We know that a balanced diet filled with fruits, vegetables and whole grains sets the foundation for a healthy body and a healthy brain. But in order for your brain to function properly and stay healthy, you need to get more of certain nutrients from foods. Doing so will help keep your mind sharp even as you age.
Below are three key nutrients for better brain power:
1. Vitamin C
Your brain has about 86 billion cells called neurons that communicate with each other through chemical messengers. Also known as neurotransmitters, these chemicals transmit messages from neurons to muscles. They also affect your ability to focus and remember and even influence your mood.
Research shows that vitamin C is essential for the production of neurotransmitters. It also helps make you happy. A recent study showed that people who supplemented with vitamin C reported feeling happier after a week than those who didn’t take vitamin C supplements.
The reason for this is that your brain needs vitamin C to make neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin that regulate mood. Low levels of vitamin C, dopamine and serotonin are common among people with mood disorders like depression.
Plus, vitamin C may help protect your neurons from damage and oxidative stress caused by unstable molecules called free radicals. High levels of oxidative stress are usually linked to neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease. Read more…