Several gut hormones that can enter the brain, or that are produced in the brain itself, influence cognitive ability. In addition, well-established regulators of synaptic plasticity,
such as brain-derived neurotrophic factor, can function as metabolic modulators, responding to peripheral signals such as food intake. Understanding the molecular basis of the effects of food on cognition will help us
to determine how best to manipulate diet in order to increase the resistance of neurons to insults and promote mental fitness.
Although food has classically been perceived as a means to provide energy and building material to the body, its ability to prevent and protect against diseases is starting to be recognized. In particular, research over the past 5 years has provided exciting evidence for the influence of dietary factors on specific molecular systems and mechanisms that maintain mental function.
For instance, a diet that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids is garnering appreciation for supporting cognitive processes in humans1 and upregulating genes that are important for maintaining synaptic function and plasticity in rodents2. In turn, diets that are high in saturated fat are becoming notorious for reducing molecular substrates that support cognitive processing and increasing the risk of neurological dysfunction in both humans3 and animals4.
Although these studies emphasize an important effect of food on the brain, further work is necessary to determine the mechanisms of action and the conditions for therapeutic applications in humans.
Solving crossword puzzles and sudokus may help to keep the brain alive, but they are not the whole answer. So, what will protect the brain from ageing?
You have to eat the right foods. We’ve all been told by our parents to eat fish because that is brain food. Our parents were not wrong, but eating certain fish is better for the brain than any old fish.
Another advantage to eating food that is good for the brain is that it is also good for the heart.
Besides fish, what else should be eaten that will protect the delicate nerve cells and blood-vessels from the damage that often goes hand in hand with ageing?
Why not include the foods listed below in your daily diet?
Fish – What Fish?
Herring, Sardines and Salmon are all oily fishes. The oil we get from these fishes is full of omega 3 fatty acids. Therefore, the more omega 3 there is in the blood the higher the level of serotonin. Serotonin is a mood enhancer. It can give you that feel-good feeling.
In a test run by the Rush Institute for healthy ageing in Chicago, USA it was found that people who had a fish meal even only once a week are less likely to suffer with Alzheimer’s Disease than those who don’t eat fish.
Eat Your Vegetables
Homocysteines are chemicals that are a normal part of protein metabolism. But too much homocysteine is not good for you. It brings on Dementia and also increases heart disease.
How can you keep homocysteines at a reasonable level? By eating dark-green vegetables for example Broccoli and Curly Kale.
Fruit Can Also Be Good For You and Your Brain
Sweet wild blueberries are full of anti-oxidants. Anti-oxidants are the good guys that get rid of the free radicals in the body. How do these free radicals get into the body? You don’t have to be a smoker to inhale passive nicotine. If you walk in the street, cars, buses and motorbikes are giving off petrol or diesel fumes. And as you breathe in, you are breathing in pollutants that are not good for your health.
There are some chemicals in blueberries that help keep the arteries in good condition; this in turn can prevent high blood pressure.
If blueberries are difficult to buy at your local greengrocers, most supermarkets stock tinned blueberries.
Popeye Sort of Had The Right Idea
While Popeye took spinach to give him bulging muscles so he could get the better of his enemies, we should take spinach to improve the functioning of our brains. It makes sense, as the brain is also a muscle.
A salad with spinach has more than three times the folate as a salad with lettuce.
Brown Rice Is Better Than White Rice
Switch to brown rice instead of white. This will improve your intake of nutrients. Brown rice is filled with vitamins and magnesium, which seem to play a large part in improving the brain’s function.
Whole grains contain Vitamin B6, which aids in reducing homocysteine levels. People often don’t have enough Vitamin B6, this is because they usually eat processed food.
Grape Juice Is Best?
Grape Juice is the better choice than red wine. It has an abundance of anti-oxidants. In fact, it has more anti-oxidants than any other fruit, vegetable or juice.
Now Popeye’s Girl Friend Olive Oil
Olive Oil the main ingredient of the Mediterranean Diet is good for your heart.
So, go with Popeye and Olive Oil and enjoy a healthy heart.
Hot Cocoa Is More Than Just A Good Night Drink
It has been found that two tablespoons of cocoa powder is almost twice as strong as red wine, two to three times stronger than green tea and four to five times stronger than black tea.
The anti-oxidants in hot cocoa protect the brain cells from oxidative stress that can lead to Alzheimer’s and other disorders.
Garlic Is Good For More Than Scaring Off Vampires
Garlic also has Anti-Oxidant properties. However, it also contains Anti-Bacterial and Anti-Viral compounds that help shake off stress induced colds and infections.
Raw crushed garlic is best, but although cooked garlic is less powerful, it still is good for the heart.
Nuts To You
Almonds and Walnuts are full of Anti-Oxidants. They have been found to lower blood cholesterol levels because of their monounsaturated fat content. This means they don’t make you put on weight. Walnuts are rich in omega 3’s.