There is a lot of research into the influence of food on the functioning of the brain. This is not without reason: some nutrients have a proven positive effect on the functioning and condition of the brain. What should you pay attention to if you want to keep your brain healthy?
In principle, a balanced, varied and healthy diet is sufficient to get all the necessary nutrients. But which nutrients are good for your brain and what are those substances in?
For starters, your brain needs fatty acids. The unsaturated omega 3 fatty acids are particularly important: a shortage of these acids makes the brain cells less able to talk to each other. As a result, your concentration may drop and you may become forgetful. Unsaturated omega 3 fatty acids are mainly found in fatty fish, such as herring, mackerel, sardine, salmon and anchovies. Therefore, put fish on the table at least once a week.
Vitamins and minerals are important nutrients for the brain. For example, a lack of vitamin B12 can cause anemia, fatigue, difficulty concentrating and eventually even memory loss. Fortunately, such a deficiency is not so common, because the body can store vitamin B12 and therefore has a stock of it. It is possible that the body absorbs less vitamin B12, for example as a result of a gastrointestinal infection. Vitamin B12 is in animal products, especially meat, cheese, eggs and milk.
Vitamins C and E
Other important vitamins for the brain are vitamins C and E. We call these the antioxidants. Research has shown that these vitamins have a positive influence on the condition of the brain. Fresh fruits and vegetables, in addition to other vitamins, minerals and fiber, contain antioxidants. It is not without reason that the Nutrition Center recommends eating two pieces of fruit and 250 grams of vegetables every day. Because every vegetable contains a different amount of healthy nutrients, it is important to vary. That way you will get enough from everywhere.
Green leafy vegetables
The green leafy vegetables deserve extra attention. These vegetables are very high in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber. Science now knows that these substances lower the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure. That is why these are also healthy vegetables for the brain: high blood pressure damages the heart and blood vessels, which in turn increases the risk of dementia. Examples of green leafy vegetables are spinach, lettuce, endive, chard, kale, purslane, watercress and sorrel.
We also call zinc, iodine and iron minerals and these play an important role in the functioning of the brain. Iodine is in bread and in some brands of table salt (in which case the packaging states ‘iodinated’ or ‘iodinated’). Sea salt contains almost no iodine. Other iodine products include fish and eggs. Iron foods include meat, fish, grains, potatoes, legumes and beans. Zinc is found in meat, cheese, grains, bread, nuts, shrimp and mussels.