Are there nutrients that make us smarter? Are there foods that nourish our brain cells particularly well, making them more receptive or efficient? In short, does it make sense to cook or buy special foods for the brain?
Based on current scientific literature, we know that our brain actually responds to what we eat and drink to a much greater extent than previously thought. The brain functions much better when it has the optimum balance of nutrients. Although many companies now market products as being or containing a “brain food”, shoppers have to be careful.
Marketing campaigns suggest that all you have to do is eat the right things, and intelligence and knowledge will follow all on their own, similar to a bodybuilder who achieves larger muscles with protein drinks. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work quite like that. Even bodybuilders still need to train their muscles when they consume high amounts of protein and bodybuilding supplements. It is the same with food for the brain. Although eating well can create conditions for better metabolism and a better supply of cells, this has to be combined with brain training in order to see results. Thus the interaction is crucial. Brain food and brain training – this seems to be a promising combination.
You can’t eat knowledge?
Brain-active nutrients are naturally found in our food – unfortunately, most people don’t know about them. We are all aware of the negative effects of food on our intellectual capacity: A heavy dinner that causes nightmares or a full stomach that makes us tired and sluggish.
The brain consumes more than one-fifth of the body’s daily energy requirements. In order for our brain cells to work efficiently, the body therefore needs sufficient proteins, complex carbohydrates and high-quality fats (omega-3 fatty acids), vitamins, minerals and trace elements. In addition, it is particularly important to drink enough water. Water increases alertness and mental performance!
Unfavorable eating habits can quickly lead to a deficiency of important nutrients and a decrease in mental performance.
Power for the brain
Polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as those found in fish, walnuts and cold-pressed vegetable oils (linseed, rapeseed, hempseed, walnut oil), supply the body with energy and ensure optimum signal transmission between nerve cells.
Since the brain alone consumes 20 percent of the energy supplied to the body, carbohydrates are also key to brain performance. A continuous supply of energy is best provided by complex carbohydrates in the form of whole grains, legumes and vegetables.
Proteins form the basis for hormones and messenger substances that are needed to build up certain neurotransmitters. Information transmitted in the nervous system can be retrieved faster if the brain is supplied with sufficient protein. Proteins that the brain can easily utilize are abundant, for example, in fish, meat, dairy products, oats, nuts and legumes.
In addition to the main components of our food, vitamins, minerals and trace elements are also essential for the brain. Especially some of the B vitamins, vitamin C and vitamin E as well as magnesium, iron, iodine and zinc are important for a well-functioning brain.