Vitamins for Brain
Vitamins for brain? Very important but that is only part of the nutritional answer for your brain.
I have been a fan of the C.H.I.P. or coronary health improvement diet for about 8 years now.
The CHIP program has been implemented by a local Doctor, Roger Greenlaw, at a number of companies, with excellent results for the management of chronic diseases, and the CHIP program advocates eating natural.
In fact, one of my staff members who has a chronic illness has lost over 120 pounds using the CHIP diet.
Watching that process has made me a true believer, and I became even more of a true believe in getting vitamins for brain from natural foods a year or so ago, when I began to read the emerging literature about brain fitness.
Most of those writers, including Simon Evans,Ph.D. and Paul Burghardt,Ph.D., authors of Brainfit for Life say that with attention to what they call the pillars of brain fitness, which are physical exercise, nutrition, including anti oxidants and omega 3 fatty acid, sleep, stress management, and novel learning experiences which can include computerized brain fitness programs, we can increase two recently discovered capacities of the human brain, neurogenesis and neuroplasticity.
Neurogenesis means that you grow new brain cells, and that happens every day, unless I mismanage the pillars of brain fitness, for example, create too many stress hormones.
Neuroplasticity means that the neurons in our brains (and their are neurons all over your body, especially in your heart and gut)are constantly seeking to connect with other neurons, and the end result of that is knowledge.
However the brain is a very energy efficient organ and will delete unused neurons and circuits, so be sure to involve them in novel learning experiences.
So what kind of vitamins really help with neurogenesis and neuroplasticity?
Vitamins Equal Micronutrients
According to Evans and Burghardt, "Micronutrients Are The Unsung Heroes.
The other major components of nutrition are micronutrients. These are typically much smaller than the macronutrients (although not always) and are the vitamins, minerals and other small molecule nutrients that your body needs for its daily duties.
Today we know of 13 essential vitamins, meaning you cannot make these vitamins from scratch and have to get them from your diet. You must also obtain all of the minerals that you need from your diet. Some we require in large amounts, like Calcium, Sodium and Potassium. Others, called trace minerals, we require in smaller amounts, like Zinc, Copper and Manganese.
A high quality multi-vitamin / multi-mineral can help you get all of these in the appropriate doses.
So what do micronutrients actually do? The answer to this question is the subject of volumes of text books, so again, rather than provide an entire thesis on nutrition, we’ll stick to some basic concepts.
In general, micronutrients are supporting actors in most of the hundreds of thousands of processes that go on in all of your cells, all of the time.
While the macronutrients play the starring roles in your biochemistry, they wouldn’t get much done without the micronutrients.
One major role that many micronutrients play is acting as antioxidants to help minimize oxidative damage and oxidative stress, which we previously discussed.
Many vitamins have antioxidant properties to halt free radicals in their tracks.
If you remember, free radicals sometimes escape from the energy production process to start a chain reaction of electron stealing that can cause damage.
Antioxidants have extra electrons to donate to the free radicals so they never get started on their rampage through the cell.
It’s very important to provide a variety of antioxidants so they are always available in different parts of your cells and tissues to halt oxidative stress.
Some do a better job in fat tissue, others are better inside the water part of cells, and others do better floating around in the blood. This is why variety is key.
In fact, the color of fruits and vegetables represents the type of vitamins and antioxidants they contain. If you strive to eat different colored fruits and vegetables every day you will help provide a variety of antioxidant protection.
Many foods, particularly unprocessed foods, contain all three macronutrients and many micronutrients, so they will contribute some portion of what our bodies need.
However,you should try to be aware of what you are eating, even if you think you are eating ‘healthy’ or ‘organic’ because this doesn’t necessarily mean you are getting a good balance of nutrients.
Processed or refined foods are particularly tricky. They can be super-tasty, have a freakishly long shelf life, or be some incredible color never seen naturally on this planet. But in most cases they have had most of the nutritional value removed by the manufacturing process...."
So Get Your Microvitamins from Your Natural Foods
Won't be long until we will be getting all our garden catalogs so you can plan your garden for next year, or maybe you are growing a hydroponic garden in your basement?
Good, the best way to get our vitamins for our brains is to eat our fresh vegetables and fruits.
But don't forget the other pillars of brain fitness, including omega 3 fatty acid and the novel learning experiences.
Novel learning experiences in particular are a key piece of the brain fitness puzzle.
If you are my age, you are concerned about those senior moments when you cannot find a word you want, and if your livihood depends on words, then not being able to recall them will be important.
We can keep our memory intact by incorporating challenges into our daily lives like learning a new instrument or a new language.
If you are like me, you do not have time to learn a new language, and I am not about to put my family through another trombone practice like my son practices, but I can build in time to use computerized brain fitness programs, like Mind Sparke Brain Fitness Pro, the Posit Science Brain Fitness Program, and the Lumosity program, which is a great brain brightener to keep booted up on your computer for a quick practice.
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