Academic success can mean a lot of different things to different people. For one person it might mean getting good marks but to another, it could mean finishing university – or another course that you’re taking – with the tools needed to be a productive member of society. However you choose to define academic success, good nutrition can be an important factor because it contributes to a student’s ability to learn.
There’s no playing down the importance of proper nutrition for achieving optimum health, longevity, as well as peak brain performance. We know that healthy meals help people learn, but how? First, they provide the nutrients that you need to fuel your brain and body. Hungry students may be distracted while well-fed students are more likely to show up ready to learn.
A number of different studies show that nutritional status may directly affect mental capacity among school-aged children. For instance, iron deficiency (even in early stages) may decrease dopamine transmission, thus negatively impacting cognition.
Deficiencies in other vitamins, as well as minerals (specifically thiamine, vitamin E, vitamin B, iodine, as well as zinc), are shown to inhibit cognitive abilities in addition to mental concentration. In addition, amino acid and carbohydrate supplementation can improve perception, intuition as well as reasoning. There are also a number of studies which show that advances in nutrient intake can influence the cognitive ability in addition to intelligence levels of school-aged children.
What Nutrients Are Essential For Healthy Brain Development?
Nutrients – such as choline and DHA (which is an Omega 3 fatty acids) – are vital for healthy brain development in childhood. As we continue to develop into adulthood, our brains continue to rely on such nutrients as vitamin C and tyrosine in order to sustain healthy neurotransmitter function.
Antioxidants are also vital for healthy brain function and a number of age-related deficiencies. There’s also glucose, a big brain fuel source which we get from good carbs and other such foods. A great source for a general understanding of the function of nutrition in brain performance can be found here. It uses very simple terms and covers a lot of area on nutrition and brain function.
What Foods Are Linked To Improved Brain Health?
Green Leafy Vegetables
Leafy greens – such as kale, spinach, collards as well as broccoli – are rich in brain-healthy nutrients like vitamin K, lutein, folate in addition to beta carotene. Research suggests these plant-based foods may help arrest cognitive decline.
Flavonoids, which are the natural plant pigments which give berries their brilliant colours, also help to improve memory. Researchers at Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital made the finding that women who ate two or more servings of strawberries and blueberries each and every single week delayed memory decline by up to 30 months.
Nuts are a terrific source of protein as well as healthy fats. One type of nut specifically might also improve memory. A 2015 study in the United States linked higher walnut consumption to better cognitive test scores. Walnuts are high in a kind of omega-3 fatty acid that is called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which assists with lowering blood pressure and protecting arteries. This is good for both the heart and brain.
Good nutrition is responsible for doing so many things other than ensuring good brain health. Find out what these are by doing our Specialised Nutrition Course. For more information, please follow this link.