Feed your brain some carbs

hasselbackpotatoes1What the heck, don’t limit it to your brain, include your muscles and liver, too.  And don’t forget to include your entire family in the action. That’s because carbohydrates play a crucial role in our diet and health and it’s critical to understand why.

Carbs, along with fat, are your body’s primary source of energy.  They fuel muscles, tissues, and organs including your brain; and by the way, your brain is the only organ in your body that is solely dependent on carbohydrates. Thomas Edison said it best, “The chief function of the body is to carry the brain around.” If that’s the case, then you’re going to need to carry some carbohydrates around.

So, here’s some fuel about brain-fuel. Carbohydrates are macronutrients, which the body requires, in large amounts for caloric energy.  For any aspiring chemists in the family, carbs are made from the chemical unit CH2O, so it’s basically water with a carbon atom attached. For any aspiring biologists, the most important types of carbohydrates are monosaccharides, disaccharides, and polysaccharides. Monosaccharides and disaccharides are also known as simple sugars, or simple carbohydrates, and polysaccharides are also known as complex carbohydrates.

The complex carbs, of which our friend the Wisconsin potato is a part, are converted to glucose and stored in your liver and muscles until your body signals the need for more energy. That’s why many of the most accomplished Ultra Marathoners who run in excess of 100 miles at a time, eat boiled potatoes along the race route.

And where does that glucose go? The glucose units are absorbed into your bloodstream and your brain gets first dibs on it because glucose is the only nutrient that the brain is capable of metabolizing for energy. If your brain has sufficient glucose to satisfy its needs, the other tissues of your body will then receive glucose to satisfy their energy requirements.

As you can see, it’s really important to have carbohydrates be a part of your family’s diet.  Carbs are truly the fuel that fuels brain power. And speaking of boiled potatoes, try this recipe for Salad Nicoise with boiled potatoes: http://eatwisconsinpotatoes.com/rbook/recipe/view/2628

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