When it comes to keeping the brain healthy as one ages, diet plays an important role. Eating various foods is critical to getting the nutrients and vitamins that a brain needs to keep performing at its best. According to Puja Agrawal, PhD, a nutritional epidemiologist and assistant professor in the Department of Internal Medicine at Rush Medical College in Chicago, A large body of literature has found that certain nutrients, flavonoids, unsaturated fats, and omega-3 fatty acids are associated with slower cognitive decline and reduced the risk of dementia.”
The best way to get those nutrients is to eat whole food, and that is because supplements don’t work well. When a balanced diet is eaten with healthy fats, minerals, and vitamins, it helps the body better absorb the nutrients it needs.
List of vitamins that supports brain health –
Vitamin B – When it comes to brain health then B6, B12, and B9 are essential. According to Dr Agarwal, for normal brain functioning, these types of vitamin B is needed. These vitamins help boost neurotransmitters, or brain chemicals, that deliver messages between the brain and body. The best sources – Beans and dark leafy greens, poultry, salmon, tuna, cantaloupe, papaya, oranges, bananas (for B6). B12 is found in meat and fish products only, and nutritional yeast is a good source for B12 for vegans and vegetarians.
Vitamin E – This vitamin functions as an antioxidant in the body. It protects cells from oxidative stress, a type of damage caused by free radicals and found in Alzheimer’s patient’s brains. The brain is particularly harmed by oxidative stress, which increases when a person ages and is a significant contributor to cognitive decline. The best sources – seeds, nuts, pumpkin, mango, asparagus, red bell pepper, avocado, dark leafy greens.
Vitamin C – This antioxidant is known for its immunity powers, but it, along with flavonoids, also supports the brain by controlling brain-damaging inflammation. The best sources – tomatoes, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, berries, citrus, red and green bell peppers, kiwi.
Omega-3 fatty acids – It is a type of unsaturated fat that has a brain-protecting anti-inflammatory effect and is the building block of the cell membranes in the brain. It also lowers the level of beta-amyloid, a type of protein found in Alzheimer’s patient’s brains. “Omega-3 fatty acids easily penetrate the blood-brain barrier and are essential for the brain’s structure and functioning,” explains Dr Agarwal. The best sources – eggs, yoghurt, fatty fish, nuts, seeds.