Reduced to the most basic understanding, cognition is our ability to think. But about what and are we always conscious of what we think? There are a variety of factors involved in cognitive functioning such as: memory, attention, perception, coordination and reasoning. (1) These abilities are natural and can be fine tuned through reading, cross word puzzles and memory games but this article is going to tell you what you can eat in order to care for your brain.
A conscientious eater for cognitive function.
Thiamin-In a double blind study those who took 50mg of thiamine vs. a placebo reported being more clear headed. (2) These foods among others contain thiamin: lentils, green peas, long grain brown rice and whole wheat bread.
Riboflavin- For people suffering with migraines, a study revealed that supplementing with 400mg of riboflavin per day decreased migraines by 50%. (2) These foods among others contain riboflavin: milk, cheese, eggs and almonds.
Niacin- A study of 3700 people revealed that those with the lowest niacin intake were 70% more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. (2)These foods among others contain niacin: chicken, tuna, turkey and salmon.
Folic acid- also known as folate, has mixed reviews. Not enough can definitely increase risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and supplementing with 800mg may help memory but very high levels are also bad too and can increase risk for Alzheimer’s disease. (2) These foods among others contain folate: asparagus, lentils, garbanzo and lima beans.
B 12- A deficiency of this vitamin also known cobalamin, is associated with cognitive decline. However current studies do not reveal if B 12 alone or in combination is responsible for the improved cognition resulting from adequate intake. (3) These foods among others contain vitamin B 12: clams, beef liver, trout, salmon and tuna.
There are a variety of other plant nutrients, vitamins and minerals that are also essential to brain health. Make sure you eat foods containing: iron, zinc, selenium, vitamin D, vitamin E and the amino acids tryptophan and tyrosine. (2) The beauty of food is there are a variety of nutrients found in many different foods and it really is in the synergy of these foods that teilds the most potent nutrient power.
- (2016, February 10). Retrieved June 23, 2017, from https://www.cognifit.com/cognitive-assessment/cognitive-test
- Mahan, L. K., & Raymond, J. L. (2017). Krauses food & the nutrition care process. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.
- Office of Dietary Supplements – Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Vitamin B12. (n.d.). Retrieved June 23, 2017, from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-HealthProfessional/