Vitamin No. 1 to maintain your mind “younger and wholesome” and meals to eat every single day

As a nutritional psychiatrist, I always try to maintain a balanced diet. A lot of it has to do with making sure I’m getting all the vitamins I need, especially since it’s essential for prevention cognitive decline.

And given that risk neurological diseases increase with ageone question I often get from my patients is, “What vitamin is best for protecting our aging brains?”

Each of our microbiomes is like a fingerprint, so a truly effective eating plan is personalized to an individual’s unique needs. But the group of vitamins that I prioritized to keep my brain young and healthy are the B vitamins.

Benefits of B vitamins for the brain

Depression, dementia and mental disorders are often associated with a lack of B vitamins, Wayne State University School of Medicine study found

“Vitamin B12 deficiency as a cause of cognitive problems is more common than we think, especially among elderly people who live alone and are malnourished,” says psychiatrist and lead author of the study Rajaprabhakaran Rajaretham.

There are eight different B vitamins, each with their own primary health benefits:

1. Increasing energy.

Vitamin B1or thiamineis critical to the basic functions of our cells and the metabolism of nutrients for energy.

The brain is one of the most metabolically active organs in your body, which means it needs thiamine support to prevent deficiencies that can lead to neurological problems.

2. Breakdown of drugs.

Vitamin B2or riboflavinacts as an assistant to the enzymes in our cells that carry out important reactions, for example in the body and brain.

It also helps cells grow, produce energy, and break down fats and external substances such as drugs.

3. Reducing inflammation.

Vitamin B3or niacin, works with more than 400 enzymes to make substances like cholesterol and fats that the body needs and converts them into energy for all of our organ systems. Niacin is also an antioxidant that helps reduce excess inflammation.

4. Maintaining your overall brain health.

Vitamin B5or pantothenic acidis essential for the production of a molecular compound called coenzyme A, which helps our body’s enzymes produce and break down fatty acids for energy.

It also helps our cells produce acyl carriers to help produce the fats we need. The brain is primarily fattherefore, pantothenic acid is one of the most important vitamins for brain health.

5. Fight diseases.

Vitamin B6ohr pyridoxineis notable for its role in disease prevention, as adequate levels of this vitamin are associated with a lower risk of many cancers.

In addition, pyridoxine helps with many chemical reactions in the body that support immune function and brain health.

6. Help cells communicate better.

Vitamin B7commonly known as biotin, regulates cell signaling to allow rapid and efficient communication throughout the body. In the brain, it is essential for cell signaling through neurotransmitters.

7. Maintain balance.

Vitamin B9or folic acidis a popular supplement and key vitamin for supporting brain and neurological health, optimal neurotransmitter function, and balanced psychological health.

Another benefit is that it helps promote cellular detoxification.

8. Help for your heart.

vitamin B12, ohr cobalaminis an essential vitamin for the formation of red blood cells and DNA, and for the development and functioning of the nervous system.

B12 also helps break down homocysteine, a protein that can negatively affect cardiovascular health and lead to dementia when present in excess.

The best B vitamins

I’m a “food first” person, so I always encourage people to include foods that contain these vitamins in their diet. However, our diets are not perfect, so there may be times when supplements can help. If so, my simple advice is to “try, not guess” and consult your doctor first.

The good news is that B vitamins are among the easiest to include in your diet, as foods rich in one B vitamin often contain many, if not all, of the B vitamins when consumed as whole foods.

Here are six vitamin B-rich foods I eat every day:

1. One egg contains a third of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin B7, as well as small amounts of many other B vitamins.

2. Yogurt is high in vitamin B2 and vitamin B12, as well as natural probiotics that support gut health and mental health. I love plain Greek yogurt for the added protein.

3. Legumes for example, black beans, chickpeas, edamame, and lentils all help improve mood and improve brain health. They are an excellent source of vitamin B9 and contain small amounts of vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, vitamin B5 and vitamin B6.

4. Salmon is naturally rich in all B vitamins, especially vitamin B2, vitamin B3, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12. Pay attention to the source of your seafood and remember that frozen or canned salmon is also an economical choice.

5. Sunflower seeds is one of the best plant sources of vitamin B5. You can get 20% of the recommended daily value of this vitamin from just one ounce of seeds!

6. Leafy greens such as spinach, Swiss chard and kale are excellent sources of vitamin B9. This is the first food I recommend to patients who want to improve their mood.

Dr. Uma Naidoo is a nutritional psychiatrist, brain expert and faculty member Harvard Medical School. She is also the director of nutrition and lifestyle psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and a best-selling author. “This Is Your Brain on Food: The Indispensable Guide to Surprising Foods for Depression, Anxiety, PTSD, OCD, ADHD, and More.” Follow her further Twitter and Instagram.

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