Intellectual stimulation: how to boost your performance?
Even though the brain represents only 2 to 3% of the human body weight, it is responsible for 25% of its energy expenditure. Therefore, it is essential to adapt your lifestyle to ensure its proper functioning and maximize your performance! Let’s look at our tips to improve your intellectual stimulation.
Neuronutrition, what is it?
Negative influences of unbalanced diet on brain activity
Clinical studies have shown that a diet too fatty and too sweet has a negative impact on brain function. This type of diet is believed to cause inflammation of a brain area involved in memory, altering its functioning. Furthermore, an unbalanced diet would activate the brain area that produces stress hormones. Individuals would be then more prone to stress and anxiety. Thus, diet plays on memory and on stress gestion. During the review period, it is therefore important to avoid over-consumption of products too fatty and too sweet. But what are the best foods to increase intellectual performance?
What nutrients for proper brain function?
While the brain draws its energy from glucose, it is not the only nutrient needed to maintain the neuronal structure and communication. It will also be necessary to provide vitamins, minerals and some lipids to ensure proper brain structure.
- Vitamins: for neuronal structure and communication.
Vitamins are essential to brain structure. It is mainly the vitamins of the B group: B1, B5, B6, B9 and B12 that have a positive effect on intellectual performance and psychological functions. They induce the synthesis of a molecule used for communication between neurons: acetylcholine. You can find these vitamins in asparagus, rice and yoghurt for example. Vitamins A and B1 help to limit neuron degeneration by increasing brain plasticity for vitamin A. It is found in apricots and carrots.
- The action of minerals on cognitive functions
Minerals play a major role in the functioning of neurons and therefore in the functioning of the nervous system and cognitive functions. We can quote:
- iron, which is involved in the biosynthesis of molecules that transmit the nerve message. It is found in red meats, lentils and offal,
- magnesium that feeds the nerve cell. You will find it in your diet by eating dark chocolate, bananas or oilseeds,
- iodine, whose deficiency is the main cause of learning disabilities and brain damage. It is therefore used for intellectual development. Iodine is found mainly in sea salt or iodine enriched salt, human needs it only in small quantities in his diet,
- Zinc, like other polyphenols and antioxidants, plays a protective role against oxidation and contributes to slowing cell aging and the development of chronic diseases.
- Omega-3, one of the main components of the brain
The brain is mainly made up of water and fat for the membranes that ensure the transmission of the nervous message. Omega-3s are found in fat, particularly in fatty fish such as salmon, tuna and sardines. Omega-3s have a protective action on neurons, allowing them to create more interactions between them, increase their plasticity and regulate their intercommunication. Omega-3s would thus have an action on reducing cases of depression and chronic stress.
So, during exam periods during intense intellectual solicitation, remember to take a snack to boost your performance. For a complete breakfast, combine a dairy product, starchy foods and a fruit. Thus, if the key to success relies on a balanced diet, keep in mind that memory can be worked on and maintained!
 TDAH France, Pr Olivier Coudron, Nutrition et cerveau, 2013
 Efficium, Neuronutrition (nutrition du cerveau), 2015
 Projet NutriNeuro, UMR Nutrition et Neurobiologie intégrée, G. Ferreira, 2011
 INRA, Sebastian Escalon, Santé du cerveau : l’alimentation idéal pour chaque âge de la vie, 2015
 TDAH France, Olivier Coudron, Nutrition et cerveau, 2016