Healthy Eating, Healthy Brain

Fatty acids, vitamins and minerals – Our brain uses no less than 20 percent of our energy. Specific nutrients are necessary for proper brain development and functioning. By eating the right thing you keep your brain in top condition.

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Much research is being conducted into the effect of specific foods on the brain. Not every connection is equally clear, in some cases there are only indications and with many foods the direct effect on the brain is still unknown.

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Fatty Acids

Fatty acids are indispensable for the structure and functioning of the brain. Especially the unsaturated omega 3 fatty acids DHA and EPA are important. The fatty acids are part of the walls of cells and ensure that cells transmit signal to each other. A deficiency therefore leads to poorer communication between brain cells, resulting in less concentration and forgetfulness. There are even indications that too little omega-3 fatty acids are associated with conditions such as depression, ADHD, schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Minerals

Zinc, iodine and iron play a role in the development and functioning of the brain. Especially during growth, a shortage of one of these minerals can lead to disturbances. As a result, a child develops less well.

Iodine is added to bread and sometimes to table salt. It is naturally present in fish and (a little) in eggs. Iron is found in meat, fish, grains, potatoes, legumes and beans. Zinc is found in meat, cheese, grains, bread, nuts, shrimp and mussels.

Alcohol

Some foods have no beneficial effect on the brain at all. Alcohol, drugs and cigarettes make many people feel good, but they are also addictive and can be harmful to the brain. Especially when the brain is still developing. Smoking and drugs often have a negative effect on concentration. Soft drugs can also reduce short-term memory and logical thinking. Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to unconsciousness and destruction of brain cells. In addition, alcohol has a negative effect on sleep patterns.

Caffeine

The effect of caffeine in coffee , tea and cola, among other things , is twofold. Research shows that men who drank three cups of coffee a day had less cognition decline. More coffee does not increase this effect. Too much coffee can even be harmful. There is evidence of a link between coffee and migraines.

Advice

In many cases, extra intake of fatty acids, vitamins or minerals to improve cognition makes little difference. Long-term high doses can even have a negative effect on health. A balanced diet is generally sufficient to get these nutrients. The Mediterranean diet is a good example of a healthy diet, including for the brain. Varied food is also recommended.

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