Proper cognitive function and brain power rests a lot on balanced diet that comprises of brain-stimulating foods. Here is a list of best vitamins for the brain that enhance brain power and improve memory as well as cognitive performance.
We all know the benefits of vitamin A on our overall health. But vitamin A is also crucial for development of a healthy brain. It enhances learning abilities and promotes development of the nervous system. The hippocampus region is connected with memory and learning.
Vitamin A improves the connection between hippocampus region and the brain cells thereby improving learning abilities. Vitamin A has antioxidant properties too that prevent the free radicals from damaging the brain cells. Some of the good sources of vitamin A are spinach, peach, papaya, liver and apricots.
One of the forms of vitamin B9, folic acid controls homocysteine levels in blood. Increased homocysteine levels in the blood damage the brain cells. In addition, folic acid enhances short-term memory and improves alertness. Adequate folic acid intake helps you get rid of sluggishness and lethargy.
You can opt for folic acid supplements. Some of the good sources of folic acid are green leafy vegetables, lentils, beans, legumes, etc.
One of the B-Complex vitamins, vitamin B6 improves memory. Some of the good sources of vitamin B6 are cantaloupe, meat, fortified cereals and beans.
Vitamin B12 is crucial for healthy nerve cells. In addition, vitamin B12 triggers myelin production that covers the nerve fibers and also insulates electrical impulses of the brain. By keeping intact the myelin sheath, vitamin B12 prevents the nerve cells from misfiring and hence prevents brain diseases.
Vitamin B12 also prevents depressions and mood swings besides enhancing alertness. It prevents memory loss. Some of the good sources of vitamin B12 are meat, fish, pork, poultry and beef. Vitamin B12 supplements are also available in drugstores. Spirulina is believed to be rich in vitamin B12.
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Benefits of Vitamin E
Free radicals pose the greatest risk to the brain cells. Free radicals are the byproducts of the body’s chemical reactions with oxygen. The best way to fight the harmful effects of free radicals is antioxidants. Antioxidants drive away the free radicals from the body and prevent them from posing a threat to the cells.
Vitamin C has strong antioxidant properties and hence ensures health to your brain in addition to your immune system and heart. Some of the good sources of vitamin C are oranges, capsicum, legumes, etc.
Vitamin D helps in the growth of brain cells and helps maintain them. Some of the good sources of vitamin D are poultry, beef, liver, cheese, fish, liver oils, etc.
Vegetarians can opt for mushrooms that contain vitamin D2 – a form of vitamin D. Direct sunlight is also a good source of vitamin D.
Another antioxidant vitamin, vitamin E protects the brain cells and nerve cells from damage caused by free radicals. Vitamin E delays or sometimes stops the progression of Alzheimer’s disease in the elderly people.
Some of the good sources of vitamin E are green leafy vegetables, sweet potatoes, grains and nuts. Vitamin E supplements are also easy to find over the counter.