Everyone knows a healthy diet helps our bodies remain active and in good form, but not everyone realizes that healthy food choices also improve memory. Healthy foods contain natural nutrients that can actually improve memory as we age. Here is a list of eight nutrients that will boost your memory.
Vitamin E Protects Neurons: Eating foods rich in vitamin E brings potent antioxidants into your system that protect nerve cells. With Alzheimer’s disease, a progression of nerve damage is seen in the brain. As that worsens, cognitive deterioration occurs. Vitamin E helps the brain fight that deterioration. Find this nutrient in oils, seeds, nuts, legumes and whole grains.
Fish is good for the heart and brain: Fish high in omega-3 fatty acids and docosahexaenoic acid help keep brain neurons healthy and active. Unlike red meats that may contribute to artery blockage and deterioration, fish keeps the neurons fed and healthy.
Folates protect the brain: Another source of vitamin E with the added oomph of folate are dark leafy greens such as the brassicas broccoli, kale and collard greens. Although it is not totally clear how folate protects the brain, we do know that it helps break down homocysteine levels in the brain. Homocysteine is believed to cause brain nerve death.
Resveratrol boosts memory: Resveratrol is a nutrient found in the skins of red wine grapes, blueberries, peanuts, pistachios, cranberries and even chocolate. It helps protect brain nerve cell damage, which leads to better memory. It also is thought to limit the spread of cancer cells, lowering the risk of heart disease and insulin resistance.
Choline improves memory: The choline compounds may promote synthesis and transmission of neurotransmitters important to memory. Choline, usually found in eggs and meat, can also be found in legumes and nuts. Try eating almonds, pumpkin seeds, lima beans and lentils for plant-based sources of choline.
Monounsaturated fats contribute to blood flow: Blood flow is important for a healthy brain, and by increasing monounsaturated fats in your diet, you are actually enhancing your memory and your brain. Find these fats in avocado, which also is rich in omega-3, and omega-6 fatty acids. You will also lower your cholesterol and aid your body in the absorption of antioxidants by eating this fruit.
Vinpocetine supplements enhance brain metabolism: While not a nutrient found in food, per se, vinpocetine is a derivative of the periwinkle plant that behaves a lot like vitamin E in the brain. It can slow the loss of brain neurons in older adults, and hence enhance memory, concentration and cognitive ability. There are some serious implications, though, when taken in conjunction with other medications for other conditions. Consultation with your ND is necessary before taking this supplement.
Omega 3 fatty acids: This nutrient has been extensively studied regarding its impact on health. One benefit of a diet rich in omega-3 is its impact on better memory performance. While most people associate omega-3s with fatty deep-water fish, vegans will be pleased to know they can find plant-based omega-3s in flax seed and algae-based DHA supplements. Omega-3s can also be used to reduce inflammation in the body, which helps reduce arthritis