Studies have shown links between regularly consuming nuts, like pecans, and improved cognitive performance. Pecans and other certain nuts contain nutrients that support cell durability, bone health, immunity, and cognitive function.
It’s important to remember when all the systems of the human body are operating properly, brain functionality is guarded and strengthened. The brain is a muscle made up of fatty tissues with neural pathways that require continuous protection. These safeguards come in the form of essential vitamins and minerals that we get from regularly eating healthy foods like pecans and other nuts.
Pecans, other nuts, and plant-based options are prime examples of natural foods that support our overall health. The list below is a short outline of what nutrients are involved in promoting strong brain function.
MINERALS IN PECANS HELP BRAIN FUNCTION
Pecans are rich in minerals such as copper, magnesium, manganese, and zinc. Copper is a vital micronutrient needed for proper metabolic operations throughout the body. This includes metabolizing energy required for brain functionality. Magnesium plays a role in overall muscle and cognitive function. This includes brain plasticity, a term that refers to the cognitive ability to adapt as needed which includes changing or re-wiring neural connections.
Manganese aids the body in metabolizing essential vitamins, such as vitamin E, C, and complex-B vitamins which are integral to brain activity. Without manganese in your diet, the body can struggle to process other nutrients. According to studies conducted at Duke University Medical Center, zinc plays an essential role in communications between nerve cells within the hippocampus. The hippocampus is a small part of the brain directly involved in memory, learning, and emotions.
PECAN HEALTHY FATS FOR HEALTHY NEURONS
The brain is considered one of the fattest organs in the human body, with more than half of it being made of lipids. The brain needs cholesterol to function properly and contains over twenty percent of the body’s cholesterol at any given time. There is a difference between bad (LDL) cholesterol and good (HDL) cholesterol. Higher levels of LDL cholesterol can lead to strokes or heart disease. Lowering the bad lipids while increasing the good fatty acids will improve your brain function, cardiovascular health, so much more. Luckily, pecans are a rich source of oleic acid, an Omega-9 monounsaturated fat that is known to help lower LDL cholesterol while increasing HDL cholesterol.
The brain is also a lively muscle that requires the constant firing of neurotransmitters. Neurons are vital to our cognitive ability to learn and retain what we have learned. A healthy neural environment, also known as brain synapses, improves memory capacity. However, neurons cannot get their job done without having a durable cell membrane. This membrane should have just the right amount of viscosity and fluidity. The cell membrane is made up of cholesterol and a lack of it can result in membrane fluidity deterioration. This could negatively affect cognitive function, impacting your memory, your emotional state, and your ability to learn.
PECAN VITAMINS AND COGNITIVE HEALTH
Pecans contain antioxidants which help protect our cells and tissue from oxidative stress. Oxidative stress can trigger a plethora of ailments and illnesses. One of the best ways to protect your cells is by supporting your immune system. Introducing more foods rich in antioxidants is a perfect way to do this. Pecans contain vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that helps protect fatty acids in the body from oxidative stressors. As we know, neurons need those important lipids to stay in motion. Vitamin E can fight off the free radicals that tend to damage cholesterol-rich neurons. This adds an extra level of protection to healthy brain activity.
A lack of sufficient vitamin E can result in oxidative stress throughout the body. Muscle weakness can be one symptom of insufficient vitamins and minerals. The brain is a muscle and if you don’t consume enough vitamin E and complex-B vitamins, it becomes vulnerable to stress. This could result in decreased cognitive aptitude, memory issues, and mood swings.
Pecans are a great source of essential vitamins and minerals that have been shown to support and improve brain function. Just a handful of pecans a day can enhance your body’s ability to metabolize nutrients necessary for thought recall, balanced emotions, and the brain’s capacity for taking in new information.