In order for our body to function properly and be at its best, it needs best possible fuel. Fuel for our body is good quality nutritional food. Our brain is no different than any other organ in our body. It needs constant supply of the best possible food that would support its primary role. Think of it this way, your car needs gas in order to run. If you pour water into your reservoir tank, your car not only won’t run but it may also crash. Same goes for our body. If we don’t give our body nutrients, minerals and vitamins that it craves, our body not only might not function properly but it can also become very sluggish and tired from trying to function on the low quality food that don’t support its primary role. During time, we may even become sick and more susceptible to attack from various bacteria and viruses as we haven’t built high quality mechanism wall in our body and our immune system may not be able to defend us properly.
That being said, we are going to focus here on foods that are best brain boosters. Drinks that we drink and food that we eat are directly connected to our cognitive abilities, mood and memory. Our brain, like other parts of our body, need proper nutrients that include fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, protein and phytochemicals.
For a long time B Vitamins Complex has been known to support healthy mood in people. If people are deficient in B Vitamins, they tend to get psychotic, anxious or depressed.
In order for neurons in our brain to work properly we need B Vitamins as they increase energy production. If we are deficient in vitamin B12 our brain can experience loss of its mass and brain atrophy. B Vitamins help production of folate and supports its function which in turn may help prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Lots of different types of food contain B vitamins. Main sources are fish, meats, eggs, poultry, whole grains, starchy vegetables such as potatoes, corn, peas and carrots or green vegetables. Pulses such as lentils, peas, chickpeas, dried beans are all great source of vitamin B.
Magnesium L-threonate is a new form of magnesium supplement that is derived from sugar-acid found in different types of plants and is more accessible to people. Smaller amounts are magnesium L-threonate are required in order for our body to enjoy its benefits.
In order for our brain to synthesize neurotransmitters our brain needs magnesium. Magnesium helps in metabolizing glucose for energy and has direct influence on transmission of brain neurons (brain cells) throughout our whole nervous system. In order for brain to transmit those brain cells, it needs electrical impulses. Magnesium L-threonate helps in communication between brain cells as per more recent studies.
Studies have found that adults saw significant improvements in learning and had greater short and long term memory recall. Magnesium L-threonate helps people get absorb more magnesium overall. Most people that live in Northern countries don’t get enough of this vitamin.
Spice turmeric contains a phytonutrient that is called curcumin and is a great brain booster. Curcumin has great ability to fight and reduce or completely extinguish inflammation and reduces risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Curcumin also has big influence on our genes as it turns on disease fighting genes while turning off genes that promote disease.
Turmeric is a perennial plant that belongs to a ginger family. Curcumin is fat soluble which means that it would dissolve the best in fatty foods or oils. Curcumin is primarily used in curries, mustard and pickles and has fine earthy aroma.
Choline supports mental health and moods and resembles vitamin-B nutrients that are important for keeping our brain healthy for a long time. Choline aids in memory and learning and unfortunately, most people don’t get enough of this nutrient.
Choline can be found in variety of foods such as seafood, liver, fish, egg yolks, soybean and other soybean products, dark green vegetables.
If you choose to supplement instead, choline can be found in a good quality B Vitamin complex.
Omega 3 Fats
Our brain craves Omega 3 fats and eating fish would be the best source of those fats. Long chain fatty accids such as EPA and DHA are essential in supporting structure of the brain and its function. In general, eating seafood is great for our health. Mostly recommended fish that is rich in Omega 3 fatty accids are salmon, mackerel, sardines, and anchovies.
Other sources of Omega 3 fats include eggs that fortified. You can also use supplements if you think you don’t eat enough seafood throughout the week.
Omega 3 fats are not only important for healthy brain throughout our life but they are crucial during early brain development (about 6 months before the conception till age 2). Numerous studies have found that Omega 3 fats preserve our cognitive abilities, memory and reduce various brain related diseases as people age.
Zeaxanthin and Lutein
Those two carotenoids, similar to beta carotene and lycopene (they give plants their colours, such as red tomatoes or peppers, and orange carrots). Zeaxanthin and Lutein appear to be equally essential to our brain health. They support not only health of our brains but eyes too.
They reduce inflammation in the brain while reducing risk of decline of our cognitive abilities as we age.
Getting more of Zeaxanthin and Lutein is not hard at all as they are included in dark green vegetables, eggs, avocados and corn. They can also be found in broccoli, collard greens, kale, rapini, Swiss chard, spinach, Brussels sprouts, mustard greens, dandelion.
Zeaxanthin and Lutein are recommended to be eaten with fatty foods as their absorption is highly increased.
Used by brain cells for energy production, Carnitine is derived from lysine which is an amino acid. Carnitine aids our brain cells to burn fat as fuel.
Studies have found that carnitine helps in concentration, cognition and memory. It increases production of the antioxidants in the brain which are important for formation of memory and supporting of serotonin.
While Carnitine can be found in small amounts in protein rich foods such as meats, Acetyl L-carnitine (ALCAR) is carnitine in a supplement form that is better absorbed by our body than regular carnitine found in food or regular supplemental carnitine.