Blood Thirsty Brains

Dear Living Well Daily Reader,

What do your brain and Dracula have in common?

Well, if you’re lucky, an endless thirst for fresh blood.

You see, Australian and South African scientists uncovered some groundbreaking discoveries about the human brain, and one of them was pretty shocking…

Your brain wants to drink your blood. Well, not exactly drink it…

--More Blood, More Brains

The new study, which is a collaboration between the University of Adelaide and the University of the Witwatersrand, found that human intelligence isn’t linked to just the size of the brain, but also to the supply of blood to the brain.

By calculating the increase of blood flow to the brains of our human ancestors, researchers discovered that the human brain not only became larger as it evolved, but also became more of a “bloodthirsty” energy drainer than previously thought.

Lead researcher for the project Professor Roger Seymour of the University of Adelaide explained the findings:

“Brain size has increased about 350% over human evolution, but we found that blood flow to the brain increased an amazing 600%. We believe this is possibly related to the brain’s need to satisfy increasingly energetic connections between nerve cells that allowed the evolution of complex thinking and learning.”

While modern humans have the highest-functioning brains ever, it would make sense that increasing blood flow would help them work at top capacity. As Dr. Seymour put it, “To allow our brain to be so intelligent, it must be constantly fed oxygen and nutrients from the blood.”

In other words, a “bloodthirsty” brain is one that’s working.

There a few easy ways to increase blood flow to the brain:

  1. Exercise: This doesn’t mean you have to start training for a marathon. Adding just a few extra steps to your routine could be enough to get blood flowing to your noggin.
  1. Eat chocolate: Research shows that special compounds in cocoa, called flavonoids, can help increase blood flow to the brain. When selecting a chocolate for brainpower, look for one with a cocoa content of at least 70% to get the greatest brain health benefits.
  1. Consume More Superfoods: Certain foods like nuts, berries, seeds and avocados have high nutritional values and are often referred to as superfoods. Because of their high nutrient density, research suggests they may help you maintain a healthy brain into old age. Drink powders made with superfood blends are also available. They offer all the powerful nutrients of many superfoods, and some even include brain-boosting supplements

So go take a walk, treat yourself to a chocolate bar, eat some superfoods and enjoy your weekend!

Live well,

Natalie Moore
Managing editor, Living Well Daily


Sources

[1] Bloodthirsty brains

[2] Flavanols in cocoa may offer benefits to the brain

[3] Eat Smart for a Healthier Brain

Natalie Moore

Written By Natalie Moore

Natalie Moore is a dedicated health researcher with a passion for finding healthy, natural, and science-based solutions. After a decade of direct healthcare experience in western and natural medicine, she was involved in public health research before joining Living Well Daily.

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