We are coming to realize that food can do so much more than just fuel your body. Food can dictate how we perform in daily activities, predict our future health, and help defend us against the health factors we have no control over like genetics.
There are certain vital nutrients each part of the body needs and several nutrients end up on more than just one of these lists. The brain is our most important organ, simply put nothing else works without it. So here are 6 key nutrients to fuel your brain now and protect it in the future.
Vitamin B Complex
The large subset of vitamins referred to as B vitamins are closely related and largely responsible for metabolic processes in the body. The brain is a disproportionately large consumer of metabolic energy at 20%.
Concentrations of B vitamins in the brain range from 50% more than usually found in the rest of the body to 4 times the amount, depending on the specific vitamin in question. If you are deficient in any of the B vitamins the metabolic processes in your cells will be disrupted making it harder for energy to get anywhere, including the brain (B Vitamins and the Brain: Mechanisms, Dose and Efficacy—A Review, David O. Kennedy).
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Here is the big one, you knew it would make the list just as everyone else did. So what is the big deal with Omega-3’s? Well, the symptoms of a diet deficient in omega-3 fatty acids include fatigue, poor memory, depression, and mood swings. That just covers the brain’s side of things.
University Of Maryland Medical Centers says that adequate amounts of omega-3’s can have a hand in treating depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorders, ADHD, and mental decline in general. Humans can only get omega-3’s from dietary sources such as nuts and fish. With the number of Americans diagnosed or being treated for a mental disorder increasing, protecting yourself from these imbalances is nothing to scoff at.
They are a relatively new item on the health and wellness roster. Antioxidants, found in whole plant foods, boast a whole host of benefits for the entire body. Benefits include cellular repair, initiate the body’s natural defenses, heavy-metal chelation, the mass genocide of cancer cells, and reversal of the aging process. However, we are here to talk about the brain, so what’s up?
The mechanism under which antioxidants works, neutralizes free radicals that cause serious damage on a molecular level. Adequate dietary antioxidants can protect against cancers, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and more. More immediately, the Alzheimer’s’ Association says they could improve your cognitive abilities.
Lower your risk for mental impairment by up to 15% by stepping away from the majority. What?
Studies show about 90% of the population is deficient in Vitamin E. It is not marketed as an instant fix and not commonly added to the typical processed food in America the way vitamins C and D are. But it plays a vital role in your health like helping prevent heart attacks and boosting elastin in the skin. It has also been shown to protect against the effects of stroke and other traumatic events in the brain.
Complex carbohydrates fuel brain power as well as all your other immediate energy needs. Studies show your brain functions better and faster when you have adequate amounts of complex carbs in your diet. Carbs just fuel the brain better. Don’t get confused though, sugary, refined, white carbohydrates can be contributing to the decline in mental capacity you are experiencing.
The Cleveland Clinic reports that just like the rest of your body, your brain crashes after a sugar high leaving you worse off than when you started. Your brain is greedy taking 20% of the energy produced during the day; and it is picky. The brain’s food of choice is glucose made by the process that digests carbohydrates.
The center for your body and your health are in your gut. It is where all the nutrients in your body are absorbed and where most of it is processed.
According to Authority Nutrition, for optimal absorption of the other nutrients for brain health, the bacteria in your gut need to be balanced. If it isn’t, then you could be in trouble with mood symptoms like anxiety and depression that could affect focus and cause fatigue. A probiotic to help balance your gut is likely to balance your concentration and your mood.