6 Best Memory Foods & Brain Health
If you’re searching for the best memory foods for improving brain health, you’re not the only one.
The best foods for memory are:
What are the 3 foods that fight memory loss?
Berries, fish, and leafy green vegetables are backed by evidence supporting their ability to attenuate memory loss for humans.
A LOT of adults are dealing with memory issues. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, one in nine American adults aged 45 and older say they are experiencing some degree of memory loss.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Memory loss is NOT a normal part of aging, and you don’t have to suffer with this issue. In fact, fixing this problem can be downright enjoyable when you eat these memory-aiding foods.
Eggs: the Brain Food
Eggs are more than just a breakfast staple; they are known as a “brain food”. The reason for their memory enhancing power seems to be choline. Choline is an essential nutrient that offers many health benefits, especially in the brain.
When you eat eggs, your body converts the choline to acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that facilitates communication between brain cells. This helps quicken and enhance memory.
Though eggs are one of the best foods for memory, you’d have to eat at least a dozen eggs per day to benefit from their choline-content.
Spinach: the Best Memory Food Booster
Thanks to the cartoon character Popeye, most people think of spinach as a superfood that increases muscle strength.
Turns out, spinach is much more effective as a memory enhancer. That’s because spinach is loaded with folate (B-9).
Folate is vital for brain function, especially when it comes to memory and learning. In fact, even short-term supplementation has been found to boost memory and improve IQ.
Though the folate in spinach can help fix memory issues, folate is easily destroyed during cooking. Plus, due to genetic mutations, many people lack the gene necessary to absorb folate.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids: An Essential Brain Food
Like eggs, fish has the reputation for being a “brain food”. This is because it is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega-3s are essential fats that your body cannot make on its own. You must get them through diet, which is one of the reasons an estimated 70% of people are deficient in this nutrient. (The standard American diet typically does not include omega-3 rich food.)
And that’s a shame because fish and other food that contains omega-3s is great for the mind and memory! DHA is one type of omega-3 that has been shown to be particularly effective at fixing memory issues.
Studies show that DHA may help memory, cognition and focus! It also helps increase blood flow to the brain, helping boost brain power.
With all these brain-boosting benefits, fish should be your go-to food if you want to improve your memory.
How memory and our brain cells change with cognitive decline
It’s important that we understand why our brain cells change with cognitive decline in order to comprehend how these foods reverse brain aging.
Let’s jump into it:
Brain cells change with decreasing or faltering function by shrinking in size and neuron quantity. This shrinkage directly impacts memory as well as our ability to reason, focus and think flexibly.
The hippocampus is especially prone to these changes. In neurodegenerative diseases, the hippocampus is one of the first areas to suffer damage.
This loss of cells impairs memory function and formation and recall, which is why memory foods are so important for seniors!
Scientific Evidence and Our Brain Function
In this section we’re going to discuss foods that improve brain function. Additionally, it’s important to include neurological diseases and cognitive declining states like:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Brain Fog
- Age Related neurodegenerative diseases
The brain in Alzheimer’s undergoes atrophy, which is a decrease in the size of tissues or organs. In addition to memory decline, this shrinkage also causes personality changes, impaired movement and problems with speech and understanding.
What do brain foods do in Alzheimer’s disease and how:
There is increasing evidence that memory foods improve brain function in Alzheimer’s patients. This is due to their ability to protect and restore neurons as well as stimulate stem cell production.
They do this by:
- Reducing inflammation
- Stopping the build-up of toxins
- Promoting neuron growth (brain healthy and overall brain health positive)
- Supporting the growth of new synaptic connections
This research suggests these findings but it is ongoing, however, memory foods may become an important factor in the treatment of Alzheimer’s in the future.
Brain fog can be described as a lack of focus, memory issues and feeling like you’re in a haze. It’s often accompanied by fatigue. This symptom can be caused by many things, including stress, sleep deprivation and medication side effects.
What do the best brain foods do in a fog and how
These Brain healthy foods positively impact recovery from the fog:
Salmon: The omega-3 fatty acids in fish keep your brain at the top of its game. Specifically, fatty fish like salmon are a great source of DHA, which helps increase memory. Brain and nerve cells love fatty fish.
Walnuts: These nuts protect cells as diets rich in them are packed with antioxidants, vitamin E and fiber, all of which are good for your brain health. They also contain omega-3 fatty acids, making them a great choice for memory foods.
Berries: Blueberries are brain boosting, raspberries and blackberries are all excellent sources of antioxidants, which help protect your brain cells from damage (free radical damage). These berries also contain anthocyanins, compounds that help recover memory function.
Olive oil: This healthy oil is a good source of monounsaturated fats, which are beneficial for your brain health. These fats help with memory, protect your cells from damage and reduce inflammation.
With decreased inflammation, our nerve signaling provides for a sharper memory, reduced risk, improved cognition, and keeps the brain alert.
Avocados: Another great source of monounsaturated fats, avocados are also high in antioxidants and vitamin E. They help boost memory, boosts brain function, reduce inflammation and protect your cells from damage.
Dark leafy greens: Dark leafy greens are a great source of antioxidants, vitamin E and B vitamins. They also contain magnesium, which is essential for brain function.
They help increase cognitive function and support brain health by
- Increase memory recall
- Reduce stress levels
- Regulate blood sugar levels
- Improve sleep quality
Again, many of these benefits come from the foods ability to reduce inflammation, stop the build-up of toxins and promote neuron growth.
Age Related Neurodegenerative Diseases:
Neurodegenerative states are diseases that damage the cells of the nervous system. This damage eventually leads to progressive decline in function. These diseases impact cognitive abilities, motor skills and memory.
These healthy foods positively impact recovery from Neurodegenerative disorders:
Omega-3 fatty acids: These fatty acids are found in fish oil and help protect the brains from damage. They also improve memory and cognition.
Vitamin B12: The b vitamins are essential for healthy function. People with neurodegenerative disease often have low levels of B12. Getting enough b vitamins can help improve memory, improve cognitive function, and nerve signals.
Folate: This vitamin is also essential for the brain’s function. People with neurodegenerative diseases often have low levels of folate. Getting enough of this vitamin can help improve memory and cognition.
Vitamin K : This vitamin is important for memory and cognition. People with neurodegenerative disease often have low levels of vitamin K. Getting enough of this vitamin can help improve memory and cognitive function.
Antioxidants: Antioxidants help protect the cells of the nervous system from damage. They are found in many different healthy foods, including berries, vegetables and nuts.
Now that we covered foods positively impacting brain health in mild cognitive impairment, brain development diseases, and poor mental function we’re going to talk about certain foods that actually cause damage.
What foods make your memory worse?
There are tons of poor foods and diets that rob our brains of good saturated fats, essential nutrients, induces a brain’s shrinkage, and rob us from a healthy lifestyle. You’ll quickly realize how crucial our brain boosting foods need to always be a part of a healthy diet.
Slow cognitive decline and memory impairment foods:
Sugary Drinks: Sugary drinks (not to be confused with healthy caffeine consumption) damage the neural network by promoting inflammation and oxidative stress. This leads to memory problems, as well as a wide range of health problems.
Processed Foods: Processed foods are loaded with unhealthy chemicals, artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives. These chemicals have been shown to damage the brain and lead to memory problems.
Fatty Foods: Fatty foods can cause inflammation in the brain, which leads to memory problems. They can also lead to a condition called Alzheimer’s disease.
Alcohol: Excessive alcohol consumption can damage the brain and lead to memory problems.
Aspartame: Aspartame is a chemical found in many diet drinks. It has been linked to memory problems and other health issues. The mechanism of action is still unknown, but it is thought to cause damage to the cells of the nervous system.
Refined Carbs: Refined carbs, such as white bread and pasta, are low in fiber and nutrients. They can cause blood sugar spikes, which can lead to memory problems.
Foods High in Trans Fats: Foods high in trans fats can damage the brain and lead to memory problems. Trans fats hurt brain health by increasing inflammation and oxidative stress.
Highly Processed Foods: Highly processed foods are loaded with unhealthy chemicals, artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives. These chemicals have been shown to damage the brain and lead to memory problems.
Beta carotene is a nutrient found in many fruits and vegetables. It is important for healthy brain function. However, it can also be harmful to the brain.
Too much can actually damage the cells of the nervous system and lead to memory problems. This is a particular concern for people who take supplements containing high levels of beta carotene.
Bringing Memory Foods Together:
In order to stay healthy, it’s important to eat your leafy greens, eat fish, stay on top of your vitamins such as Vitamin E & Vitamin K & Vitamin C, indulge in healthy fats to build new brain cells, blood vessels, and maintain a solid blood brain barrier control center.
What about the blood brain barrier?
The BBB acts as a shield that protects the brain from harmful substances in the blood. It is also important for controlling the passage of nutrients into and out of the brain.
When the BBB is damaged, it can allow harmful substances to enter the brain and damage the cells. This can lead to memory problems.
Dark Chocolate has been studied as a brain healthy food. Specifically, it has been shown to improve memory and cognition.
It is thought that this is due to the antioxidants found in dark chocolate. These antioxidants help protect the neurons from damage and thus we experience slower mental decline.
So, What’s the Bottom Line?
Our memory is one of our most precious assets. To keep our memory functioning at its best, it’s important to eat a healthy diet that includes plenty of memory-boosting foods!
What if You Can’t Eat All These Memory Boosting Foods?
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