Here are 10 foods you should add into your diet that can help improve your mind:
- Leafy greens. Some ideas: kale, spinach, collard and mustard greens. These foods are high in folate and B9, which improve cognition and reduce depression.
- Cruciferous vegetables. Broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, brussels sprouts and kale contain folate and have cartenoids that lower homo-cysteine (an amino acid linked with cognitive impairment).
- Beans and legumes. These foods contain more folate, iron, magensium and potassium that can help with general body function and neuron firing. They also contain choline, a B vitamin that boosts acetylcholine (a neuro transmitter critical for brain function).
- Whole grains. Good bets include quinoa, and gluten-free oats (not bread and cereal)
- Berries and cherries. These fruits contain anthocyanin that protects the brain from further damage caused by free radicals. They also have anti-inflammatory properties and contain antioxidants and lots of vitamin C and E.
- Pumpkin, squash, asparagus, tomatoes, carrots and beets. These vegetables, if not overcooked, contain vitamin A, folate and iron that help with cognition.
- Omega 3s. People whose diets contain daily omega 3s have been shown to have 26% less risk of having brain lesions that cause dementia compared with those who do not. These fatty acids help the brain to stay in top shape. You can get your omega fatty acids from fish, flax seeds, olive oil (not safflower) or by taking a good quality omega 3 supplement.
- Almonds, cashews, walnuts, hazelnuts, peanuts and pecans. All of these nuts contain omega-3s and omega-6s, vitamin E, folate, vitamin B6 and magnesium.
- Sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds. These seeds contain zinc, choline and vitamin E.
- Cinnamon, sage, tumeric and cumin. Theses spices can all help to break up brain plaque and reduce inflammation of the brain which can cause memory issues. In addition to eating the foods listed above, you’ll want to decrease the risk of illnesses that can make your brain age such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes and hypertension.
Other things to avoid are the toxins in your food, water, soil and environment, unnecessary stress, caffeine, sugar, drugs, alcohol and sugar.
Encourage healthy decisions, conscientiousness, positive peer groups, a clean environment, exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, 8 hours of sleep, stress management and gratitude.
A healthy diet does more than benefit our waistlines. It improves our heart health, lowers our risk for cancer, diabetes, and other diseases, and keeps our minds healthy. In fact, research has shown that a poor diet impacts memory and increases a person’s chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Why Some Foods Induce Memory Loss
The brain needs its own brand of fuel. It requires healthy fats, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and adequate vitamins and minerals. Consuming too little of these foods and too many complex carbohydrates, processed foods and sugar stimulates the production of toxins in the body. Those toxins can lead to inflammation, the build-up of plaques in the brain and, as a result, impaired cognitive function.
These effects apply to people of all ages, not just seniors.
Foods That Induce Memory Loss
Unfortunately, the foods that hamper memory are common staples in diet. White breads, pasta, processed meats and cheeses, all of these have been linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Some experts have even found that whole grain breads are as bad as white breads because they spike blood sugar, which causes inflammation.
Here’s a list of foods linked to increased rates of Alzheimer’s disease:
- Processed cheeses, including American cheese, mozzarella sticks, Cheez Whiz and Laughing Cow. These foods build up proteins in the body that have been associated with Alzheimer’s.
- Processed meats, such as bacon, smoked turkey from the deli counter and ham. Smoked meats like these contain nitrosamines, which cause the liver to produce fats that are toxic to the brain.
- Beer. Most beers contain nitrites, which have been linked to Alzheimer’s.
- White foods, including pasta, cakes, white sugar, white rice and white bread. Consuming these causes a spike in insulin production and sends toxins to the brain.
- Microwave popcorn contains diacetyl, a chemical that may increase amyloid plaques in the brain. Research has linked a buildup of amyloid plaques to Alzheimer’s disease.
Healthy Foods That Boost Memory
Changing dietary habits is never easy. However, avoiding foods that induce memory loss and eating more of the foods that boost memory improves your chances of enjoying all-around health.
Here’s the list of foods that help boost memory for seniors and the rest of us:
- Leafy green vegetables
- Salmon and other cold-water fish
- Berries and dark-skinned fruits
- Coffee and chocolate
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Cold-pressed virgin coconut oil