You may be an expert at multi-tasking, juggling to-do lists like a real pro and you may even run circles around a lot of other people. Yet you may find that having to switch gears constantly and the drive to stay at the top, can be leading to brain drain regarded as serious.
While making sure you are getting more than enough sleep every night is one of the best ways to reboot, it is also important to refuel by eating foods that are nutrient-rich, which will assist you when it comes to improving your problem-solving and decision-making skills, along with your memory and your focus.
Matt Kuchan, PhD, states that we are only starting to understand more clearly, the impacts that nutrition has on memory and learning. Kuchan is one of the discovery scientists and a global leader for Abbott’s partnership for the Center of Nutrition Learning and Memory based at the University of Illinois. He explains that their research covers infancy onto adulthood, which has really brought to life how important nutrition is when it comes to creating brain connections that are strong, as well as helping people to preserve their memories and to stay focused, which ultimately preserves what and who we actually are.
Fortunately, research has gone onto show that there are a number of nutrients along with nutrient combinations which can help. If you are in search of an additional brain boost, or you are looking for a way to stay on top of things, here is a list of six brain-healthy nutrients, along with the food types that contain them.
1 and 2: Lutein and Zeaxanthin
More known for its skin health, cardiovascular health and eye health benefits, Lutein is classified as a carotenoid which is starting to become increasingly recognised for the benefits it has on brain health when it comes to individuals of any age.
An example of this includes one of the latest studies conducted by Abbott, where it was proven that the older people that eat more lutein typically have improved crystalized intelligence and the abilities to use and retain information that they have acquired over their life-span.
You shouldn’t have to wait until you reach your own golden-years in order to reap the advantages that lutein has to offer. The additional research which is (found here and here) has suggested that a combination of zeaxanthin and lutein can assist when it comes to processing memory and speed in all ages.
This is one of the antioxidants which is found in many foods like blueberries and apples. It is recognised historically for treating heart diseases and high-cholesterol along with the circulation-related diseases. In one of the latest preclinical studies conducted by Abbott it has shown that when it is combined with various other brain nutrients of importance, quercetin can also assist in delaying the decrease in cognitive health.
4. Natural Vitamin E
Found naturally in certain areas in our brain which are linked with development, language, vision and memory, natural Vitamin E is an extremely powerful antioxidant which complements lutein in the way of protecting the DHA from the free radicals in our surrounding environments, which includes air pollution along with ultraviolet radiation emitted from the rays of the sun. In one of the more recent studies, Abbott has shown that the brain will favour natural Vitamin E opposed to synthetic Vitamin E. When you look at food labels, look out for natural Vitamin E, which is usually shown as d-alpha tocopherol or d-a-tocopherol.
5 and 6: Omega-3 Fatty Acids and DHA
Often known as the “good” fat, the omega 3-fatty acids play a vital role when it comes to preserving our cognitive functions as well as slowing down the ageing of the brain. In a new study from Abbott (here), it was discovered that the adults that are older that show a risk to the late-onset of Alzheimer’s disease, the people who eat more omega-3 fatty acids performed better when compared to their peers for tests involving cognitive flexibility and the abilities to switch efficiently between tasks.
Kuchan states that it is important to know that unlike many nutrients, omega 3-fatty acids are not found naturally in the body, like the other nutrients. For this reason, it becomes very important that you incorporate foods that are high in omega-3s.
In addition, certain studies have shown that an increased intake of DHA which is known as docosahexaenoic acid, which is known as an omega-3 fatty acid happens to be essential for cognitive functions, which is linked to improved abilities to use and access information.