The brain is a powerful biological machine, capable of storing vast amounts of information and performing very complex decision making. Like any machine, it needs the right fuel in order to function at its best. The brain requires sufficient amounts of energy to function, as well as vitamins and minerals to maintain the health of its cells. There are a variety of foods which contain these substances and eating them is scientifically associated with better brain health. Food rich in CoQ10 is an excellent source to start, these include organ meats such as liver, kidney, and heart, as well as in beef, sardines, and mackerel. Also, spinach, broccoli, and cauliflower is a high natural source of CoQ10.
The brain needs a source of energy
Glucose is the main source of energy for the brain. The cells of the brain break down glucose to produce the energy they need to help maintain focus on the brain and perform the complex tasks that they do. A steady supply of energy is much better for the brain than peaks and dips because then the brain can supply constant energy without switching to other sources of energy which may produce toxic by-products. For this reason, it is recommended to take glucose in the form of low GI foods – those which break down slowly and release energy steadily. An important source of this low GI glucose is whole grain foods such as brown rice and rye.
Vitamins and minerals maintain the brain and decrease risk of degenerative diseases
Minerals such as zinc and magnesium are an important component of the normal functioning of nerve cells in the brain. Nerve cells use minerals to be able to send their signals in the form of electrical impulses. So it is important to keep levels of these minerals high for the ideal functioning of the brain. These minerals can be found in abundance in pumpkin seeds.
Vitamins B6, B9, and B12 are associated with decreasing the levels of a substance called homocysteine in the blood. Higher levels of homocysteine can increase the risk of a stroke and the chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease. All of these vitamins can be found in egg. Another important vitamin, which also fights the development of Alzheimer’s is vitamin C – found in blackcurrants, red peppers, and broccoli. Vitamin K is also found in broccoli. Vitamin K has been shown to improve cognitive function. Glucosinolates – also found in broccoli – maintain levels of a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine, which is responsible for mental alertness.
Yet another important vitamin is vitamin E, found in nuts, green leafy vegetable, and whole grains.
Antioxidants slow down brain aging
Vitamin E is a strong antioxidant which prevents accelerated aging in the brain. Other antioxidants include anthocyanins from blueberries, lycopene from tomatoes and superoxide dismutase from sage. Antioxidants remove oxygen radicals formed from chemical reactions in the cell. These oxygen radicals can damage nerve cells and cause cell aging if their levels get too high.
Just as when a car is treated well – kept clean, filled up with gas and routinely serviced – and lasts much longer, so to does a brain when given the correct foods. The foods mentioned in this article are proven to keep the brain healthy and prevent its degeneration, thus helping it to run in optimal condition.