The more I research the nutritional values of foods, the more I am convinced that nutrition is the key to good physical health. Look at these benefits:
Vitamin A is an antioxidant that improves eyesight, aids in bone growth, maintains healthy hair and skin and makes our teeth strong.
- Kale, sweet potatoes, apricots, broccoli, sweet red pepper, romaine lettuce, spinach, cantaloupe, etc.
Vitamin B1 (thiamine) helps the body excrete excess lead, aids in regulating the heart beat, elevates low blood pressure, stabilizes shortness of breath, reduces swelling of hands and feet and protects against kidney and cardiac failure.
- Oatmeal, black strap molasses, rye, lobster, sunflower seeds, nuts, fish, scallions, Brussel sprouts, etc
Vitamin C helps protect against damage in the fluid-filled areas of the body such as the heart and arteries, it helps to curtail the aging process and works quicker than other antioxidants. It is also known for its ability to protect against stomach cancer.
- Sweet red peppers, oranges, grapefruit, kiwi, strawberries, potatoes, spinach, green beans, tomatoes, etc.
Magnesium lowers the risk of stroke and diabetes, promotes normal heart rhythm and muscle contraction, it is high in anti-inflammatory properties which helps with conditions such as arthritis, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Leafy, green vegetables, quinoa, fish, beans, avocados, nuts, seeds, etc.
Potassium regulates the fluids in our bodies. It helps us stay hydrated. It can lessen the discomfort of certain neurological conditions as well as keep our muscles strong.
- Potatoes, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, fish, milk, peas, tomatoes, citrus, bananas, kiwi, etc.
These are only a few of the necessary vitamins and minerals but there is no question that good nutrition keeps our bodies functioning properly. A study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Neurology shows nutrition is important for our mental health as well.
The study, published January 24, 2012, examined 14 non-demented adults who were, on average, 87 years old who were participating in the Oregon Brain Aging Study. All patients underwent nutrient blood testing for 30 nutritional biomarkers and a battery of cognitive tests. All study participants aged 85 and older also had MRI scans within one month of the blood test.
The results showed optimal mental function in individuals with high blood levels of the specific nutrients that were evaluated, which were vitamins B1, B2, B6, folate, B12, C, D and E.
- Individuals with higher levels of these nutrients showed improved cognitive function, increased attention and increased executive function.
- Cognitive function-perception, thinking, reasoning, remembering
- Executive function-manage time, pay attention, switch focus, plan and organize, remember details, avoid saying and doing wrong things, do things based on experience
- Elevated blood levels of trans fats were strongly linked with repressed cognitive function and decreased performance: impaired memory, cognition, language, mental processing speed, and attention.
- Omega-3 fatty acid levels were significantly associated with enhanced cognitive function.
MRI results of the participants with higher blood levels of vitamins B, C, D and E showed increased brain area compared to participants with lower blood levels of these vitamins. Also, the participants with the highest blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids had significantly less small vessel disease in the brain.
- Small vessel disease affects a person’s ability to think, causes mood and personality changes as well as movement problems.
Posted on the Weston A. Price Foundation website is a presentation given at Fields of Athenry Farm by Sally Fallon Morell on June 19, 2010. In this presentation, Sally Fallon Morell describes in-depth the correlation between good nutrition and good mental development. Below is an abbreviated list of topics discussed in the presentation:
- Low-fat diets
- Vegan and vegetarian diets
- Lard and butter
- Recommended Daily Allowances (RDA)
- Stem cell research
- Pregnancy preparation
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Opium and marijuana
- Vitamin K2
- Vitamin B12
- Obsessive-compulsive behavior
- Alzheimer’s and dementia
- Creative thinking
- Second brain
- Cod Liver Oil
- Morning Sickness
The presentation is full of information about vitamins, minerals and fat that are needed for proper brain development and proper brain function. I encourage you to read it in its entirety. You can access the presentation here.
Another great article on the same website can be found here. The topic is treating bipolar disorder through nutrition.
I hope the information contained in this post makes you stop and think about where you and your family are nutritionally. It definitely has me thinking.
Greenblatt, James M., M.D. “The Tomato Effect.” Psychology Today. N.p., 14 Sept. 2012. Web. 23 July 2016.