Tuesday, 01 August 2017 18:13

Nutrients for Brain Health

The best nutrients for brain health (and how to get them)
 
There are so many nutrients that you need for overall health. Vitamins, minerals, probiotics, and essential fats, just to name a few.
 
But which ones are the most important for your brain? 
 
Which nutrients can help with brain development of infants, improve moods, and reduce the risk of dementias like Alzheimer’s?
 
Yes, of course, you need an array of nutrients! But, there are five real brain health “winners” here.
 
Let’s go over the brain boosting benefits of omega-3s, vitamin D, B vitamins, magnesium, and probiotics.
 
OMEGA-3s
 
Omega-3s are a type of essential fat. They are arguably the most important nutrients for brain health. 
 
If you take away the water weight, your brain is 60% fat. And 25% of this fat is omega-3s; in particular, the omega-3 called “DHA” (docosahexaenoic acid).
 
Omega-3s have many functions in the brain, for example, they help nerve cells insulate their electrical signals, stabilize their membranes, and reduce inflammation.
 
Omega-3s are critical for baby’s brain development. Getting enough omega-3s during pregnancy can help improve baby’s intelligence and reduce the risk of behavioural problems. 
 
People who regularly eat and/or have higher blood levels of omega-3s are less likely to be depressed. And several studies have shown that when people with mood swings, depression, or anxiety start taking omega-3 supplements, some of their symptoms improve.
 
In terms of age-related mental decline, studies also show that people with higher Omega-3 intakes have a lower risk of Alzheimer’s.
 
OK - They’re great for brain health, but how do I get enough omega-3s?
 
You can get the recommended amount of omega-3s, including DHA, from eating two servings of fatty fish each week.
 
Simple! Have a wild salmon steak and a shrimp stir fry one week. Then have some smoked mackerel and baked cod another week.
 
In terms of supplements, as little as 0.5 grams (500 mg) of fish oil each day is enough for most people to get the minimum recommended levels. Many fish oil supplements come in 1 g (1,000 mg) doses, and that may be just fine on a daily basis (check your labels to make sure).
Published in Deanna's Blog