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©2017 by Optimal RD: Registered Dietitian Nutritionists

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Brain Health

June 23, 2017

 Nutrition and lifestyle play an important role in brain health and function. 

ZINC

Is an important cofactor for many enzymes, the development of the brain, sexual organs, and immune cells. Zinc deficiency in pregnant women can cause brain development problems.

Good sources include meat, poultry, fish, legumes, and nuts

8 mg/day for women

11 mg/day for men

 

 

ANTIOXIDANTS

work to reduce oxidative damage

in brain cells. These protective factors, especially phenols and alpha lipoic acid have been shown to reduce cognitive decay in Alzheimer's1, improve memory deficits,  and support synaptic plasticity

(the forming of rearrangement and new connections in the Central Nervous

System2).

 

Vitamin E- nuts, leafy greens, avocado, vegetable oils

Alpha Lipoic Acid- kidney, heart, liver meats; spinach; broccoli; potatoes

Polyphenols- berries, cocoa, coffee, dark chocolate, celery seed

 

OMEGA 3’S

play important roles in neuron cell membrane fluidity, especially DHA. They also affect BDNF, brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which is believed to be the main factor in brain growth and synaptic rearrangement3.

Sources: organ meats, fatty fish (salmon, halibut, tuna, anchovies), algae, fish oil.

 

 

EXERCISE

is a common way to treat depression and anxiety4. A natural anti-depressant, the American Council on Exercise recommends 60 minutes of physical activity a day.

 

LEUCINE

This branched-chain amino acid is often called the BCAA for your brain.

 

BCAA’s (branched chain amino acids) are important in promoting muscle growth and recovery. However, new studies are showing that they might be as good for the brain as they are for the braun. Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) influence brain function by modifying large, neutral amino acid (LNAA) transport at the blood– brain barrier.

 

The branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) leucine (LEU),3 isoleucine (ILE), and valine (VAL) participate in many biochemical functions in the brain, such as protein synthesis, the energy production, the compartmentalization of glutamate (an excitatory amino acid neurotransmitter in the brain), and the synthesis of neurotransmitters1.

 

BCAAs are also important in providing neurons with glutamate, and leucine is especially important in this role. About 30 to 50% of all alpha-amino groups of brain glutamate and glutamine are derived from leucine alone2.

Leucine Sources: cheese, beef, chicken, pork, nuts, seeds, fish, beans, soybeans.

 

High Sources of Leucine (per 200 calorie serving)

  1. Egg white

  2. Soy protein

  3. Spirulina

  4. Moose meat

  5. tuna

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