Boost Your Cognitive Function With the Right Nutrition

Most people – both young and old – believe that nutrients are only important for providing energy, development and nutrition of the body. Recently, however, it has been recognised that nutrients play a key role in preventing various brain diseases like Alzheimer's, dementia and depression, which are prevalent problems around your age.

While nutritional deficiencies are not the only reasons behind cognitive decline, minor deficiencies of certain nutrients are sufficient enough to change mood and brain chemistry. Which micronutrients are essential for maintaining cognitive health? To help you plan your diet properly we have prepared a list of nutrients that are beneficial for people suffering from cognitive decline.

Vitamins

Antioxidants (like Vitamin C and E, and carotene), which are found in citrus fruit, have been known to help reduce depression symptoms and even prevent cognitive decline in the elderly. Vitamin E (found in asparagus, avocado, nuts, vegetable oils) and Vitamin D (found in fish liver, fatty fish and milk) are important for maintaining cognition in the elderly and preventing cognitive decay. Your body also produces Vitamin D when you spend a healthy amount of time in the sun, so be sure to get out more!

Minerals

Most diets today are deficient in magnesium, a mineral largely found in vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Magnesium plays a role in hundreds of different workings in the body, including chemical mechanisms within the brain. A deficiency may result in depression, anxiety, and confusion, not to mention an array of physical issues like kidney disease and high blood pressure.

A zinc shortage in your diet can lead to depression. Meat and oysters are a rich source of zinc, but you can also get small doses in nuts.

Omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fish and walnuts prevent cognitive decline in the elderly. They can also be useful in patients with mood disorders and even slow down cognitive decay in Alzheimer's patients. These nutrients may be helpful for some people suffering from depression, concentration issues and anxiety too. What’s more, omega-3 fatty acids can be converted to DHA, which according to studies done by the University of Pittsburgh, is linked to better cognitive functions1.

Flavinoids found in green tea, Ginkgo nuts, citrus fruit and red wine improve cognitive health in the elderly.

References

  1. http://www.lef.org/Newsletter/2010/3/Higher-Levels-Of-DHA-Correlate-With-Improved-Cognitive-Function/Page-01?checked=1
  2. http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/nutritional-approaches-to-mental-health/
  3. http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/cognition.html
  4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2805706/

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