Macronutrients And Micronutrients For Healthy Brain

Macronutrients And Micronutrients For Healthy Brain
Editor's Note: This article has been recently updated with latest information and research studies.
 

Who would ever say he/she does not want to be smart? If truth be told, we all want to be intelligent; and reasons for this are varied. Some would want to be smart to impress their friends, others would want to do better at work or school.

Fortunately, learning how to boost* brain power is not that hard. No rocket science is involved at all. You just need to understand what your brain needs.

One way is by keeping your brain active. Another, which is what we will look at here, is supplying it with the right brain nutrients. The needed brain nutrients are:

Macronutrients

These are nutrients your brain needs in high amounts. They are so important that the brain just cannot do without them. There are three basic macronutrients: carbohydrates (glucose), proteins and fats.

Macronutrients

Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates provides energy for the brain. Cells in the brain do not store energy. So they need a constant supply of Carbohydrates and they cannot survive without it, not even for a few minutes.

If Carbohydrates is not available, other sources of energy are utilized. This includes breaking down amino acids, or sometimes, using ketone bodies. But this can result in too much acid in the brain, so glucose is preferred.

But not all sources of Carbohydrates are good for the brain. Refined (white) sugar, for example, should be avoided. These raise blood sugars to the point where the brain starts shrinking. Better sources of Carbohydrates are starchy vegetables such as potatoes, yams, and carrots.

Proteins: Proteins have an important role in building our bodies. This important function also includes the brain. Proteins break down into smaller particles called amino acids. These are important components of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters help brain cells communicate with each other. Neurotransmitters also control our ability to focus, concentrate, regulate mood, cravings, addiction and sleep.

The best sources of proteins include eggs, milk and milk products, meat from grass-fed animals, free-range poultry, and fish.

Fats: Not all fats are bad. As a matter of fact, fats are important for a healthier life. And it is one of the most important brain foods. Following a diet too low in the right kind of fats can have serious effects on your overall health, including your cognitive abilities. A diet too low in fat, especially cholesterol, has been linked to increase* the risk of depression and suicide. In contrast, normal levels of cholesterol may reduce* the risk of dementia by as much as 70%.

It is trans-fats that are particularly dangerous. Vegetable oils, like safflower oil, turn to trans-fats when heated. But many blindly believe vegetable oils are the ones that are the safest and healthiest. For your information, trans-fats increase* the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and obesity.

If you are looking for good fats, then try foods like avocados, olives, nuts, salmon, tuna, coconut oil.

Micronutrients

These are needed in small quantities. Their power is usually underestimated. They include vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.

Micronutrients For brain

Vitamin B: There are a number of B Vitamins. But one which helps sharpen brain function is Vitamin B12. It helps prevent brain fog, memory loss, dementia, depression and schizophrenia. The best sources of B Vitamins include eggs, milk and milk products, cheese, fish, shellfish and poultry.

Vitamin D: Statistics show that close to 75% of people do not get enough of this important brain nutrient. Perhaps many of us are not aware of the fact that it can improve* our memory and mood. Additionally, Vitamin D helps prevent cognitive decline, dementia and Alzheimer’s. Getting enough Vitamin D from food or the sun is not always enough, so for many, taking supplements would be a wise choice. Other sources of Vitamin D include some fish, egg yolks and milk.

Magnesium: Similar to Vitamin D, 80% of us do not get enough magnesium. This brain nutrient is responsible for improving* focus, concentration, mood, resistance to stress and better sleep. You can have your blood checked for your magnesium level. And if you don’t have enough, your doctor may recommend taking magnesium supplements.

Omega 3 Fats: Many would not believe that close to 99% of people are deficient in this nutrient. The problem is that it is not readily available in most foods. Some of its benefits include preventing memory loss, depression, mood, dementia, and Alzheimer Disease. Sources of this important nutrient include flaxseed oil, fish oil, sardines and walnuts.

Vitamin C: It is mostly found in citrus fruits, including oranges, lemons, and grapefruit. It works as an antioxidant. So it protects the brain from free radicals. These can damage brain cells resulting in diminished* mental abilities.

Conclusion

We have to try to make sure that we are taking good care of our brains. Everybody knows it controls everything we do each and every minute. Without a healthy brain, our thoughts and bodily functions are greatly diminished*. So try to give it all the brain nutrients mentioned in this article. And do not forget to drink plenty of water and get enough oxygen by exercising and breathing deeply.

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Author

Expert Author : Ashley Stein (Consumer Health Digest)

Ashley Stein holds a bachelor's degree in education from the Birmingham-Southern College in United States. She is a health content writer and editor. She used to work as a content editor for leading online websites including blogs and journals. Her areas of specialization include writing educational and health articles. She is contributing to Consumer Health Digest for the past 4 years.