Let’s face it – we have all experienced some kind of brain fog – forgotten facts, misplaced keys, difficulty concentrating, and remembering. While at first, it might seem like something common and natural as a result of our busy hectic life, the inability to think sharply, focus, and recall memories might be a sign of something we need to take a deeper look at.

Brain health is super important. Keeping your brain healthy helps your mind stay clear and focused, so that you able to think, work, rest, and play. The choices you make on a daily basis have huge impact on the health of your mind and body as you grow older. The scientific research shows that it is possible to have better brain health and reduced risk of dementia and cognitive decline by making lifestyle changes.

If you want to have more energy, feel less tired, improve your brain’s vitality and clarity, boost your memory and improve the quality of your life there is a natural way to do that. One of the best ways to support your brain health naturally, get more energy, improve your focus, and fight fatigue is to choose to add brain-boosting foods to your diet.

Our overall health depends on so many nutrients – vitamins, minerals, probiotics, and essential fats, just to name a few.

But what are the best nutrients for your brain – the ones that improve mood, support your memory, and banish brain fog?

While there is a number of nutrients that can support your brain health, there are five categories that are real “winners”:

Let’s go over the brain-boosting benefits of omega-3s, vitamin D, B vitamins, magnesium, and probiotics.

Best Nutrients for Brain Health and How to Get Them

1.OMEGA-3s

One of the most important nutrients for brain health are Omega-3s.

Omega-3s are a type of essential fat that plays a key role n brain health. There are studies showing that people who regularly consume Omega-3s are less likely to be depressed and when people experiencing mood swings or anxiety start taking omega-3 supplements, some of their symptoms improve.

But how do you get enough Omega-3s?

There are two ways you can get your Omega-3s:

You can have two servings of fatty fish each week (options could be a wild salmon steak one week, then baked mackerel or codfish another week)

In terms of supplements, as little as 500 mg of fish oil each day is enough for most people to get the minimum recommended levels. Most of the fish oil supplements come in 1 g (1,000 mg) doses, and that may be just fine on a daily basis (check your labels to make sure).

2.VITAMIN D

Another very important brain nutrient is Vitamin D.

Vitamin D both protects nerve cells and helps them grow. In adults, low blood levels of vitamin D have been associated with multiple sclerosis, depression, and cognitive impairment, including Parkinson’s Disease.

How do you get enough vitamin D?

When you are sunbathing, your skin makes vitamin D. The thing is you need to be careful how much sunshine you get and not trade a vitamin D deficiency for potential skin problems.

You can also get vitamin D through some foods like fatty fish, liver, and egg yolks.

Vitamin D can be also supplemented. The best way to do this is to test your blood for levels of vitamin D and get recommendations from your health care provider.

3.B VITAMINS

B vitamins are crucial for brain health and there are several essential B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12). B vitamin deficiency is associated with cognitive impairment and disability.

B vitamins play many roles in brain function. These include antioxidants, helping the neurons (nerve cells) maintain their structure and function, helping the brain to produce energy (which your brain needs a lot of). B vitamins are also necessary for the production of essential neurotransmitters.

Chronic low levels of several B vitamins are related to depression, ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), some psychiatric conditions, and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

How to get them?

All B vitamins you can get from plants except B12. Leafy greens, fruits, and vegetables are great sources. The animals that ate those plants are also a good source of B vitamins. Some foods have B vitamins added to them, so check your labels.

Vitamin B12 is found in meat, fish, eggs, and algae.

B vitamins can be found individually or in supplements as a complex (B complex). If you avoid animal products you may need to take B12 supplements separately.

4.MAGNESIUM

Magnesium is an essential mineral that has key functions in the body like the production of energy, nerve function, and blood pressure. The body uses magnesium for over 600 functions.

Magnesium deficiency is related to a number of brain diseases, like migraine headaches, depression, Alzheimer’s, and stroke.

Getting more magnesium has been shown to help improve moods and can help to prevent migraines and reduce their symptoms.

How to get it

The foods highest in magnesium include spinach, nuts, legumes, and potatoes.

There are many forms of magnesium supplements like magnesium citrate, magnesium sulfate, magnesium chloride, and magnesium oxide Some of them are more easily absorbed and cause less digestive disturbances.

5.PROBIOTICS

There is new research pointing out to the gut-brain connection which has great potential to help us use foods and supplements for optimal brain health.

You have friendly health-promoting microbes that live in your gut. Probiotics are similar microbes that you simply can eat and supplement with. They help the milk to turn into yogurt and the cabbage into sauerkraut. They have great benefits for gut and brain health

Several studies show that after a few weeks of ingesting probiotic foods or supplements, healthy people’s negative thoughts and sad moods reduce. There are also studies showing that taking probiotic supplements helped improve symptoms of anxiety, and stress in healthy people.

There are a wide variety of probiotic supplements available for sale.

SUMMARY

There are several key nutrients that help support brain health. They are omega-3s, vitamin D, B-vitamins, magnesium, and probiotics.

They have wide-ranging brainy benefits from improving moods, reducing symptoms of depression and multiple sclerosis, to reducing the risk of dementias like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Many of them work together, and it’s important to get enough of each of them every day.

Eating properly prepared, nutrient-dense, whole food diet will help you to meet your daily needs, but sometimes a supplement may help.

REFERENCES:

Annweiler, C., Schott, A.M., Allali, G., Bridenbaugh, S.A., Kressig, R.W., Allain, P., Herrmann, F.R. & Beauchet, O. (2010). Association of vitamin D deficiency with cognitive impairment in older women: cross-sectional study. Neurology. 74(1):27-32.

LINK:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19794127

Barragán-Rodríguez, L., Rodríguez-Morán, M. & Guerrero-Romero, F. (2008). Efficacy and safety of oral magnesium supplementation in the treatment of depression in the elderly with type 2 diabetes: a randomized, equivalent trial. Magnes Res. 21(4):218-23.

LINK:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19271419

Chang, C.Y., Ke, D.S. & Chen, J.Y. (2009). Essential fatty acids and human brain. Acta Neurol Taiwan. 18(4):231-41.

LINK:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20329590

Grosso, G., Galvano, F., Marventano, S., Malaguarnera, M., Bucolo, C., Drago, F., & Caraci, F. (2014). Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Depression: Scientific Evidence and Biological Mechanisms. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, 2014, 313570.

LINK:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3976923/

Huang, R., Wang, K. & Hu, J. (2016). Effect of Probiotics on Depression: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Nutrients. 8(8).

LINK:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4997396/

Kennedy, D.O. (2016). B Vitamins and the Brain: Mechanisms, Dose and Efficacy–A Review. Nutrients. 8(2):68.

LINK:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4772032/

Mikkelsen, K., Stojanovska, L., Tangalakis, K., Bosevski, M. & Apostolopoulos, V. (2016). Cognitive decline: A vitamin B perspective. Maturitas. 93:108-113.

LINK:  http://www.maturitas.org/article/S0378-5122(16)30185-2/abstract

National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements, Vitamin D. Accessed Feb 14, 2017.

LINK:  https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/

Volpe SL. (2013). Magnesium in disease prevention and overall health. Adv Nutr. 4(3):378S-83S.

LINK:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3650510/

 

 

 

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