UCLA studies food and the brain
It's no secret now that good nutrition, exercise, peace of mind and sleep lead to a healthy body. A recent UCLA study shows that changes in diet are a viable strategy for enhancing cognitive abilities and counteract the effects of aging. A link to the article can be found below. In a nutshell the study shows that
- Omega 3's protect the plasticity of the brain. A deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids in humans has been associated with increased risk of several mental disorders, including attention-deficit disorder, dyslexia, dementia, depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
- Children who had increased amounts of omega-3 fatty acids performed better in school, in reading and in spelling and had fewer behavioral problems.
- Getting omega-3 fatty acids from food rather than from capsule supplements can be more beneficial.
- Evidence indicates that what you eat can affect your grandchildren's brain molecules and synapses.
- Controlled meal-skipping or intermittent caloric restriction can provide health benefits.
- Excess calories can reduce the flexibility of synapses and increase the vulnerability of cells to damage by causing the formation of free radicals. Moderate caloric restriction could protect the brain by reducing oxidative damage to cellular proteins, lipids and nucleic acids.
- Folic acid (found in various foods like spinach & oranges) are essential for brain function, and folate deficiency can lead to neurological disorders such as depression and cognitive impairment.
- Smaller food portions with the appropriate nutrients seem to be beneficial for the brain's molecules and can raise one key molecule brain-derived neurotrophic factor or BDNF. Low levels of BDNF in humans is associated depression, schizophrenia, obesity, memory loss and learning impairments.