A study conducted by researchers at the University of Illinois and published in the journal neuroimage, has a high degree of certain associated nutrients in the blood with a better connection between neurons and an improvement in intellectual abilities.
The research, which involved 116 healthy people over the age of 65, focused on 32 key nutrients in the body Mediterranean cuisinewhich previous research has linked to better brain function and healthy aging.
The 8 nutrients that improve your brain function
Physicians Christopher Zwilling and Aron Barbey found that the synergistic effects of some of these nutrients were associated with a better brain health and cognition. These nutrients are the following:
- omega-3 fatty acids, found in foods like flax and chia seeds and oil and nuts (as well as fish). It is recommended to consume at least 2 g of this type of fat daily (this amount is contained in a tablespoon of flaxseed oil or crushed seeds or 7 nuts).
- omega-6 fatty acids, can be found, for example, in corn, sunflowers, pumpkin seeds and pistachios. They should be consumed in sufficient quantities, but not in excess, as they inhibit the effects of omega-3 fatty acids and can have an inflammatory effect.
- carotenoids, found in yellow, red, and orange foods like carrots, sweet potatoes, and apricots. They are also often found in green vegetables.
- lycopene, a carotenoid found primarily in tomatoes and to a lesser extent in watermelon. Homemade tomato sauce is an excellent source of lycopene, which is largely absorbed thanks to the oil.
- riboflavin or vitamin B2, which, in addition to foods of animal origin, is also found in vegetables such as green leafy vegetables, legumes, whole grain products, mushrooms and nuts such as almonds.
- folic acid, It is found in green leafy vegetables such as lettuce or spinach, legumes and fruits such as oranges. Consuming two or three servings of these foods daily will ensure that enough is being consumed. Paying attention to this nutrient is particularly important before and during pregnancy.
- B12 vitamin, contained in foods of animal origin (meat, fish and dairy products). Vegetarians get it with supplements. It is important for nervous system health.
- Vitamin D, obtained mainly by its synthesis in the skin exposed to the sun. Some foods of animal origin and sun-dried mushrooms provide small amounts. In order to get a sufficient amount, the skin of the face and arms should be exposed to the sun without cream for 15-30 minutes a day.
A study with pioneering methods
The study is particularly valuable because the association was made from very accurate blood tests, not through food consumption surveys. Y brain function the participant was followed with functional magnetic resonance imaging instead of just cognitive testing.
Analysis of the revealed data a strong connection between high concentrations of the mentioned nutrients, better scores on the tests and increased neural connection activity.
Omega-3 fatty acids increase intelligence
And among the nutrients, he highlighted the importance of the trio Omega-3, Omega-6 and carotenoids. In particular, omega-3 fatty acids strengthen the frontoparietal neural networks, which is reflected in general intelligence, the ability to concentrate and goal-oriented behavior.
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