The mind, to perform at its peak, needs special nutrients. There are six essential foods that can help improve memory and keep it sharp into old age.
Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other brain disorders are on the rise. While mental deterioration is generally accepted as part of the aging process, there are those who manage to get through to old age and still keep their memories sharp. A closer inspection reveals that what they eat has a profound impact on the health of the brain.
Everyone hopes to avoid the ravages of age-related illness. But keeping a sharp memory is next to impossible in a world filled with toxins and the chemicals that make up the ingredients of many foods on supermarket shelves. Eating wholesome foods, the kind of foods that nature intended isn’t easy to come by. But there are six essential foods that can help keep memory sharp no matter what the age.
The Wonder of Berries
Number one for brain health come the berries. Blueberries, strawberries, black currants and raspberries contain a good deal of anthocyanins and polyphenols that help protect brain cells from the stress caused by amyloid-B, a peptide linked to Alzheimer’s.
Blueberries have been the recent focus of many studies recently. These wonder berries increase the production of brain cells and improves the ability of the cells to communicate with one another. The antioxidants in berries reduce the stress caused by oxidation in the brain. Strawberries have a good deal of phytochemicals that help control the inflammation that leads to degeneration of the brain.
The Benefits of Turmeric
Often used in Indian cooking, curry contains turmeric which shows several health benefits to both body and mind. The benefits include cancer protection, cardiovascular health and joint pain relief for arthritis sufferers.
When it comes to Alzheimer rates throughout the world, India has the lowest rate. Studies show that turmeric also activates brain tissue that allows antioxidants to flow and protect brain tissue.
The Benefits of Green Tea
Green tea has been under a great deal of scientific scrutiny and found to have many healthful benefits. In one study, EGCG (Epigallocatechin gallate), a strong antioxidant in the tea, helped to lower the protein that builds up as plaque in the brain. Plaque buildup has been linked to severe memory loss and the nerve damage that strikes many Alzheimer’s patients.
Omega-3 for Brain Function
Omega-3 is an unsaturated, all-natural fat that should be a staple in every diet. But today’s diet leans more heavily toward omega-6 fats. Omega-3 is crucial in helping the connections made between nerve cells in the brain that helps increase retention. It’s commonly found in oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines. Fish, unfortunately, is not a staple in the average American diet.
Spinach for Brain Health
Popeye knew something about the benefits of spinach. Dark green leafy vegetables have high levels of folate and potassium which reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease and eye degeneration. Spinach helps prevent oxidative stress cause by free radicals. The proliferation of free radicals cause the body to age faster including the functioning of the brain. Eating more spinach can help prevent long-term memory loss and improve learning ability at any age.
The Versatility of Flaxseed
Flax seed contains a different kind of omega-3 as commonly found in fish. It can make a good alternative for those who don’t like fish. Unlike fish, flaxseed has many uses. It can be sprinkled over breakfast cereals and deserts, mixed in with soups and stews and used to bake healthy bread. Since the outer shell is hard, flaxseed must be ground to release the beneficial oils.
Alzheimer’s and Dementia can be prevented with the use of these six key foods. That spells hope for the millions that require the help of family, doctors and the drugs that only delay the onset of these diseases.
- Nutrition Supplements Health Guide: “The Benefits of Turmeric” (accessed Jan. 13, 2011)
- About.com: “Health Benefits of Eating Berries” (accessed Jan. 14, 2011)