Ever being called stupid? You are not alone, in fact according to American statistic, close to 70% of American have experience verbal abuse at least once and the most common words used in verbal abuse? Stupid. Stupid is defined as lack of intelligence or common sense or perhaps it’s just doing the right thing at the wrong time. It’s suck to be called stupid infront of everyone else, especially among your colleague or worst still, infront of your crush. But being stupid is not permanent as studies have shown that our brain power can be boosted just by simply giving it the nutrients it needed. And here’s 10 brain nutrients that is scientifically proven to boost your brain capabilities. Eat them and wow the people around with your new found intelligence.
According to researcher from Department of Nutrition, School of Public Health in University of Carolina. They discovered our brain cell wall is made of almost entirely of a type of fats called phospholipids. And to make plenty of phospholipids and to keep our brain cell wall thick and sturdy, we will need this brain nutrient known as choline. Choline acts as a precursor which is like a supervisor directing different cell machinary to help your brain cell manufacture phospholipids. Phospholipids are critical to brain function becase they are used extensively to make your brain cell wall. And your brain cell wall are like rubber casing around copper wires. Thick and sturdy brain cell wall allows electrical impulses to travel from one brain cell to another because brain cell wall acts an electrical impulses, This prevent electrical signals from “jumping” out and getting lost or prevent other stray electrical impulses from corrupting other electrical impulses. And for those who lack choline in their diet, researcher have found that these people have much slower reaction time and in the worst case, some are blind since electrical impulses from their eyes cannot reach the brain.
Also, choline is one of the ingredient needed to make acetylcholine which funtion as a neurotransimitter. It’s important to have healthy level of neurotransimitter because your nerves can be as long as 2 meters and electrical impulses tend to fade after travelling for a distance. And the purpose of neurotransimitter is to re-amplify fading electrical signals so it can reach its target brain cell in a good shape. Neurotrasmitter like acetylcholine are stored in high concentration at the tips of your nerves. When electrical impulses reaches the tip of your nerves, neurotransimitter like acetylcholine is being secreted across the gap between the tip of a nerve and another, resulting in a much stronger electrical impulse to be fired down another nerve. Neurotransimitter is like electrical signals booster and thus preventing electrical impulses from fading after travelling for long distance.
Good sources of Choline: Eggs, shrimps and scallops
DHA stands for docosahexaenoic acid. It’s a type of omega-3 fatty acids and it’s an incredibly important nutrients for your brain. Why? It’s so simple becaue more than 50% of your your brain cell membrane is made of DHA. Recent studies have shown that your brain is still very much capable of producing new brain cells to replace dead or damaged ones. And DHA is a critcal nutrients to manufacture new brain cells. Furthermore, for brain cells that are damaged, DHA is only needed to repair them and keep them functional and help you maintain your cognitive capabilities. In a recent studies, Researchers have shown that dietary supplement of DHA can improve memory and learning capability of children.
Also, in three separate cases of severe brain injuries, three patients were given the death penalty by their doctors but not when their family secretly fed them high amount of fish oil. Fish oils contains high level of DHA. The three patient miraculously survived the ordeal, recover and it’s very much normal within a year. Read more here.
Sources of DHA: Fish like Tuna and wild salmon. Vegetarians can consider spinach, kale and collard greens, and cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and cauliflower.
B-vitamins is a class of 9 different nutirents. Each of these nutrients have different functions and is critical for the overall well-being of your body including your brain. Some of the b-vitamines like Thiamin are crucial for the breakdown of carbohydrates into sugar. This help maintain blood sugar level as sugar is the primary fuel for the brain.
Other nutrients like riboflavin help to transform those sugar into ATP(andenosine triphosphate) which is a type of energy-carring molecules which is used directly by your brain cell machinary to perform their functions. These nutrients is all the more needed considering how your brain is only 3% of your body weight but consume up to 20% of your daily calories intake. And that number will go higher when you are doing intensive cognitive task like learning and memorization. You will definitely need these B-Vitamins to help you release more energy from your food and fat reserve for your brain to power ahead.
Good sources of B-vitamins: Shellfish(cooked), beef liver, mackerel and crabs.
Typtophan is a type of amino acids that cannot be produced by our body and must be obtained from our diet. Tryptophan are important because they are precursor for the synthesis of Dopamine and Serotonin(neurotransmitter) and these two neurotransmitters are a type of reward transmitter and healthy level of dopamine can help you improve your mood, help you to sleep better and maintain important brain structure to help you lock in memories and aids learning.
Good sources of Tryptophan: Poultry meat, milk, cheese
Tyrosine is a type of amino acid that acts as prescursor which direct cell machines to manufactures neurotransmitters like Dopamine. And in a research done by the US Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine. They found that stressful environment like desert and artic areas can cause a depletion of neurotransitter like dopamine, resulting in increased stress level among US soldiers, resulting in lower physical endurance and performance.
In the studies, soldiers were given Tyrosine orally and they found that after 4.5 hours of exposure of cold and hypoxia, soldier who were given tyrosine performed much better than their counterpart who don’t. Researchers concluded that tyrosine is clearly beneficial to our brain and urge those who are constantly undergoing stressful situation to consume more food high in tyrosine. This will help them to keep the level of neurotransimitter in their brain healthy and helps them to perform better.
Good source of Tyrosine: Seaweed, soy beans, egg white and cheese.
GABA stands for Gamma Amino Butyric Acids. It’s also a form of neurotransmitter but instead of stimulating the brain cells like acetylcholine or dopamine. It’s function as inhibitory neurotransmitter. It helps to prevent brain cells from being overly stimulated by preventing it from firing electrical impulses too frequently or too easily. This help you to keep calm and prevent your muscle from twiching unnncessarily. GABA works by opening the ion gates along the cell membrane of brain cells. As a difference of ions concentration across the membrane is required to fire off an electrical impulse, the GABA is capable of stopping the electrical impulse by allowing ions to flood into the brain cell and hence neutralizing the difference in ion concentration accross the cell membrane.
Good source of GABA: Tea, Fermented food like Kimchi.
Do you know that zinc is the second most abudant metal after iron in your body? An average person contains an average of 2grams of zinc inside them and close to half of these amount is concentrated in your hippocampus which is rougly the size of a green peas. And that’s a very high concentration of zinc inside that small part of your brain and it also illustrate the importance of zine in brain functions.
In a new study, reseachers were able to remove zinc from mice’s brain by treating them with chemicals. They found that mice who have their zine removed from their brain have severe learning and memory problems. On closer look, they found that the lack of zinc prevent their brain cells from communicating with one another efficiently.
Researcher speculate that our hipposcampus which is resposbile for higher brain functions like learning and memory cannot function well without zinc, and many survey have found tha the lack of zinc newly born babies would result in wide range of learning abnormalities like lowered learning ability, apathy, lethargy, and mental retardation. And they urge young children and expecting mother to consume food rich in zinc to aid their children in brain development.
Good sources of Zinc: Oysters, Beef and Spinach.
Calcium is important because they acts a secondary messenger along the the nerves. When an electrical impulse travel along the nerve, it result in a change in voltage and this cause voltage dependant proteins to alter their shape and allow calcium ions to bind to them. Once calcium ion bind to them, the proteins will open up a hole in the nerve cell membrane to allow sodium and potassium ions to flood in. This in turn, cause another change in voltage and cause adajacent voltage dependant protein to repeat cycle. This mechanism allow electrical impulse to jump from one cluster of protein to the next and thereby increasing the speed of electrical impulse transmission. And lack of calcium is known to cause brain illness like migraines as the lack of calcium ion prevent electrical impulses from being transmitted with the required speed. And in some severe cases, electrical impulses are known to dissapiate and dissappear.
Good sources of Calcium: Spinach, Watercress, low fat milk.
It’s well known that people who consume large amount of spices like the East Asian is 3 times less likely to suffer from Alzheimer’s disease compared to people from USA. Researcher from the University of Selcuk have found that Curumin in spices like tumeric actually lead to healthy ageing in old mice. Lab mice were given large amount of curumin before being put to a maze test. They found that mice who have consumed curumin took lesser time and travelled less distance to get out of the mice. Furthermore, researchers have found that MDA(a marker of oxidative stress) also decrease. They concluded that curumin have the ability to improve cognition ability in mice by reducing the rate of lipids degradation in old mice.
Good Sources of Curumin: Tumeric found in Thai or Indian food.
Phytochemicals are group of chemicals. It’s the latest frontier in neurosience and medicine. Many phytochemicals found in ancient medicine remedies like ginseng and wolf berry. Neuroscientist have found that these chemicals have neuroprotective potential and can improve synaptic plasticity. The exact mechanism of how phytochemicals improve brain function is not well known. But in mices and brains cells in culture dish, these chemicals have shown its potential in slowing down cell deaths. Furthermore, neurons treated with these pytochemicals have shown higher synaptic plasticity which means they forms more connection with surrounding brain cells and this will help in boosting memory and aids in learning.
Good source of phytochemicals: Ginseng and wolfberries.