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The human body is pretty much a marvel and a mystery. Our heart is constantly beating, our lungs are constantly expanding and relaxing as we breathe, and our joints are being directed to move. However, no organ compares to the human brain in terms of complexity.
This three-pound organ sits inside the neural cavity. The human brain controls every function that occurs in the body; in a way, the brain is responsible for maintaining ‘humanity.’ Your actions, thoughts, and emotions are all generated inside of the brain and then it generates appropriate responses to bring about a reaction.
All in all, brain functioning is referred to as your cognitive ability. Cognitive ability is defined as the mental process of acquiring and understanding through thoughts and reasonable deductions.
A decline in your brain's thinking, learning, and understanding capacity is manifested in the form of cognitive decline. Common medical conditions associated with this are Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, depression, and anxiety.
Cognitive decline is a manifestation of several medical conditions, but it is also a part of the body’s natural process i.e aging. In short, you cannot avoid losing a few brain cells as you cross your sixties.
However, studies have shown that adolescents as young as fourteen and fifteen have been experiencing early-onset symptoms of cognitive decline. Damage to your brain is often unrepairable.
The question is, how can you boost your brainpower? There are understandably complex procedures and rigorous exercises you could follow to improve your brain’s power. However, sometimes all you need is where you’re least likely to look: the pantry.
Food and nutrition are necessary for sustenance; a part of which is your thinking capacity. Your brain, whilst weighing only three pounds, consumes a major portion of your daily caloric intake. Food can make a difference.
Besides alcohol and tobacco, nothing that we particularly ‘consume’ has been incriminated in bringing about a negative effect on your cognitive ability. There are, however, several food groups that have been lauded for improving your thinking capacity.
These foodstuffs are adequately termed as ‘super-foods.’
Caffeine has been linked to several health benefits in adolescents and the elderly. The chemical compound has been researched well enough to classify it as a super-food. Caffeine helps in:
Entropy, complex and viable brain activity, is also said to increase in people who drink coffee regularly compared to those who do not. Coffee is a known mood booster. It accomplishes this by blocking adenosine, a chemical compound generated in your brain that makes you sleepy.
Cognitive benefits of coffee include:
60% of your brain is made up of fat and nearly half of this is omega-3 fats. Omega 3 fats consist of a group of fats referred to as essential fats, something your body needs external sources of and cannot generate itself.
Fatty fish includes salmon, albacore tuna, and mackerel that are high in omega-3 fatty acids. The fat obtained from oily fish can supplement increased memory functioning, alertness, and boost your brains’ cognitive abilities.
While research is still being conducted on the improved benefits of fatty fish for brain activity, concurrent research shows an increased likelihood of developing anxiety and depression in people who do not consume enough omega-3s.
The list of benefits for fruits and vegetables is practically endless. Fruits and vegetables are rich in polyphenols - phytochemicals that are categorized as either flavonoids or non-flavonoids.
Polyphenols have been linked directly with improved cognitive abilities.
Eggs comprise a part of any normal, healthy breakfast. They are also linked with improving brain functioning and activity. Eggs contain a long list of nutrients, including:
Another important nutrient that eggs are known to be the major source of is choline. Choline helps in producing acetylcholine, a chemical neurotransmitter that helps in maintaining your brains’ normal functioning. Adequate intake of choline is 425 mg per day for most women and 550 mg per day for men, with just a single egg yolk containing 112 mg.
Turmeric has been aptly referred to as the ‘golden’ spice. This name isn’t attributed solely to its rich yellow color but to the plethora of benefits linked with the spice.
The active compound in turmeric, curcumin, has strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits that can help in improving cognitive functioning. Currently, research is being done to demonstrate a link between turmeric and the reduced likelihood of depression and Alzheimer’s.
Some proven benefits of turmeric for brain functioning include:
It is taught by the medical community that our food impacts our digestive and heart health, but it is essential to understand it also contributes to our brain health.
The brain, just like the rest of the cells in the body, needs food to produce energy, which ensures that it can function optimally. The brain controls every other system in the body, so we mustn't just eat food to maintain our physique.
Our brain health should matter as much as our gut health and heart health. It is vital to supply our brain with food to boost its ability and capacity not just today, but also to protect and support the brain long-term.
Foods that have anti-inflammatory properties, like those high in antioxidants, support memory and boost brain development. However, there is no cure or absolute preventative measure for cognitive decline due to age.
The decline in brain function and capacity is just a normal part of the aging process. However, research is now showing that a healthy and well-rounded diet can decrease the likelihood of premature memory decline.
More factors can contribute to the possibility of cognitive dysfunction, such as genetics and chronic medical conditions. These particular factors cannot be influenced.
Interestingly enough, the same foods that can positively influence heart function can also boost brain function. So, consuming a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids and foods high in vitamin B can be beneficial, in addition to antioxidants and other anti-inflammatory foods.
Signs of impaired cognitive abilities might manifest themselves in early adolescence. In this case, it is vital to consult a physician or an expert immediately. The physician will conduct basic cognitive function tests to establish a baseline of the patient’s cognitive ability.