Why you want to know about and keep your hypothalamus healthy
Where is it?
The hypothalamus is a region of brain anatomy located deep within the brain, just above the base of the skull, on each side of the third ventricle.
The main function of the hypothalamus is to regulate homeostasis (maintaining the body’s status quo). The hypothalamus contains many specialized nuclei (collections or nodules of specialized brain cells), that help maintain many basic physiological functions, such as body temperature, blood pressure, fluid and electrolyte balance, and the regulation of digestion.
It’s a full body regulator.
The hypothalamus also helps regulate complex behaviors controls your hormones. This brain area is responsible for regulates
- sex drive and general arousal
- reproductive behaviors
- body temperature
- release of hormones
It plays a role in emotional reactions, including
In other words, the hypothalamus takes care of the many necessary brain functions that occur without us having to think about or plan them.
Why you need to feed it right.
Since this part of your brain is so important, it makes sense to nurture it by eating the right foods. Certain foods support the health of your hypothalamus, which in turn helps keep your entire body healthy.
4 FOODS AND FOOD GROUPS TO KEEP YOUR HYPOTHALAMUS HAPPY
1. Foods that contain Vitamin B1/Thiamine
Sunflower seeds: A handful of sunflower seeds as part of your daily diet may boost the function of your entire brain, including your hypothalamus. Sunflower seeds contain vitamin B1, or thiamine, which is crucial for the maintenance of your appetite, as well as the function of your nervous system, Beverly A. Potter and Sebastian Orfali note in their book, “Brain Boosters: Food and Drugs That Make You Smarter.”
Vitamin B-1 also contributes to cell repair, which may keep your hypothalamus as strong and healthy as possible. Other foods that contain vitamin B-1 include pork, bran, whole grains, split peas and lima beans.
2. Fruits and Vegetables: Tons of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants
Increasing your daily plate of fruits and veggies may also stimulate your hypothalamus to help you control your weight and hunger.
3. Fish: Vitamin B-12
Fish contain vitamin B-12, which is crucial for mood and regulation of fatigue and energy, functions which are controlled by your hypothalamus. Vitamin B-12 also helps your body make use of the energy from the food you eat.
Nutrition, a journal that focuses on all areas of diet, notes that fish may also help decrease depression. Your mood is largely regulated by the hypothalamus and its ability to properly regulate your hormones and the oil in fatty fish, such as salmon or trout, can aid in this process by increasing your intake of docosahexaenoic acid.
4. Citrus Fruits: Vitamin C
Citrus fruits are most commonly associated with their high vitamin C content, and they may have benefits for your hypothalamus, as well as the rest of your brain. Vitamin C plays in role in brain functions including sleep regulation, immunity promotion and anxiety reduction, processes that the hypothalamus takes part in. Eating foods rich in vitamin C, such as oranges, lemons, grapefruits and limes, can help protect your hypothalamus by protecting it from toxins. Other foods that contain vitamin C include red bell peppers, potatoes, strawberries and cantaloupe.
National Institutes of Health; Hypothalamus; October 2009
“Brain Boosters: Foods and Drugs That Make You Smarter”; Beverly A. Potter and Sebastian Orfali; 1993
“Nutrition, Exercise, and Behavior: An Integrated Approach to Weight Management”; Liane M. Summerfield; 2011
“Nutrition”; Higher Dietary Intake of Long-Chain Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids is Inversely Associated with Depressive Symptoms in Women; L.A. Colangelo et al; October 2009