Tomatoes are undoubtedly one of those beautiful foods we look forward to planting in our gardens and using in virtually any dish. They are a great source for vitamin C, vitamin B’s, and phytonutrients. However, some individuals may be particularly sensitive to certain properties found in tomatoes. These are called excitotoxins and can cause neurotransmitters to malfunction leading to the death of specific neurons within the brain.
Glutamate is one of the more commonly known excitotoxins. MSG is the sodium salt of glutamate. And while glutamate is a normal neurotransmitter, it is meant to exist in very small concentrations. When levels rise above normal neurons begin to fire abnormally and undergo cellular death, or excitotoxicity, meaning they are excited to death.
Other natural foods that have been shown to raise glutamate levels are certain mushrooms, soy, cheese and red meat. People with Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, seizure disorders, mental disorders, or learning disorders should particularly avoid these natural foods and of course anything that includes the produced form of MSG. I will also add to this list anyone with bloodline family members who suffer from the above mentioned illnesses or disorders, you too may want to avoid foods with higher levels of glutamate.
Some people may get huffy with this post, I've had it happen before, so I will reiterate that the potentially negative effects associated with tomatoes or other excitotoxic foods may not apply to everyone. This information is more specifically directed to individuals with digestive and/or neurological ailments.
Several studies have revealed that there is a strong connection between the type of bacteria that is in our gut, our brain chemistry and behaviors associated with that bacteria. Some scientists believe that the bacteria found in our digestive system may help to mold our brain structure and possibly influence our moods, behavior, and feelings.
In one study on mice changes in brain chemistry and behavior were reported when scientists replaced gut bacterial of anxious mice with bacteria from fearless mice. These mice became less anxious and more outgoing. The opposite became true when bold mice received microbes of anxious mice. This study revealed the strong connection between what goes on in the intestine and how our brain responds to such (Stein, 2013).
A separate study was conducted on mice who exhibited autistic-like behaviors such as anxiety, sensorimotor, and communication abnormalities. These mice were given a probiotic which significantly reduced, if not corrected their behaviors. This again displays the significant need for intestinal health and its role in behavioral symptoms (Hsiao, 2013).
There are many foods that play a grand role in brain and body wellness. However there are some that are particularly effective when it comes to short and long term brain health. They are primarily mono and polyunsaturated fats such as avocado and walnuts. Others have powerful antioxidant affects such as blueberries and other deep colored fruits. While many herbs and spices can improve mood and memory. Regardless, the more whole foods you have in you diet the greater odds you have of promoting brain and body health.
The intake of soy may cause the following:
Phytic acid in soy prohibits mineral absorption. Soy is also naturally high in phytoestrogens which can cause cancer, infertility and thyroid issues. This means you should avoid some of the most common soy staples edamame beans and tofu. The only soy products that are potentially safe due to the length and manor of fermentation are organic tempeh, miso, and natto.
Many packaged foods contain soy products so check labels!