While the growth and advances of technology have allowed us to gain a deeper understanding of our bodies, the human brain continues to be the most intriguing and complex computer. Similar to that laptops and smartphones require a charge, our brains often need a nutritional boost. That’s where brain nutrients come in.
Giving your body and brain what it needs to stay sharp, energized, and focused requires proper nutrition. Omega-3, Vitamin B12 and Lutein, for example, are nutrients your brain needs to function. In this article we will discuss the best way to support your brain's overall health, the nutrients it needs to stay healthy, and how the anti-inflammatory effects of turmeric can affect the brain.
Why are Nutrients for the Brain Necessary?
You may not think about your brain’s health very often, but the food choices we make daily, affects its ability to operate at full capacity. Despite accounting for only two percent of your body’s weight, the brain consumes approximately twenty percent of its calories.
Keeping the brain charged, fueled and ready to go, is a crucial part of maintaining the body as a whole.
The brain is sometimes referred to as the command center of the human nervous system. It receives information from our neurons, makes decisions, and issues signals that stimulate our muscles to move.
Unlike the rest of the body, the brain is unable to store energy, so it requires a constant and steady supply of oxygen and energy (brain food) to run properly.
Omega-3 Benefits for Brain Health
The brain, which is approximately 60% fat, depends on Omega-3 fatty acids for healthy growth and operation. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to be one of the most important and influential molecules for the overall health and function of the brain.
Facts about the brain and the benefits of Omega-3s:
- Since humans cannot produce Omega-3 fatty acids naturally, we must obtain them through food or supplemental sources.
- Omega-3 is a natural antioxidant that may help reduce inflammation throughout the body.
- Incorporating Omega-3 fatty acids into your diet can help minimize chronic inflammation and keep free radicals at bay.
- Free radical damage and chronic inflammation in the brain have been linked to brain fog, memory issues, and even depression.
- Research shows that consuming Omega-3 fatty acids in your daily diet can support the health of cell membranes, aid in the production and activity of neurotransmitters, and support blood flow to the brain.
For more information about the benefits of Omega-3s in our diets as well as how Omega-3s can support the health of cell membranes, check out The Nutrition Source published by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and a study published by the journal Nutrients in 2020 titled, "The Importance of Marine Omega-3s for Brain Development and the Prevention and Treatment of Behavior, Mood, and Other Brain Disorders".
Vitamin B12 and Brain Health
Vitamin B12 is one of eight essential B vitamins necessary for our overall health, it plays an especially important role in keeping the brain and nervous system functioning properly.
Vitamin B12 occurs naturally in animal foods bound to protein such as seafood, red meat, poultry, dairy and eggs. This can make it rather difficult for vegans and vegetarians to consume enough B12 naturally, due to their plant-based diet.
If you’re in the 40% of Westerners who have low or marginal vitamin B12 status, especially those with low intakes of foods rich in vitamin B12, then you may want to consider either adding more B12-rich foods to your already healthy diet or consider a supplement to offset the deficit.
Lutein for Brain Health
The most prevalent carotenoid in the brain, lutein, is crucial for maintaining healthy brain function. While beta-carotene and other carotenoids are often rich in our diets, the major carotenoid in the brain—lutein—is often more difficult to obtain, especially from diets low in green and yellow vegetables and fruits.
Lutein contributes to our brain health by:
- Quenching damaging free radicals and guarding against oxidative stress, both of which accelerate illness and aging.
- Assisting in reducing chronic inflammation, a root cause of neurodegeneration and other illnesses.
Turmeric Benefits and Brain Health
Many may recognize turmeric as the golden spice that gives curry its unique color, but the benefits of turmeric go beyond its delicious taste.
Turmeric is made up of compounds called curcuminoids. Curcumin is what gives turmeric its potent anti-inflammatory properties. Historically used as a medicinal herb, curcumin is a strong antioxidant that can protect cells from damage caused by free radicals.
Epidemiological studies indicate a link between dietary curcumin in curry consumption and better cognitive performance in older adults, supporting the hypothesis that curcumin consumption may provide neuroprotective benefits. Additionally, as we consider the benefits of supplementation, studies using branded, high absorption curcumin products indicate that supplementation may support memory and attention in adults without dementia.
How Turmeric can be incorporated into your diet:
- Turmeric used as a spice or seasoning is its most popular form. Often found in curry and can be used for seasoning.
- Turmeric extract can be found in supplements, either droplets or pill form.
- Turmeric powder can be added to drinks, or food, and can also be found as a supplement.
- Turmeric root, like ginger root, can be shaved, grated or even dried to incorporate into other food sources.
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When Food Isn’t Enough
In the early stages of life, a balanced diet is necessary for the development of the brain and central nervous system. However, for optimal functioning and preservation of the brain throughout time, additional brain nutrients are often necessary. Kori Krill Oil’s Mind & Body Omega-3, is the perfect combination of plant-based antioxidants, B12 and Turmeric Curcumin for memory & attention, nervous system support, healthy energy, and overall health benefits.