The brain is the most important organ of the human body, since the entire functioning of the organism depends on its good performance. When the necessary vitamins and nutrients are not consumed, it is usual that we do not feel with enough energy, fatigued or irritable. It is a condition that can lead us to get sick.
Therefore, most of us do not know what vitamins our brain needs to function properly. Many times we feed ourselves thinking more about the digestive system or our image before the mirror, than in this important organ.
“When the food is bad, the medicine doesn’t work; when the food is good, the medicine is not necessary.”
So there are substances that help us improve memory and concentration. It also reduces the risk of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s. With slight modifications in our diet we could achieve remarkable results at that level.
What are those vitamins that help us take care of the brain?
1. Beta-carotene, one of the best vitamins.
Beta-carotene is one of the vitamins that should never be lacking in the diet. It is a precursor of vitamin A, which is why it is also called “pro-vitamin A”. Its fundamental contribution is to improve memory and contribute to the preservation of brain cells in the long term.
A deficiency in beta-carotene causes serious problems, such as impaired vision or growth arrest in children. This vitamin is found in foods like carrots and squash. Also in fruits such as melon, papaya or mango.
2. Vitamin B1.
The entire B complex brings together the vitamins that are necessary for better brain functioning. The B1, specifically, has excellent results against memory wear. It also helps prevent brain aging and is fantastic for boosting the mood of people suffering from depression.
Vitamin B1 also has the name “Thiamine” and is present in large amounts in the brain and all nerve tissues. It helps in the process of glucose absorption and that is why it is perfect for preserving energy in the body. Also, it supports cardiovascular functions and contributes to better visual health. It is absolutely one of the most complete vitamins.
Vitamin B1 or Thiamine can be found in most meats. Mainly in veal, chicken, pork and fish. It is also present in nuts, whole grain cereals, fruits, and vegetables.
3. Vitamin B6.
B6 is one of the most complete vitamins we can find. It contributes with great benefits to the brain, since it benefits the creation of neurotransmitters such as dopamine, epinephrine, norepinephrine, GABA and acetylcholine. The function of these neurotransmitters is to transmit the signals that are produced in neurons.
- Dopamine is associated with reward circuits. It has great effects on mood.
- Epinephrine and norepinephrine are related to alert systems and intervene in states of anxiety.
- GABA regulates states of restlessness and reduces distress and stress.
- Acetylcholine is involved in memory processes.
In addition, vitamin B6 helps in the absorption of B12, which is one of the determining vitamins for cognitive development. Vitamin B6 deficiency helps the appearance of problems such as obsessions or depression.
It also affects emotional imbalance in general and sleep difficulties. It is present in foods such as wheat germ, rice, potatoes, turkey, beef, chicken, lamb, eggs, milk and dairy products, pork, seafood, lentils, peppers and nuts, among others.
This is another of the B vitamins that, together with B6 and B12, benefit the concrecionan of red blood cells. This helps to make the transport of oxygen faster and facilitates, therefore, the proper functioning of the brain.
Vitamin B9 is also known by the name of “folic acid” or “folate”. It has a fundamental role in mental acuity and in the protection of brain functions. Like B6, it influences the formation of several neurotransmitters. Lack of vitamin B6 aids the occurrence of strokes.
Folic acid can be found in foods like legumes, whole grains, spinach and asparagus, brown rice, and oats. It is also in fruits such as banana, orange, melon and avocado. Almost all nuts contain vitamin B9, mainly peanuts.
5. Vitamin B12.
B12 concludes the group of B vitamins that are totally necessary for excellent brain function. This is actually one of the most paramount. It helps in the formation of cells and fatty acids. It is also essential in the production of various substances. Its action is closely linked to short-term memory and the speed of thought.
Insufficient vitamin B12 leads to memory loss, mental slowness, and negative mood swings. Many researchers link lack of B12 to diseases like Alzheimer’s. Vitamin B12 is in foods like beef, chicken, turkey, and animal organ meats. It’s also in trout, salmon, clams, whole grains, eggs, and dairy products like cheese, yogurt, and the like.
6. Vitamin C.
Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant. Its action protects the brain from oxidative stress and degenerative processes that take place with age. Its role is decisive in preventing the onset of Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
Likewise, vitamin C helps in the absorption process of iron. Which is decisive in functions such as memory and attention. Many people accompany foods with high concentration of iron, with those that have vitamin C, to achieve greater absorption of that element.
Vitamin C is considered a natural antidepressant. It has the ability to help raise levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that determines good mood. This vitamin can be found in all citrus fruits and green vegetables.
7. Other vitamins.
You can also get another wide variety of vitamins that are very important for the proper functioning of the brain.
Of which there is vitamin D, which, like different studies, contributes to the improvement of diseases such as multiple sclerosis and some depressive disorders. This vitamin can be found in fish such as sardines, salmon and tuna, and in mushrooms.
Vitamin K contributes to improving learning and memory functions. It has been revealed that those suffering from Alzheimer’s also have a lack of vitamin K. This component is found in high concentration in broccoli. It’s also in Brussels sprouts, parsley, green leafy vegetables, asparagus, celery, and fermented foods.
Finally, vitamin E and foods that include Omega-3 acids also make great contributions to brain health. The former is an excellent antioxidant, while the latter help increase the plasticity of the brain. In both cases, the effect is greater protection against degenerative processes and a sharpening of cognitive functions.
Nutrition is a determining presence in our lives. A large part of health and disease has to do with the way we eat. It is essential to take care of that fact and implement intelligent nutrition in our lives.
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