Can eating a particular food make you smarter?
What’s healthy and non-healthy for us can be challenging to differentiate nowadays, when there are a lot of options available in the market. Taking advice from everyone and then choosing the right things can be a hard task.
Proper diet leads to a healthy mind and body. We all have heard the famous saying that is ‘you are what you eat’. A healthy diet plays a definitive role in the wellbeing of a person. The quality of diet is the key to get a smart and healthy brain. Our cognitive function is dependant on the quality of the food we consume.
Food that helps in better functioning of the brain includes nuts, berries, vegetables, good fats and fermented food as well.
Relationship of brain function and diet
It has seen that due to the poor diet, the obesity rate has increased. Obesity affects the functioning of the brain. Scientists are researching what kind of foods are capable of improving and impairing the functioning of the brain.
Several studies have revealed that obesity can cause impairments in the functioning of the brain. The functions of the brain that are affected by obesity are decision-making, attention, and short-term memory. People who tend to eat more sugar and saturated fat have poor short-term memory.
The Mediterranean diet is proved to be linked with healthier brain and maintenance of the functioning of the brain. Mediterranean diet consists of whole grains, vegetables, nuts, and healthy fats. This diet insists on altering the use of sugar, saturated fats, and red meat.
What does a healthy diet consist of?
A healthy diet consists of various elements. These particular foods have benefits that boost the cognitive functions of human.
As a person ages, a gradual decline can be seen in cognitive abilities. The thinking processes and memory tend to become weak as the person enters the mature and late adulthood. In this matter, the vegetables are here to rescue you. They slow the process of forgetfulness.
All the veggies are very beneficial in this case. Still, the ones belonging to cruciferous (Brassicaceae) family are more beneficial due to their properties, such as having high vitamin, fibre, folate, and potassium content. This family includes kale, rocket, cauliflower, broccoli, and brussels sprouts.
Nutritional powerhouse is the name given to the dark leafy green vegetables. Broccoli and Spinach help to protect cognitive and age-related problems. Green vegetables are considered a great source of iron. Iron is known as the essential mineral that lowers the fatigue. Iron tends to transport oxygen throughout the body. If enough iron is not present in your body, then the body won’t be able to make enough oxygen-carrying red blood cells.
When one’s blood does not have enough red blood cells, then the person goes through the feeling of fatigue and low-energy.
Berries consist of a large number of antioxidants. Antioxidants forage the harmful free radicals. They also lower the risk of many diseases, such as cancers and heart diseases. They have memory and mood-enhancing abilities.
There are several studies done in older people and rats that show that diets consisting of berries tend to improve memory. In 2012, a study was conducted that revealed a higher intake of strawberries and blueberries slow the rate of cognitive decline, especially in older adults.
Nuts contain a large amount of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats along with vitamins and minerals. Nuts can improve memory and learning. This has been proven by several studies conducted on animals. If humans consume the nuts in the Mediterranean-style diet, then it is established to improve the capacity of verbal reasoning and memory.
The Mediterranean-style diet consists of the food such as avocadoes, olive oil, oily fish and some amount of the fats obtained from animals, i.e. red meat. Various experiments have been done on rats that revealed saturated fats high in sugar leads to memory impairments. In contrast, the polyunsaturated fats that are high in oil do not cause memory impairments.
The results suggest that consuming food that is high in sugar and animal-based fats tends to cause negative impacts on the cognition.
Fermentation is the process that has been extensively used by humans to increase the shelf-life of foods. The method of fermentation increases the bacteria known as Lactobacillus. Lactobacillus is beneficial for human health.
It produces lactic acid in humans. Lactobacillus prevents diarrhoea and cholesterol. It can also prevent vaginal infections and eczema.
Some of the popular fermented foods are miso, kimchi, kombucha, kefir, sauerkraut, and yoghurt. Consuming these food items tend to maintain the gut. The gut microbiota plays an essential role in cognition.
Poor diet leads to the less diversity of the gut microbiota. Experiments on rats have revealed that an unhealthy diet leads to cognitive impairments. The western-style food is high in fats and sugar that leads to variation in the gut microbiome. When the gut microbiome is disturbed, then cognitive health is altered.
The researchers of Harvard University suggested the line between brain function and dark chocolate. The researchers studied the effects of cocoa. They emphasized on flavanol that is a natural compound present in the cocoa beans. The study was conducted on 60 people who were between the age limit of 67 and 77 years. They were supposed to drink hot cocoa twice a day for about a month.
The results showed that chocolate boosted the brain’s ability to work. Chocolate increases the brain’s blood supply when there’s the increased blood supply of the brain, and then the brain works better and fast.
Salmon is known to be enriched with omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for brain performance. Several types of research have revealed that the deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids leads to mood swings, poor memory, and fatigue. These essential fatty acids are not made in the body, so it is important to intake these through food.
Wild salmon is preferred over the farmed salmon, and it consists of a higher amount of omega-3s. If you cannot get your hands on salmon, then try halibut or tuna. They also include a good level of omega-3s.
The cholesterol present in eggs is a bit of concern but eating one egg a day is safe and healthy. In the year 2017, a study was conducted by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the result of the study depicted that eggs boost brainpower. The benefit is mainly due to choline, and it is an essential nutrient that plays an important role in metabolization. A person who consumes eggs is immune to dementia.
Why is it essential to maintain a balanced diet?
Your diet plays a significant role in the performance of your body. One food group cannot provide you with all the benefits. It is essential to take a varied and balanced diet to maintain good health. Eating fruits and vegetables leads to good mental and physical health. People consuming a certain amount of fruits and vegetable in their diet feel less worried and happier.
The EAT-Lancet report is recently published that insist on consuming the Mediterranean diet that consists of vegetables, whole grains, fruits, dairy, nuts, and healthy fats. Adopting such a diet will reduce food waste and will lower environmental damage. It will also safeguard the human’s health.