Nutrition plays a critical role in the short and long-run on our brain health and overall well-being. Maintaining and boosting mental capacities, even into old age, is more than feasible by eating properly and consuming the right amounts of the proper nutrients. Every-day we tax and stress our brains. As such it is important that we respect our brain by providing the right nourishment. Below, we’ve assembled the top three brain-friendly vitamins you need to make sure you’re getting in your diet in order to help achieve your optimal brainpower.
1. The B Vitamin Class —- Vitamins B6, B9 (Folic Acid), and B12
The B vitamin class has been linked to improving memory by aiding in the development of necessary brain chemicals including epinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine. Each of the B vitamins plays an important role in helping to preserve our brain function and mental capabilities. Vitamin B-6 aids in governing the connectivity of neurotransmitters as they go from one neuron to the next. Vitamin B-9 is responsible for clearing up homocysteine, which is a toxic poison to nerve cells in our brain. By clearing up homocysteine, B-9 is able to produce a protective cover for neurons. High levels of homocysteine act as a marker for heart disease and stroke. Vitamin B-12 is required by the brain in order to sustain the fatty outer coat of neurons. Recent studies have also shown correlation between memory loss and Alzheimer’s with inadequate levels of the B vitamin class. B vitamins can be increased in your diet by taking vitamin supplementation and/or by eating healthy, natural foods including leafy greens (broccoli, asparagus), strawberries, and whole-grains.
2. The Antioxidants Class —- Vitamins C, E, β-Carotene (pronounced beta-Carotene)
The Antioxidant vitamins class is critical for brain function as they help in protecting brain tissue by fighting against free radicals. Research has also shown that the vitamins Studies show that memory and antioxidant vitamins are correlated because free radicals can cause impairments to the functioning of neurons within your brain. Similar to the B vitamin class, antioxidant vitamins help in averting damage to the brain’s structure. Vitamin C works hard within your body to aid in the removal of toxins and wastes. Vitamin C is also necessary for the creation of neurotransmitters. Vitamins C also assists in developing versatile tissue collagen that maintains the flexibility of your arteries, thereby improving the blood flow to your brain. Similar to Vitamin C, Vitamin E also assists in protecting your brain tissue. Without Vitamin E in your body, you would be at high risk for ataxia (symptoms include impaired coordination and balance). Beta-Carotene similarly protects your brain against free radicals. But it is also a very beneficial antioxidant because it is readily available for the conversion into Vitamin A. Vitamin A enables good vision and eye health, as well as a strong immune system. Of course, high levels of Vitamin A can be dangerous as well. However, the greatest aspect of beta carotene is that your body will only convert as much vitamin A from beta-carotene as it needs. Thus, beta-carotene is considered a safe source of Vitamin A. All in all, there is good evidence that eating more antioxidant-rich foods helps protect against free radicals, and may lower your risks of several diseases and cancers. Antioxidants can be increased in your diet by taking vitamin supplementation and/or by eating nuts, seeds, citrus fruits, berries, green tea, sweet potatoes, and spinach.
Researchers recommend boosting Vitamin D foods first, and supplementation to fill in the gaps.
3. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is extremely important to the healthy function of our brain and overall body. Yet, Vitamin D is naturally found in few foods. In fact, Vitamin D deficiency is a rapidly growing problem in the US, as it is now affecting an estimated 10 million adults with ailments right now. Another 40 million are considered “at risk.” Low levels of Vitamin D have been associated with several dangerous neuropsychiatric disorders and overall cognitive impairment (such as brain fog, poor mental function, forgetfulness, and difficulty concentrating). Even though Vitamin D can be gained through sunlight, the sun is a very unreliable source, as it is difficult to really quantify the vitamin D a person gets from time spent, and because the risk of skin cancer from overexposure can outweigh the benefits. Researchers recommend boosting Vitamin D foods first, and supplementation to fill in the gaps. Vitamin D comes from fortified diary, some yogurts, some cereals, and small amounts can be found in cheese and beef liver. The US continues to fortify yogurt, cereal, and other foods with Vitamin D supplementation.
Do not procrastinate on your health. Everyday that you are malnourished is another day of increasing risks for short and long-term ailments.
Naturally improving your memory, brainpower, and overall well-being is a very worthwhile goal, but will take time to accomplish. To help make a dent in taking the appropriate values of the vitamins and nutrients mentioned in this article, check out the list of the top six foods we recommend for brain health. We hope this article helps you reach your intended goals.
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