What Kinds of Nutrients Does Your Brain Need?

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That noggin of yours needs the right kind of fuel.

The human brain is, at least as far as our current level of technology goes, the most advanced computing device on the face of the Earth. It can hold a lifetime of memories, perform calculations immediately, and even dream up impossible images. But much like how a traditional desktop computer is powered by electricity and a cooling mechanism, your brain needs particular kinds of nutrients to do its job properly. It is undoubtedly the most important organ in the body (especially because it literally contains the entirety of what makes you you), so you should endeavor to give it what it wants.

You know why fish is considered “brain food?” Because fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 helps to keep your brain sprightly and youthful, kinda like collagen for the skin. Studies show that a steady intake of omega-3 helps to stave off the aging process in the brain, helping you to stay sharp and cognizant even into old age.

How about B vitamins? B vitamins are often overlooked as far as your brain is concerned, but as it turns out, vitamin B12 is actually one of the most important. B12 aids in the creation of serotonin, a neurotransmitter chemical that helps to regulate your mood. Those with a deficiency of B12 in their bodies are often at greater risk of developing clinical depression. While we’re on the subject of vitamins, vitamin E is also very important, as it protects your brain from oxidative stress. Oxidative stress puts pressure on your brain and skull, which is why a vitamin E deficiency is often associated with headaches, memory loss, and fatigue.

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But perhaps the first and foremost nutrient for the brain is amino acids. While B12 aids in the creation of serotonin, amino acids are the building blocks from which neurotransmitters are even created. No amino acids means no serotonin or dopamine. Both of those neurotransmitters are vital in keeping your mood even and upbeat; without them, you’ll turn into a depressed lump on the floor.

Talk to your doctor if you think you might be deficient in one of these nutrients. They may recommend you take some supplements, though you might just need to eat more fish.