We often underestimate the power and influence of our diet. We think food is just made to sustain our bodies for our day-to-day affairs. But food can have such great healing and wellness properties that it can help you up your game and improve physical and mental aspects of your body. Do you realize, for instance, that you can eat your way to a smarter, better you?
Clean eating focuses on consuming foods whole, raw and natural, with none of the additives and processing that spoil this unadulterated state. Clean eating also ensures that nutrients that boost brain power and cognitive functions get to your system and keep you sharp and focused. The brain, after all, is a complex network of 100 billion nerve cells that requires the right nutrition and environmental factors to perform well.
There is a wealth of key nutrients needed for you to become smarter, but here's a rundown of them based on the different phases of life, according to Express UK.
Childhood and teenage years
By age 5 or 6, brain growth has already been completed, although the process of maturation continues and makes an optimal supply of vitamins and minerals necessary. Omega-3 fats have been shown to benefit school children in their reading tests, and a deficiency in them has been linked to conditions such as ADHD, dyslexia and autism spectrum disorders. In teens, the brain continues to amass the omega-3 acid DHA.
Apart from improving your omega-3 fat intake, experts advise that you should go easy on saturated fats and sugar, which have been shown in animal studies to lead to impaired neural ability in the hippocampus.
Age 20s to 30s
Brain development has been demonstrated to continue until around age 25, with suggestions that wisdom indeed comes with age, but a lot earlier than expected. Given this, vitamin E found in nuts and avocado may assist in warding off depressive feelings, while fruits and vegetables support vascular health, which factors in the onset of dementia. Of course, there's physical exercise and smart lifestyle choices to keep the brain in its peak performance.
Did you know that early onset dementia is becoming far more common today than previously thought? Memory loss and failing cognition are a real scourge and they can strike in middle age. As such, a higher intake of omega-3s may prove beneficial, while magnesium - mostly found in nuts, beans and whole grains - may help enhance memory.
As your age increases, your brain shrinks and all sorts of changes happen in the organ. Thus, it is crucial to stock up on vitamins A, C and E, as well as selenium, to reduce brain inflammation and cognitive decline. DHA and EPA, too, have been found to significantly improve episodic memory, the decline in which has been a common complaint among senior adults.
It's never too late to implement smart, sustainable ways to power up your brain and your cognitive abilities.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on Lumonol. It has been republished here with permission.
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