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Supporting Brain Awareness Week: Nutrition and the Brain

By March 16, 2015Archives

A lot of people, when asked about nutrition, think about ways to improve their diet in order to lose weight, improve heart health, and even build strong bones. However, what we eat can also affect our brain’s nutrition. It’s the central governing organ to our bodies and requires a lot of upkeep in order to keep us thinking, reasoning, and learning.

In fact, several studies that show proper nutrition for our brains NOW can prevent cognitive decline LATER, and it’s never too late to start eating healthy to help our brains. Here are some excellent foods that can serve you and your senior loved one when it comes to receiving ample nutrition for that big grey matter resting atop of your shoulders.

The Omegas
One of the main nutrients needed to improve brain functions are the Omegas found in fish oils. These fatty acids are a component of the cell membrane surrounding the brain cells. If the brain receives plenty of the Omega 3’s and Omega 6’s it will increase permeability from brain cells to brain cells. Think of the brain as an engine in a car. It has a lot of parts to it that keep it running. The Omegas act like a lubricant. They keep everything running smoothly so nothing gets built up and prevents one piece from operating correctly with another. The smoother all the parts of the brain operate together, the more cognitive ability you or your senior loved one have.

B Vitamins
Unfortunately, the “b” in B Vitamins does not stand for brain, however they can be viewed as “brain” vitamins. These important nutrients help with all kinds of important functions within the brain.

  • B12 – The B12 vitamins help with cell communication. Much like the Omegas, it helps keep the processes running smoothly throughout the brain. It keeps the machine working efficiently. It also assists in the creation of myelin, a protective padding that covers the neurons (brain cells that process and transmit information), which keeps them working properly.
  • B6 – Without a steady diet of B6 vitamins, researchers have found that it can be linked to depression and other cognitive problems. If this is the case with your senior loved one, it might be a good idea to get them checked. See if they have a deficiency in B6 vitamins or any other B vitamins. The various types work together to keep your brain healthy and working properly.

Just like any other muscle, tissue, or organ in your body, the brain needs energy to do its job. Without the necessary energy the brain can’t retain information, make new memories, or repair cells, and its only source of energy is sugar. The glucose found in carbohydrates fuels our brains in order for it to perform daily tasks. Oddly enough, our most important organ only makes up 2 percent of our body mass, yet it consumes 20 percent of all energy our bodies use, so make sure you supply it with ample enough sugars to keep it full and functional!

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