Thanks for sticking with us to learn about nootropics in your food. Be sure to check out parts 1 and 2 as well.
Niacin, or vitamin B-3, is not known for its association with the nervous system or cognitive function. It is however, known to affect the bodies overall energy levels. Niacin is essential to the body to convert your food into usable energy. The highest niacin containing foods are chicken, tuna, and turkey, containing between 40-80% of your daily needs in one serving. If you are a meat eater you should then have no trouble getting enough niacin in your diet.
A vegetarian may have more trouble getting enough of this nutrient if they are not eating a proper diet. The highest niacin containing plant foods are a few specific mushrooms, raw green peas, and raw asparagus with each only having between 5-17% of your daily needs in one serving. Again, cooking alters the availability of the niacin in the food, specifically within plant food . The National Academy of Science now recommends, for the average adult male, 12mg a day, and females, 11mg, of niacin  (in 1998 it was recommended for males to have 16mg and females 14mg ). A tolerable upper limit to niacin supplementation is 35mg per day and no upper limit has been determined for whole food sources .
Folate is one nutrient that has been specifically linked to Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia related symptoms. When receiving high enough levels, folate works as a preventative measure against dementia. Signs of deficiency in folate include irritability, mental fatigue, forgetfulness, depression, insomnia, and fatigue, general and muscular. These are very similar to our choline deficiency symptoms and reasons for taking nootropics.
Beans are the winners here with the highest daily values being lentils, pinto, and garbanzo beans, all 70-90% of your daily need in one serving, spinach coming next at 65% and only more beans and greens to follow. Folate is key to the development of the nervous system of children while still in the womb. This is why so much of our food is already supplemented with added folate. Eating enough beans and green vegetables gets you the amount you need . The National Academy of Science recommends all average adults have 320 micrograms a day and for pregnant females, a much higher, 520 micrograms a day .
For more information on where to find whole food sources of these and other nutrients visit The World’s Healthiest Foods at www.whfoods.org
Jillian Carnrick, founder and manager of The Dancing Herbalist, has a Masters of Science Degree in Herbal Medicine, practices as a nutritionist, and is a Certified Personal Trainer and Exercise Is Medicine Professional through the American College of Sports Medicine. The Dancing Herbalist posts on this blog every Thursday. For more of our posts, join us on Patreon. Jillian also presents regular live classes in The Dancing Herbalist’s home herbalist courses online for more learning opportunities or work one-on-one with Jillian with her wellness and herbal consultations.