10 Best Foods to Boost Brainpower
It happens to everyone: Not remembering where you put your keys last night or the name of the person you just met a moment ago. These are all signs that the demands of daily life are intruding on your ability to form new memories, which sounds kind of scary. But here's some good news: A few tweaks to your diet might just help restore your memory skills. That's right, it all comes down to making sure you're eating the right brain food.
Here, we rounded up a collection od everyday foods that you can throw into soups, pile on salads, or in a smoothie—basically, you can easily slip into your routine. Boosting your brain health and your memory has never been easier!
Perhaps sipping on a little hot cocoa isn't so bad after all! A study from Columbia University actually links high concentrations of the flavanols in cocoa to reversed age-related mental decline in healthy older adults.
Spinach Salad with Cheese
Spinach packs a three-level punch of vitamin E, vitamin K, and folate to help boost memory function. Folate does the heavy lifting, working with vitamin B12 to help improve cognitive function for older adults without dementia. Since spinach doesn't contain vitamin B12, add some cheese or eggs to a spinach salad, and you're good to go.
Time to get munching on some blueberries! One study found that older adults with early memory changes who consumed wild blueberry juice had improved paired associate learning and word list recall after 12 weeks. Blueberries are also packed with antioxidants which help lessen inflammation.
There's nothing wrong with stocking up on some broccoli during your next shopping trip. It's packed with vitamin K, which has been shown to improve verbal episodic memory, your ability to absorb and remember verbal instructions.
One study found that subjects who drank green tea before a cognitive-functioning test performed significantly better than those who drank a placebo. Researchers who monitored the brain function of those undergoing testing say that the green tea improved brain plasticity—basically, it allowed their brains to learn faster.
They're not only a great, inexpensive source of protein, but black beans also contain a healthy dose of magnesium and folate. Scientists found in the journal Neuron that magnesium can improve cognitive function and memory.
DHA—a type of omega-3 fatty acid found in fattier fish like salmon—can actually improve memory and the time it takes to recall a memory. Researchers tested DHA supplements on a group of 176 adults who had low levels of omega-3s in their diets. What they found was that just 1.16 grams of DHA—what you'd find in a 3 1/2 ounce serving of salmon—made a big difference.
Light to moderate consumption of alcohol later in life correlated to increased episodic memory compared to those who abstained, according to one study. Red wine in particular is packed with polyphenols, which give the glass its dark red color and bitter taste, and give your body a protective dose of antioxidants.
Bright red and orange vegetables are top sources of a type of nutrient called carotenoids, which seem to improve cognition and memory over longer periods of time. One of the most powerful of these nutrients is lycopene, which is found in high doses in the skin of tomatoes. Lycopene also protects you from depression-causing inflammation, so working it into your daily diet can also boost your mood. Why cherry tomatoes, specifically? Because lycopene is concentrated in the skin, the little red buttons carry more. And if you're looking for even more of a boost, be sure to cook your tomatoes, as they'll have higher levels of lycopene than raw ones.
In a study, older subjects were given a dose of beet juice, then hooked up to an MRI machine. The researchers discovered that the beet juice measurably improved blood flow to their brains.
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