The diet does not only affect the modeling of our body, it also affects the proper functioning of the whole organism. Including the brain, the body that consumes the most energy, says Lisa Mosconi, a neuroscientist and nutritional consultant, in her book Brain food: How to eat smart and sharpen your Mind (food for the brain: How to eat smart and sharpen your Mind).
While some foods help prevent dementia, stress, cognitive decline, or memory loss; Others can help to detonate certain problems in the brain: "Food is of vital importance in the development of our organism and in the biological functions. Also, of course, in the central nervous system and in the brain, "says Ramón de Cangas, a dietitian-nutritionist member of the Spanish Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. With your help, we review which are the best and worst foods for our brain.
2Caballa to curb cognitive impairment
Fatty acids are essential for good cellular functioning. Omega 3, for example, "has a component called DHA that is also found in the outer layers of nerve cells," explained Fernando Gómez-Pinilla, neuroscientist and professor at the University of California, to BuenaVida. This helps "protect the brain from cognitive impairment, as well as reverse the damage caused by oxidative stress at the cerebral level," says De Cangas.
Different studies indicate the importance of fatty acid, very abundant in mackerel, for the intellectual performance of older people and others reveal that the lack of these lipid molecules is related to Alzheimer's disease.
"From the point of view of brain development there are several very important nutrients, especially certain fatty acids are particularly relevant," explains de Cangas. The reason, the expert continues, is that, "although the nervous system and the brain are very rich tissues in, they have a very important lipid component. In fact, more than 60% of its dry weight consists of lipids. "
Although fatty fish — such as salmon, mackerel, anchovies, or sardines — are one of the best natural sources of this type of fat, they are not the only. Some dried fruits — such as walnuts and almonds — or seeds — such as flax and chia — are some of the vegetable alternatives.
3the olive oil to increase oxygen in the brain
Olive oil is another vegetable source of Omega 3, but not only does this fatty acid provide us. Also, says Lisa Mosconi in her book, provides vitamin E, which is especially important to protect us against dementia and increases the supply of oxygen to the brain.
Studies carried out in the United States and in Europe corroborate what Mosconi explains in his book. Experts have found that older people who consumed more than 16 mg a day of vitamin E, also present in green leafy vegetables such as spinach, had a 67% lower risk of developing dementia compared to those who consumed little or anything. And the reduction can be even greater if foods that provide vitamin C are also consumed, as a study by Vanderbilt University Medical Center (USA) was concluded in which patients were given supplements of both vitamins. Both protect brain cells from the harmful effects of toxins and free radicals.
4La beet as fuel in place of sugar
Brain cells use glucose as a source of energy, explains the expert, although it is not necessary (or good) to start eating spoonfuls of sugar, as we count on BuenaVida when we ask why if the brain needs sugar to work We had to stop eating it. "With a balanced diet, including legumes, whole grain cereals, vegetables, vegetables and fruits, we will obtain the carbohydrates our organism needs to have the necessary glucose."
Beet, kiwi, whole grains, moniatos, onions and chives are some examples of foods that serve as fuel for our brain to work. And not only do we get the glucose that this body needs: "They also contain fiber, which helps to keep the microbiota healthy" and this, according to studies, keeps us protected from diseases related to cognitive deterioration.
5Las berries and red fruits to be more attentive
A healthy brain needs a sufficient (not excessive) contribution of vitamins and minerals. The E and C are — as mentioned above in this article — are potent antioxidants that help reduce brain stress. But there is more: group B vitamins, for example, are necessary to produce energy, synthesize and repair DNA and RNA (ribonucleic acid, which is the messenger of genetic information in the body) and numerous neurochemical molecules; and D catalyzes the synthesis of neurotransmitters and intervenes in the development of the nervous system.
Among minerals, iron stimulates cognitive activity, participates in the production of neurotransmitters and improves the capacity of concentration. Zinc supports the immune system and helps control neuronal impulses and copper is necessary for the development of brain functions and for the synthesis of certain enzymes.
fruits and vegetables are the best natural source of vitamins and minerals, says Mosconi. Berries and red fruits, for example, help improve our ability to care and memory. Also green leafy vegetables and broccoli (despite their dark side) are a source of vitamin K, which — as we count on BuenaVida — can help people with Alzheimer's to better retain information and progress in verbal expression.
6Y the food that throws everything to waste
This list is not too short. In his book, Mosconi mentions the fast food, the fried foods and, above all, the majority of the processed food. In particular, ultraprocesses full of trans fats (a type of unsaturated fatty acid that is formed when a liquid oil is solidified by hydrogenation, a process that extends the life of food) and refined sugars.
Several studies have shown that people who consume two grams a day of trans fats have twice the risk of greater cognitive impairment and dementia than those who eat less than this amount.