read book, filled with remarkable facts about the human brain and it will give you so much information about our most important organ.
(yes my dear male readers, the human brain is the most important organ of our body).

 

If you want to flaunt your most sexy organ, feel free to order this great shirt to support Mindfunda anD all our good work:
"My brain is the most beautiful part of my body" - Shakira quote about the human brain
My brain is the most beautiful part of my body” – Shakira quote about the human brain.

 

Brain waves can move objects

There has been much debate about brain waves and telepathy. Science was not in favor of the idea, disposing of the subject as being “Accidental”. Almost all of us remember the laboratory experiences of people like Robert van de Castle, Stanley Krippner and Montague Ullman in the ’70s. There was a lot of debate about the accuracy and the repeatability of the experiments.

Brain waves can move objects

More and more science seems to meet magic. We all loved the fact that science helped a paralised lady to drink. The latest inventions use brain waves to make objects fly. The Puzzlebox Orbit, a former Kickstarter project has gone viral, and raised 74,799$.

 

Joshua Marcias has a background in electrical and biomedical Engineering. His business partner Steve Castelotti from Puzzlebox is a computer scientist. It is about time science and magic meet. Take a look how using brain waves makes the helicopter fly. Concentration is needed to create the brain waves that keep the helicopter floating. Puzzlebox is marketed as a tool to learn people to focus, meditate and concentrate. The more one uses these abilities, the more the brain gets familiar with it. Even though this is not a proven fact, it is a very cool gadget to play with.

The Puzzlebox orbit helps you to concentrate and clear your mind. If you are focused, your mind produces a specific type of brainwaves. These brain waves are picked up by a control set.

puzzlebox-orbit-mobile_edition using brain waves
On the right side of the picture is the headset that captures your brain waves

 

If brain waves are able to set a material object, a drone, in motion it make you wonder what else brain waves are capable of.  Sending out waves to another mind? Your brain is used to the brain waves of your spouse (that is why a lot of people are not able to fall asleep when their loved one is not around). Connecting with other people, or even worlds like the ancient people thought? Would it be able to create a fascilitation device that enables you to connect with another brain?

Anyway, this is a very cool gadget, I would love to have one!
Do you like this post? Feel free to like and share.

Valentines day Mindfunda Thought: your brain is in love on Valentine’s Day

Valentines Day Mindfunda Thought:  You’re in love, that means your brain is in love.

What does love in the brain look like? Let’s explore:  Valentines day, your brain in love. On February 14th, Valentine’s day,  a lot of couples will celebrate their commitment, children will write a card full of compliments for their parents and you might just want to send a nice card to that one good single girlfriend just to let her know she is appreciated.
But what is that love-thing? Neurological? How does Valentines day look inside your brain?

During al the decades of research, love still remains a mystery. It is an ancient, complex intertwining of the neurological system, the hormones, and the mind. You do not fall in love with everyone you see. Most of the time, there is only one person that makes your heart beat faster.

In the brain in MRI scans there is an increased activity in the Ventral Tegmental Area (VTA) of the brain. The award system runs overtime, dopamine crushes your brain: you are addicted.

A psychologist called Arthur Aron, professor psychology at the State University of New York at Stony Brook has experimented with ways to fall in love. He wrote a book about it: Love and the expansion of Self. Here is how you do it:

  • find a complete stranger.
  • talk to that person for at least half an hour about intimate details of each others lives: what are your goals, what do you love most, what would constitute a perfect day for you, tell your life story and ask the other person to do the same .
  • the last four minutes, without talking, stare into each others’ eyes.
Love and the expansion of Self, Arthur Aron, Elaine Aron
Love and the expansion of Self, Arthur Aron, Elaine Aron

Well if that doesn’t woo your stranger, don’t worry. In recent years Dr. Helen Fisher did research about why we fall in love with certain people and not with others. According to her insights there are three motivators for love. The Sex drive, driven by testosterone. Romantic Attraction driven by dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin and Attraction driven by oxytocin and vasopressin. The activity in the nucleus accumbent suggests that love is highly addictive. We crave, we become obsessed, we become anxious when we fall in love.

But why do we fall in love with a certain person rather then with any person walking around, being single and available? Here is where the brilliance of Helen Fisher comes in. She discovered 4 types of people. 

  • Curious energetic types driven by dopamine. The people who like to travel and discover new things. Optimistic, unreflective, sensation seekers. Those people like people who are like them.
  • Cautious/norm compliant people driven by serotonin. These are the people who can organize, who are structured and rule driven. Those people like people who are like themselves.
  • Analytical/tough minded people driven by testosterone. Decisive, bold and direct, they like to get to the point. Those people like the Prosocial/empathic people.
  • Prosocial/Empathic people driven by estrogen and oxytocin. They see the big picture, linguistically skilled, trusting, seek harmony, diplomatic. These people are drown to the Analytical/tough minded people.
Why him? Why her? Helen Fisher Ph.D

Most of all just enjoy Valentines day. Treat yourself to something nice, a sunset, a good lunch, laughing with friends, a good book about the brain and most of all the company of the people you love.
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Who am I? Know Thyself

Know thyself

Mindfunda: the site to help you with funding your consciousness. From the root ‘fundamental’, the underlying principle in something usually complex, Mindfunda wants to help unravel the underlying principle in the most challenging mystery in this world. The most essential question that can take a lifetime to answer: Who am I? Know thyself, in Greek: γνῶθι σεαυτόν on the temples of Apollo in Delphi, Temet nosce in the movie The Matrix.

Know thyself using scientific research

We collect articles and information from a psychological, spiritual and mythological viewpoint. Science, books, films, personal experience, and dreams can help with your current life issues, to help you answer life’s most important question: who am I? The ancient wisdom “Know thyself” is taken into the modern age using scientific research, neurology but also mythology used in films, television series and plays.

Know thyself through the latest psychological insights


Mindfunda gives you the basic, fundamental knowledge in psychology. Know thyself begins at a personal level. This knowledge can be found in the department called “Brainfunda” on this site.
Know thyself also implies acknowledging your spiritual side. This fundamental knowledge on spirituality can be found on the “Spirifunda” area of the site. Do not be scared away by the spiritual layer of this site. Everyone has a brain wired for spirituality, and living in accordance with your brain increases happiness.

Know thyself using mythology

In the Western culture mythology seems to be forgotten. Could that be the reason we feel so unhappy sometimes? Let’s find our mythology. Our Personal Mythology, looking at our own lives, our own ancestors, our dreams, using the information on this site can give you the “Aha Erlebnis” that gives you the inner flow you are craving.

Know thyself using Mindfunda’s gifts

Mindfunda has a mutual dream e-book for you to download. usually we think dreaming is all about the dreamer. Mindfunda shows that you can be able to connect with somebody while you are dreaming. This book tells you about an experiment where two people meet in dreams and exchange a gift. The book explores the methods used by the couples that succeeded, making it easier for you to “mutual dream”.

Another gift Mindfunda has for you are interviews with writers of books that really give you a different perspective on live. For example: Stanley Krippner, professor of psychology about his view on mythology, Anne Baring who talks about how the universe is communicating with us, award-winning author Jean Raffa about the key to be happy and many more. Sign up for the YouTube channel here.

Feel free to leave a comment or suggestion!

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