Healthy food, healthy brain

Food has a large impact on the functioning of our brain. About one fifth of all nutrition we consume is transformed into energy to our brain. The brain contains nerve cells that communicate with each other. This communication is supported by a healthy diet. But wat is a healthy diet? Which food stimulates the functioning of our brain?

Nerve cells in the brain are connected, which enables transmission of communication. For this communication existing connections can be used, but also new connections can be made. To maintain all these connections intact or to build new connections, certain nutrients are essential.

An important nutrient for our brain is omega-3, amongst others found in fatty fish, nuts and plant oils. Omega-3 fatty acids ensure good communication between the nerve cells. That’s why it’s no surprise that with a shortage of omega-3 fatty acids people can develop problems like forgetfulness, Alzheimer’s and other brain diseases.

Also vitamin D has an important role in the well-functioning of the brain. The brain contains special receptors to which vitamin D can adhere. These receptors are mostly found in areas that play an important part in the memory. Vitamin D initiates processes that are essential to a good cognitive function. Lack of vitamin D is also associated with cognitive deterioration and dementia.

Next to that B-vitamins play an important part in keeping the brain healthy. This group of vitamins is also essential for the communication transfer in the brain. However, the proof of the importance of this group of vitamins is less strong than for omega-3 and vitamin D.

Finally healthy diets were investigated. This showed a positive influence of the Mediterranean diet. This diet consists mainly of fish, olive oil, vegetables, fruit and nuts. There are indications that following this diet diminishes the risk of cognitive deterioration.

Healthy food is very important for the well-functioning of the brain. The importance of healthy and also tasty food is high on TOP’s checklist. Through mild pasteurization technologies nutrients can be maintained intact. This results not only in food with better sensory properties, but also the nutritional value is optimally preserved.

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Myriam Knopf
project leader food technology