Optimal Brain Function
For many parents, working from home is the new norm. This means keeping our brains and bodies functioning well is imperative for success as we are challenged to balance the energy put into multiple roles.
Studies show that what we eat can highly impact cognitive function such as mental clarity, focus, and memory. This quick read will aim to highlight which nutrients to seek out, and how to find them, when striving to boost brain function.
The fatty-acid, most commonly known to be found in fish, is highly impactful on brain health. Building brain and nerve cells, omega-3s are also commonly sought after for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Plant-based sources include brussels sprouts, spinach, kale, canola and soybean oils, walnuts, flax seeds, and pumpkin seeds.
This fat-soluble brain booster is known to aid in increasing and maintaining the health of existing cells. Studies link it to memory improvement, as well. Find it in dark greens such as broccoli, collards, kale, spinach and green beans.
An ancient Indian herb found in curry powder, curcumin is used to treat dementia, brain trauma, and is evidenced to defend against neurodegenerative activity. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties add to the growing list of benefits.
This essential mineral acts as a gatekeeper for receptors imperative for learning and memory functions of the brain. Magnesium deficiency can lead to brain damage and it is known that over 60% of Americans do not meet the daily requirements. Great sources include avocado, nuts, legumes, tofu, seeds, and whole grains.
A trace element used by enzymes in the brain to transfer energy, copper is important for controlling nerve signals and processing oxygen. An imbalance can cause neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s. Find it in spirulina, shiitake mushrooms, nuts, seeds, and leafy greens.
It’s no surprise to see iron on the list, as we know that iron deficiency causes brain fog and impairment. But why? Because of its critical role in oxidative metabolism and the fusion of neurotransmitters and myelin (the protective sheath around cells and transmitters). This means iron aids in the efficiency of movement between brain cells. Get it from spinach, legumes, pumpkin seeds, quinoa, broccoli, and tofu. Vitamin C, vitamin A, and beta carotene help with absorption.
Baby Steps to Better Health
Slowly incorporating these nutrients into our diet will lead us to better mental health and brain function. Don’t worry about trying to do it all at once. Just like the gradual changes we have experienced since quarantine guidelines were set in place, one step at a time makes for the least stressful transition.
Be of good courage! We are in this together.