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Eating for brain health

A balanced diet has been associated with the reduction of a number of mental disorders. Nutritious food decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease, colon and breast cancer, and obesity, but also diseases such as Alzheimer’s, depression, and anxiety. Nutrition has classically been perceived to provide energy to the body. Nutrition and exercise are therefore used as interventions to reverse these possible negative brain health effects. Nutrition improves both general health and brain functioning (cognitive function) and is influenced through exercise and nutritional interventions.

Nutrition can also substantially influence the development and health of brain structure and function. It provides the proper building blocks for the brain to create and maintain connections, which is critical for improved cognition and academic performance.

Benefits of eating healthy for brain function-

Omega-3 fatty acids provide building material to the brain. They are essential for supporting intercellular signaling events, and therefore positively influence synaptic function. However, diets rich in sugar, saturated fats, or high in calories are considered deleterious for neural function, as they act to elevate levels of oxidative stress and to reduce synaptic plasticity and cognitive functions.

Eating breakfast is associated with several positive effects on the cognitive functioning of well-nourishment. Being overweight and obese may be associated with marked decreases in brain volume and provide a greater understanding of the underlying causes of obesity-related changes in cognitive dysfunction.

Antioxidants which are abundantly found in fresh fruits and vegetables have the potential to protect neurons against injury induced by neurotoxins, an ability to suppress neuroinflammation, and the potential to promote memory, learning, and cognitive function. Dietary-derived flavonoids can improve human memory and neurocognitive performance by

protecting vulnerable neurons, enhancing existing neuronal function, and stimulating neuronal regeneration.

Dehydration results in a change in brain volume, but this response has not been demonstrated in all studies. Dehydration and hyperthermia also appear to result in transient opening of the blood-brain barrier, and this may have implications for the stability of the cerebral environment during exercise. It seems that healthy volunteers exhibit cognitive compensating mechanisms for increased tiredness and reduced alertness during slowly progressive moderate dehydration.

Amino acids play a variety of important biochemical functions in the brain, such as protein synthesis and energy production.

The role of carbohydrates indicates that hypoglycemia affects brain function, and cognitive performance. Carbohydrates have been shown to improve higher intensity exercise performance.

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