Eating for Memory

food memory over40 Dec 30, 2021

When I reached my 40s, I became much more aware of my mental abilities.

I worried I wasn’t as quick or sharp as I used to be.

Since I’m always physically and mentally active, I felt I had that covered.

I knew I could benefit from a little more sleep, but I also realized I needed a different kind of brain fuel: food for the brain.

Let’s talk about your brain.

You know, that mysterious organ encased in a skull and sitting on top of your neck. Keeping it healthy and vital are essentially matters of life and death.

So it only makes sense you would want to help ensure you provide it with the best possible brain food. 

Did you know specific foods have been found to be especially beneficial for brain health?

If you are already including these foods in your diet, then congratulations!

If you are not, however, it’s time to introduce them slowly and gradually. 

  • Berries: Blueberries and its cousins are a rich source of anthocyanins, plant components that are great at fighting inflammation and providing antioxidant protection, including damage to your brain. Some of the antioxidants in blueberries can improve memory in older adults. 
  • Broccoli: This vegetable contains many antioxidants that benefit the brain as well as vitamin K, which plays a role in brain cell health. Some research has indicated that higher levels of vitamin K may improve memory. 
  • Dark chocolate: Look for dark chocolate with a cocoa content of 70 percent or greater. This delicious treat may help enhance memory and learning as well as help with age-related mental decline and boost mood. 
  • Fatty fish: When was the last time you ate salmon, herring, or tuna? All of these foods are rich in omega-3. This fat is essential for your brain because it helps build brain and nerve cells, and it also may slow mental decline. 
  • Green tea: Did you remember to drink your green tea today? This beverage, which is low in caffeine, has components that are important for brain health. L-theanine, for example, is an amino acid that crosses the blood-brain barrier and can result in reduced anxiety and a sense of calm. 
  • Nuts: Eat more nuts and enjoy better memory. That’s the gist of what several research studies have shown. These benefits to the brain may be related to the healthy fats, antioxidants, and vitamin E found in nuts. Raw nuts are great for snacks, in salads, and with fruits and vegetables. They also make tasty nut butters. 
  • Oranges: This fruit is a super source of vitamin C, which is necessary for helping reduce the risk of cognitive decline. In fact, research shows that higher levels of vitamin C are associated with improvements in memory, attention, and focus. Vitamin C also protects the brain against anxiety, Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, and depressive disorder.
  • Pumpkin seeds: The dried seeds from pumpkins contain potent antioxidants that help protect the brain as well as high levels of magnesium, copper, iron, and zinc. Magnesium helps with memory and learning, while copper and zinc both are helpful for controlling nerve signaling. Low levels of either mineral are associated with a great risk of neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Iron is necessary for proper brain function.
  • Turmeric/curcumin: This yellow spice contains curcumin, an active anti-inflammatory and antioxidant that has been linked to several brain-related benefits. For example, curcumin may improve memory in people who have Alzheimer’s. The active compound also may ease depression and anxiety as well as assist in the production of new brain cells.

As we get older, it’s even more important to eat for our brain. If you need help incorporating these delicious brainy foods into your menu, check out the many recipes and other food tips on Divine Renewal.