Superfoods That Boost Your Memory and Protect Your Brain
by Ambra Giuliano
Researchers revealed that some natural healing nutrients and vitamins help boost your memory and lower levels of cognitive decline. It is important to bear in mind that the National Institutes of Health has said there is insufficient evidence that food, diet, or lifestyle will prevent Alzheimer’s disease, however nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin K, vitamin A, Iron, vitamin C, and vitamin E, have been medically proven to keep your whole body, including your brain and memory, healthy. It is possible to create a wide range of tasty combinations with these ingredients that, although do not represent a cure, will give your brain a boost of the nutrients it requires. Let’s then have a look at these brain booster foods, to make sure you and your loved ones get enough of them:
Oil based salad dressings are high in vitamin E, and research suggests that foods rich in vitamin E are associated with a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Olive oil especially contains a substance called oleocanthal that helps boost the production of key proteins and enzymes that help break down the amyloid plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease. A potent antioxidant, vitamin E may help protect neurons or nerve cells. In Alzheimer’s disease, neurons in certain parts of the brain start to die, which jump-starts the cascade of events leading to cognitive deterioration.
Vegetables,especially Dark green leafy ones such as kale, collard greens, spinach, and broccoli are good sources of vitamin E and folate, which have been strongly linked to lower levels of cognitive decline in older age, according to a study in the Annals of Neurology. For example, one cup of raw spinach has 15% of your daily intake of vitamin E, and 1/2 a cup of cooked spinach has 25% of your daily intake.
Salmon and other cold-water fish, such as halibut, tuna, mackerel and sardines, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, including docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). “In the brain, DHA seems to be very important for the normal functioning of neurons,” says Martha Clare Morris, ScD, director of the section on nutrition and nutritional epidemiology in the Department of Internal Medicine at Rush University, in Chicago.
Peanuts and peanut butter,although both high in fat, tend to be a source of healthy fats and they are packed with vitamin E. Both foods may help keep the heart and brain healthy and functioning properly. Other good choices are almonds and hazelnuts.
Berries and dark-skinned fruitsare rich in antioxidants. The latest research presented at the National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in Boston found that blueberries, strawberries, and acai berries may help put the brakes on age-related cognitive decline by preserving the brain’s natural “housekeeper” mechanism, which wanes with age. This mechanism helps get rid of toxic proteins associated with age-related memory loss.
Coffee and chocolate are surprisingly good for you. Recent studies have shown that caffeine and coffee can be used as therapeutics against Alzheimer’s disease. The caffeine and antioxidants in these two tasty treats may help ward off age-related memory impairment, along with cinnamon, olive oil and curry. Whole grains are an integral part of the Mediterranean diet, which is also loaded with fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, olive oil, and wine. Research out of Columbia University Medical Center in New York City shows that this diet may be linked to lower risk of the mild cognitive impairment that can progress to Alzheimer’s disease. This type of diet may reduce inflammation, oxidative stress, and other vascular risk factors such as high blood pressure—all of which may have a role in increasing risk for brain and heart diseases.
These ingredients do not represent the ultimate Alzheimer’s prevention meal. “I can’t write a prescription for broccoli and say this will help—yet,” said Sam Gandy MD, associate director of the Mount Sinai Medical Center Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, in New York City. However, research proves that the mentioned ingredients, which are rich in specific nutrients and vitamins, are very important for the normal functioning of neurons and preservation of the brain’s natural mechanism. In addition experts suggest that regular exercise is as important, if not more so, as what you eat when it comes to memory-saving lifestyle changes. Researchers all stress that getting regular exercise is also an important part of the process when it comes to staving off many diseases, including Alzheimer’s (you can also enjoy some great workouts by Michael Gonzalez-Wallace & Super Body Super Brain on our app). For all ages, children and adults alike, it is never too early or too late to take care of your brain!
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