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TED Ed: How the food you eat affects your brain
- A diet with a range of foods helps maintain a balanced combination of brain messengers, and keeps your mood from getting skewed in one direction or the other.
- Like the other organs in our bodies, our brains also benefit from a steady supply of micronutrients. Antioxidants in fruits and vegetables strengthen the brain to fight off free radicals that destroy brain cells, enabling your brain to work well for a longer period of time. And without powerful micronutrients, like the vitamins B6, B12, and folic acid*, our brains would be susceptible to brain disease and mental decline. (* Research seems to suggest that one should eat folate as opposed to folic acid. Folic acid is synthetic folate. Good sources of folate include legumes, asparagus, leafy greens, and citrus.)
- While the human brain only makes up about 2% of our body weight, it uses up to 20% of our energy resources.
- A high glycemic food, like white bread, causes a rapid release of glucose into the blood, and then comes the dip. Blood sugar shoots down, and with it, our attention span and mood. On the other hand, oats, grains, and legumes have slower glucose release, enabling a steadier level of attentiveness.
Naval Ravikant on Meditation
I recently switched my meditation technique based on the recommendations in this video. The results have been profound. During sessions, I often feel as though energy is flowing through the area in my chest surrounding my heart. Additionally, a chronic back pain, that was very present at the beginning of the practice, has almost entirely disappeared. This pain alleviation has strengthened my belief that much of the the physical discomfort we experience is actually caused by unresolved psychological material.
As Ravikant describes in this video, practicing this form of meditation seems to allow such material to rise to the surface of one’s mind, and be released.
Note: Naval Ravikant is one of the most successful silicon valley founders/investors of all time.
Excerpts (Modified slightly):
- “Every person who you talk to who meditates will give you a different definition, different ideas on what it’s good for, different how you ideas on how you should do it…”
- “The method that I learned is was basically that you just sit there and you close your eyes for at least one hour per day, you surrender to whatever happens. You don’t make any effort whatsoever.” (No effort to focus on your breath or a mantra)
- “When you’re just sitting there, these things (unresolved issues from your past) will start bubbling up. It’s like a giant inbox of unanswered emails… You will be forced to deal with them. You will be forced to resolve them. Resolving them doesn’t take any work. You just observe them.”
- “Psychedelics are a bit of a cheat code for this, but I don’t recommend drugs for anybody because I think you can do it all through pure meditation.”
- When I started doing this, the sessions themselves were so unpleasant that I literally had to sit around for a few hours (after the hour of meditation was up) to recover. The mind can take you to some very unpleasant places when it’s unoccupied. But as Joseph Campbell said: The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.
- As weird as it sounds, I truly believe that sitting and doing nothing for an hour every day, preferably first thing in the morning, is one of the most beneficial things you can do for yourself.
Excerpts from my journal
“It’s amazing how much dissonance can be created when someone you deeply trust and respect says something that goes against your strongest views or beliefs.”
“I’m increasingly coming to realize that I often display the behaviors and attitudes I criticize when I see them displayed by others. It’s a hard thing to accept, but it’s true. So often, my criticism is hypocritical.”
“You might be feeling bad, despite doing a bunch of things right, if you’re missing on key variable, like an important micronutrient (low levels of which might be associated with depression) or enough social connections. Among other things, this means that the solution to your emotional problems might actually be much simpler than you think”
“You can learn from the losses. But you can learn from the victories as well. In all honestly, I’m not so sure about the commonly held notion that failure is a better teacher than victory. The belief that you can win, that you can succeed, is a pretty fantastic belief to have. And victory is the teacher that instills this belief within you.”
Poem of the Week
“Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
Just keep going.
No feeling is final.”
– Rainer Maria Rilke
Photo of the Week