Updating brain health is essential to ensure quality of life and healthy aging. However, this is not an easy task, but some resources, including food, can contribute to this goal.
To keep your brain young and healthy, you need to eat good food, which means a diet rich in vitamins, especially B vitamins, notes Harvard Medical School nutritional psychiatrist Uma Naidoo.
Naidoo is the author of This Is Your Brain on Food, a guide to foods that help the body and brain function. She claims that the best vitamin to cover various aspects related to brain health is the B vitamin.
Vitamin B and Brain Health
In an interview with BBC News Mundo, the BBC’s Spanish service, the nutritional psychiatrist mentioned that there are 8 types of B vitamins, which have benefits beyond the brain, but contribute in some way to brain development.
“Some are directly related to the brain, like vitamins B-12, B-9, and B-1. Others help with much-needed bodily functions, like blood cell formation.”
Vitamin B1, called thiamin, helps with basic cell functions and the metabolism of various nutrients to help us get energy. A low level of thiamine can lead to impaired cognitive function, as well as other problems in the body.
Vitamin B12, or cobalamin, is necessary for the formation of red blood cells and DNA, but it also supports the nervous system, brain development and function. It does more specific things, like helping break down homocysteine, a heart-damaging protein that can also lead to a form of dementia.
“One of my favorite foods that I talk about all the time is vitamin B9, folic acid. It’s involved in neurotransmitter activity, DNA formation, and cellular detoxification,” says Naidoo.
The professional points out that a low level of folic acid is also associated with a bad mood. Therefore, adding foods that are often rich in natural folic acid, such as green leafy vegetables, to the menu promotes good mood and mental health.
Foods to Include on the Plate
Naidoo lists some foods that can contribute to brain health:
grains such as beans, lentils, and legumes;
- Plain Yogurt
- Sunflower Seed.
A nutritional psychologist highlights the importance of a healthy and balanced diet. “Don’t just eat beans, and don’t just eat green leafy vegetables, because you’ll miss out on the other seven B vitamins,” she warns.
“When it comes to vitamins, the belief that eating or drinking more will be more beneficial is a myth,” adds the expert. Naidoo stresses the importance of eating only the recommended amount and maintaining a good diet.