Cognitive abilities play an important role in both our daily lives and our quest for fitness success. But we rarely think about the fact that nutrition has a significant impact on our brain function. What is the connection between what we eat and our cognitive abilities, and how can the right diet help us maximize our performance in the gym and in our daily lives? It will help get more effective at everything from creating a unique Vave login to completing tasks at work.
Eating the right foods can significantly improve memory, concentration, thinking speed and even mood. No motivation to go to the gym? Maybe it’s the spinach you haven’t eaten in time or an extra cup of coffee. Let’s take a look at the main “helpers” of the brain, contributing to its smooth operation, and thus the work of our entire body.
Fats are an essential part of our diet, but it’s important to choose the right types of fats. Saturated and trans fats, which are found in highly processed foods, can negatively affect brain function. However, polyunsaturated fats such as omega-3 fatty acids are key to brain health. These are found in fish (choose salmon, tuna and sardines), nuts, flax and chia seeds, and plant-based oils such as flaxseed and hemp seed oils. A lot of omega-6 is found in corn oil and grape seed oil. Including these healthy fats in your diet at least twice a week can help you improve your cognitive abilities. And omega-3 fatty acids also have anti-inflammatory properties and help improve blood flow to the brain.
Antioxidants are the brain’s defenders against oxidative stress! Fruits and vegetables, especially bright and colorful ones, are rich in these substances that are adept at scavenging oxygen free radicals. Including citrus fruits, pomegranate, spinach, kale, broccoli, and dark chocolate (cacao beans contain anthocyanin and flavanols, which improve blood vessel function and increase blood flow to the brain) in the diet can help improve cognitive performance and protect the brain from aging and us from feeling bad. Berries such as raspberries, blueberries and blueberries contain polyphenols that help improve memory and cognitive function. Consuming berries fresh or adding them to smoothies and yogurts can help you keep your mind sharp. Also, have a coffee detox and switch to green tea: it’s rich in antioxidants such as catechins, which can help improve brain function. It also contains a small amount of caffeine, which can help improve concentration and add a sense of alertness in the absence of your favorite raff.
Protein is our body’s main building material, and it’s just as important for the brain as it is for other organs in the body or for building muscle. Eating enough protein in your diet helps maintain brain health and function. Choose a variety of protein sources such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, legumes, cottage cheese and seafood. These contain the amino acids needed to create neurotransmitters, which transmit signals between nerve cells in the brain. Don’t forget: you should consume proteins at least two hours before your workout.
Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamins and minerals play an important role in supporting cognitive abilities. B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin D and magnesium are particularly important. They are involved in regulating our mood, synthesizing neurotransmitters and improving blood flow in the brain. Let’s add a variety of citrus fruits, green vegetables, fish and nuts to our grocery basket. And, of course, watch the balance!
Incorporating fruits, vegetables, berries, fish, nuts and seeds into your diet, as well as consuming bitter chocolate in moderation, will help you maintain brain health and achieve better results during your workouts. Don’t forget that proper nutrition combined with properly planned physical activity is the key to success in achieving your fitness goals.
Lots of Movement = Healthy Brain
In 2019, the results of a study were published in which 454 adults wore devices that tracked their daily activity for 20 years. They also had regular physical exams and took various cognitive tests. In the end, people who moved more showed better results in memory performance and thinking speed. And a minimal increase in physical activity levels reduced the risk of developing dementia by 31%.
And this isn’t the only study with similar results. Another involved 160 older adults with a predominantly sedentary lifestyle. Scientists offered them different options: they could do aerobic exercise three times a week for 45 minutes, follow the DASH diet (designed to prevent and treat hypertension), combine exercise and diet, or simply learn about healthy lifestyles.
It took six months to complete. It turned out that those who only followed the diet did not improve their mental parameters (they tested planning, problem-solving and multitasking abilities). Those who just gained knowledge and didn’t actually change their lifestyle performed worse. But people who chose physical activity had improved memory and other cognitive functions tested. The best results were in those who combined diet with exercise.