Brain Food: How What You Eat Affects Your Mental Performance

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The brain is the most critical part of the body. It regulates everything we do, from sleeping to running to abstract thought. It is always working. This means that the brain needs fuel to perform its best. Proper nutrition affects brain development and function.

Memory

Professor Felice Jacka of Deakin University did a study of the way food affects the hippocampus. It was found that people who had a higher quality diet had a larger hippocampus. The hippocampus is the part of the brain that deals with memory and learning.

Food and Mood

The brain regulates mood and emotions. Many studies have found that the kind of food eaten can have an impact on one’s mood. Researcher Fernando Gomez-Pinilla found a correlation between fish consumption and major depression across various countries. Countries that had a higher apparent fish consumption reported a lower prevalence of major depression. Fish contains omega-3, which is beneficial for the brain.

Omega-3 and Essential Fats

Many people might warn against consuming fat, but some types of fat are essential for a healthy body. Fat is especially needed for the brain. 60 percent of the brain is fat. Each nerve cell in the brain is coated in the myelin sheath, a protective layer of fat that helps send electrical messages from the brain to the rest of our body and vice versa. The more fat around the nerve, the faster the messages send. Omega-3 can be found in fish like salmon, trout, mackerel, and sardines. It is located in flaxseed, soybeans, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, and walnuts. An omega-3 supplement can also be taken to aid a healthy diet when necessary.

Blueberries

According to researchers at Tufts University, blueberries may reduce memory loss and reverse the decline of coordination, possibly because of the high amount of antioxidants blueberries contain when compared to other fruits and vegetables.

Eggs

Eggs are rich in B vitamins and folic acid. B vitamins are known to lower homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine is a risk factor for brain atrophy, cognitive impairment, and dementia. A 2010 study performed by Smith AD et al. found that brain atrophy in elderly with mild cognitive impairment can be slowed by consuming B vitamins.

It is essential to take in to account the brain as well as the rest of the body when making dietary decisions. Taking care of the mind by making smart eating choices can attribute to a healthier lifestyle. For more articles on the brain, check out our blog!

 

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