Japan’s food for the brains

By on January 2, 2013
Japan is one of the advanced countries that produces the world’s best and brightest mathematicians and scientists. In a 2011 study by Trends in International Mathematics and Science,  the Japanese elementary grade school children scored 585 points in math, an increase by 17 points from the last survey and a record score of 559 points in science, up by 11 points, far higher than the international average score of 500 points. A close look at what the kids in Japan are eating may be the clue to why that is.  Like a machine that needs greasing, so too does the human brain. One fifth of the oxygen and food in our body are pumped into the brains. Inside it are fats, liquid and loads of neurons made up of cells that receive and transmit information.  Through a process called neurogenesis, new neurons are produced that grow the brain and boost power. So feeding children regularly with proteins, carbohydrates, good fats, micronutrients and lots of water enhance the production of new neurons that help boost intelligence in children as well as adults.

Facts : The oil found in fatty fish is good fat. It contains Omega-3 fatty acids that are not produced by the body. The fat helps in powering the brains up and water storage. New research suggests mothers who consume a lot of fish in their diet have higher levels of mercury which protect children from heart disease. Most importantly, kids whose mothers’ weekly oil fish consumption exceeds 340 grams per week outperform those whose mothers do not.


Facts : Henrique con Gersdorff, a European scientist at the Vollum Institute co-authored a study on retina cells.  The study suggests that the GABA receptors in the brain need high consumption of vitamin C in order to function properly.  A diet poor in vitamin C leads to depression. Japan’s fruits are of high quality and although the price of a perfect fruit found in the market used as gifts may surprise foreigners, it is possible to find reasonably priced ones in most stores.


Facts :  Soybeans are an indispensable part of the traditional Japanese diet. The total consumption of soybean in Japan alone far exceeds its production of 400,000 tons a year. In a Sino-Japanese joint study, it was learned that peptides found in soybeans improves the body’s immune functions, stress condition, and brain circulation.

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