Here’s something to remember – Nutrition can play a very important role in maintaining, and even improving memory. We’ve all experienced it: You forget the name of someone you just met, or have one of those “what did I come in here for moments, and where are my keys”?
Worries concerning memory loss have prompted people to search for different ways to enhance memory. The good news is that nutrition plays a very important part in staying connected. Healthy eating is a key aspect to having a healthy brain, and there are a select group of foods that have been proven to halt memory loss, and improve cognitive function. While you are on your journey to find the fountain of youth and reclaim your brain, check out these nutrition tips, each of which offers a unique benefit.
Nutrition for a Healthy Memory:
Blueberries: These delicious blue gems are one of the best sources of antioxidants. Both frozen and fresh blueberries are excellent brain foods. When blueberries are out-of-season buy frozen, unsweetened blues, and throw them into a smoothie or pop them in your mouth frozen–just like candy!
Green, Leafy Vegetables: Broccoli, and other cruciferous vegetables contain essential vitamins that help combat the buildup of toxic substances in the brain. According to the FDA this allows for healthier, more capable cognitive function, especially evident in older people. A study on spinach found that consumption not only can prevent memory loss; it can also reverse it, because of it high folic acid level. Maybe Popeye was on to something??
Apples–Apples contain high levels of quercetin, an antioxidant that has been shown in recent studies to protect against Alzheimer’s disease. Although it is also present in the flesh, the most quercetin is found in the skin. There you have it – an apple a day!
Carrots–Carrots contain a good source of vitamin C, beta carotene, and the B vitamins, which slow down the signs of aging and have been linked to improved memory.
Red onions also contain anthocyanin and quercetin, and have been used as a folk remedy to boost memory for centuries.
Grapes–Red, purple, and black grapes all contain quercetin and anthocyanin. Red wine also contains good levels of these phytochemicals, but overindulging in red wine may negate the benefits so keeping consumption to one glass per day may be wise. Cherries and beets are other red foods that are good sources of anthocyanin.
Rosemary– Extensive research has proven that rosemary can actually help to prevent Alzheimer’s disease and other brain disorders. One study even proved that the scent of rosemary improved memory in office workers. Keep the essential oil of rosemary in your desk!
Fish–Fish typically contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids that are good for your body and help prevent inflammation and high cholesterol. These fatty acids have been associated with improved cognitive function. Coldwater fish such as salmon, herring, halibut and tuna are among the richest sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
Eggs–The incredible edible egg appears to do incredible things for your brain. Whole eggs are not only high in protein and low in calories, but they are also rich in Vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids and B vitamins. B vitamins may help prevent inflammation and aid in the new brain cell development. If you have high cholesterol limit eggs to 3 times a week.
Dark Chocolate: Chocolate lovers will be happy to know that dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants and also has natural stimulants which can help boost your concentration and focus. In addition it revs up the production of endorphins which help elevate your mood. Buy a good quality dark chocolate that has more than 70% cocoa.
Almonds: Like fatty fish, almonds are high in omega-3 fatty acids. They are also rich in antioxidants, including vitamin E that enable you to stay focused, alert, and functioning at peak mental capacity. Almonds make a great mid-afternoon snack.
Green tea or coffee: A few years ago European researchers found that individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s consumed far less caffeine than individuals who did not develop the disease. The theory is that caffeine’s stimulating effect increases activity in the brain, blocking the development of proteins associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s. Both coffee and green teas are also rich in antioxidants. TIP: Keep chilled green tea in your refrigerator all summer. Try adding pink grapefruit, mango, or pineapple juice. Try this recipe for Mango Tango iced green tea. Delicious!
Check out these other helpful tips to keep your gray matter from shrinking:
- Take up a new language, hobby, or learn to play a musical instrument
- Try Yoga or meditate – Regular mediator’s brains exhibit high levels of gamma waves, associated with attention, working memory, and learning.
- Stay away from stress – Long periods of worry or anxiety may harm your brain. Take a deep breath, and try to deal with things immediately, if possible
- Exercise – Exercise produces large quantities of endorphins that helps neurons survive and encourages the growth of new ones.
Social interaction, mental challenges, and physical fitness are all key components to staying sharp.
While you are sharpening up your memory skills, don’t forget to have fun!