Fascinating piece about foods as drugs in your brain


I love reading about nutrition and how it affects the brain (especially on kids). Beyond the usual "salmon is good" and "food dye is bad," info, this piece delves into the concept that foods also work like drugs.

Here are some of the major points I found interesting:

1. Researchers think the reason the Aztecs performed human sacrifice and cannibalism is because their diet was mainly based on corn (maize), which lacks tryptophan. Tryptophan is vital for the human brain to create serotonin, which makes you feel good. In fact, in 2007 a study found that even today, countries that eat less food with tryptophan have higher suicide rates.

2. Indians (the subcontinent) develop less Alzheimer's because they eat a lot of curry. Curry is an antioxidant, which keeps the brain from aging.

3. Potatoes, bagels and rice calm people down because they release glucose into your bloodstream.

4. In large quantities, fava beans produce dopamine and enhance your mood.

5. Things that make your brain work better (at least briefly) - like sugar - aren't necessarily good for you. Sugar can help you pay attention and learn new things, but once it's out of your system you'll crave more. The brain is "particularly ravenous for it in the morning."