Nutrition is the science of studying how the body absorbs nutrients in food.
A sufficient, well-balanced diet, together with normal, physical activities, is the foundation of both good nutrition and an overall healthy body. An Insufficient amount of these factors may lead to very low immunity, vulnerability to illnesses, weakened physical and mental health, and poor productivity.
In order to prevent these from happening, healthy eating is key.
Nutrition and Exercise in Cognitive Performance
A well-balanced diet, combined with exercise, is as important to both physical and mental activity – from making use of your cognitive abilities to finish a report, to kicking a ball across a field.
The following chapter will provide you with a quick guide that contains basic information on how to achieve your utmost physical and cognitive performance through good nutrition and moderate physical activity.
However, it should be pointed out that this is general advice and individual results may vary based on other factors. Individuals with an existing medical condition, or those who would want a more comprehensive diet plan and exercise program, should seek advice from their doctor or their personal health provider in order to maximize their ability and to reach their goals.
Diet and Nutrition
A balanced diet can be as important for cognition as for every other bodily system.
Intake of food rich in refined sugars, particularly sucrose and fructose, may give rise to mental impairments. For years, memory deficiencies have been detected in adults with type-2 diabetes. Several studies have confirmed that poor glycemic control and acute ingestion of excessive glycemic index carbohydrate foods causes a decrease in several cognitive performances.
Brain on Ketones
Many believe that bad eating habits can only cause physical or bodily dysfunctions, but not a lot are aware that these can also impact our mental health and wellness too.
Consumption of high-carbohydrate, low-fat meals while snacking in between, a popular dietary routine amongst many, has been recently related to an increase in obesity, diabetes, and a variety of brain illnesses such as anxiety, depression, and dementia. We cannot function properly without fats and proteins in our diets. However, we can carry on the rest of our lives without a single carbohydrate.
There are brain cells that have the need to burn glucose, a compound necessary for energy production. If or when its intake is insufficient to meet these requirements, our bodies can modify protein into these substances through a process called gluconeogenesis. This vital fact validates how a lot of our systems would not be able to carry out their tasks properly without fats or proteins. Though there are a few negative effects when incorporating a “zero carbs” food regimen, these hardly cause any tremendous health problems as compared to what will happen when we do not ingest any of these essential nutrients at all.
Healthy individuals usually have a shift in their metabolic processes over periods of time, called ketosis. An excellent indicator of good metabolism, this usually happens at night during sleep. If you have ever woken up with a somewhat funky breath and strong smelling urine, you are probably in a state of ketosis. Not to worry though, this is normal and is even healthy, except if you have some form of poorly controlled diabetes, as a different type of pathologic ketosis happen in these cases.
So what does ketosis do to the brain, and why is it healthier than the regular, old-time favorite, carbohydrate-based food regimen?
Ketogenic diets revolve around producing more ketones in the body for energy production. These include eating food sources that are high in fat but are low in both carbohydrates and protein. This type of diet plan has been prescribed for patients with seizures for over a century already.
However, ketosis was not as popular before as it is today. Previous researched about the process have shown negative outlooks primarily because the difference between a therapeutic level of blood ketones, typically at 1 to 3 mmol/L, as compared to ketoacidosis, a condition with greater than 8 mmol/L of ketones and requires hospitalization, was not well understood.
Many scientists in the past did not appreciate the different types of fat as well, and would often recommend intake of corn oil, together with olive oil, without a clear understanding and knowledge of their biochemical differences and how the body treats them. Some earlier studies even included a nightmarish ratio of omega 3:6 fatty acids
At the Johns Hopkins Hospital, pediatric patients were put on a 48-hour fast, and were given eggnog, perhaps without the rum and sugar, until ketosis was reached. For over four days, they were placed on a calorie-restricted, ketogenic diet wherein they only ingested about 10-25% fewer calories than what they were accustomed to. Luckily, people have reinvented the diet and have made it a bit friendlier and more adaptable to our lifestyles today.
The brain is, undoubtedly, an energy-hungry system. It makes use of one fifth of the calories ingested to produce glucose for both our mental and physical activities. Ensuring you eat a high-quality diet will not only magnify your cognition, but will also give you enough power and drive you to be able to face daily tasks ahead.
Similar to a luxury vehicle, your cognitive functions perform in their ideal states when they run on solely premium fuel. Feeding on top quality foods that possess a lot of vitamins and minerals, including antioxidants, helps the brain fight off oxidative stress – free radicals formed the moment our body uses oxygen, which then deteriorates cells.
In today’s flourishing field of nutritional psychiatry, experts are finding causations and correlations not only between diets and behavior, but in the type of gut bacteria you have as well. This will have major applications and effects in treating mood and other cognitive disorders in the future.