Nutrition and cognition
Food is conventionally regarded as a means to provide energy and building material within the body. Recently, the ability of food to prevent and protect against diseases has started to become recognized, mainly in relation to the effects of nutrients on molecular processes within the body.Certain cells require particular nutrients to play specific roles in order to function properly, and neurons are not exempt from this.Relatively speaking, the brain consumes an immense amount of energy in comparison to the rest of the body. The mechanisms involved in the transfer of energy from foods to neurons are likely to be fundamental to the control of brain function. Human bodily processes, including the brain, all require both macronutrients, as well as micronutrients.Insufficient intake of selected vitamins, or certain metabolic disorders, may affect cognitive processes by disrupting the nutrient-dependent processes within the body that are associated with the management of energy in neurons, which can subsequently affect synaptic plasticity, or the ability to encode new memories.The prevalence of specific vitamin deficiencies has become rare in most industrialized countries with the introduction of vitamin fortification in flour, cereals, and other foods. However, in many African, Asian, and Latin American countries, individuals must contend with a range of nutritionally-significant diseases that continue to be major health problems within their respective populations.