Keep your brain sharp no matter your age with these four brain-friendly superfoods that should be on everyone’s menu.
Still feel a little guilty about your coffee habit? You shouldn’t. Every day new benefits are being uncovered for this ancient brew, and it turns out keeping your brain healthy is one of them.
Three recent studies suggest drinking several cups of this superfood every day could protect you against cognitive decline, dementia and even Alzheimer’s disease.
Middle aged men and women who down three to five cups of java daily are 65 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer’s, according to one study.1 Florida researchers say that three cups of coffee a day could also put the brakes on mild cognitive decline.2 And women who consume over 261 milligrams of caffeine daily (around three cups of coffee) are 36 percent less likely to develop dementia than those getting less than 64 milligrams, according to scientists at Baltimore based Johns Hopkins University.3
So stop feeling bad about your daily brew. If you aren’t caffeine sensitive feel free to down several cups a day. Just skip the sugar. Got a sweet tooth? Try stevia instead.
2. Wild caught fish:
Swedish scientists are now saying grandma was right all along, fish really is brain food. Or at least one of the star nutrients in wild caught fatty fish is.
For over nine years, researchers tracked a group of more than 500 volunteers over the age of 50. Folks with the highest vitamin B12 levels routinely aced memory tests, performing significantly better than those who had low levels of this brain-boosting nutrient.4
But the brain benefits don’t end with B12. Experts say the omega-3 fatty acid DHA, also found in fish, could also increase the gray matter in your brain, helping to fight off memory loss and improve cognitive function.5,6
A serving or two of fish a week—such as mackerel, salmon, sardines or tuna— is a great way to boost your B12 and omega-3 levels. Scallops, clams, shrimp and beef are great sources of B12 too.
You may be able to fight off age-related memory loss simply be eating a serving of strawberries, blueberries or acai berries a week. According to research presented at an annual meeting of the American Chemical Society the berries act like natural housekeepers, sweeping away the proteins that are linked to memory loss.7
A weekly serving of over half a cup of blueberries or two and a half cups of strawberries could roll back your brain age by over two years, according to one study.8 And the polyphenols in berries have been found to improve memory and our ability to learn new things.9
Spinach contains plenty of lutein and zeaxanthin, which experts say may be able to protect your brain against cognitive decline. And spinach is also swimming in vitamin E, which research has revealed could help shield the nerve cells in your brain.10
The B vitamins in dark leafy greens support overall brain function, and researchers say they may also be able to help hold back shrinkage in areas of the brain that are linked to Alzheimer’s disease.11 Plus a Harvard Medical School study found that women who eat the most veggies, especially leafy greens such as spinach, have a significantly slower rate of cognitive decline than ladies who avoid them.12
1. “Midlife coffee and tea drinking and the risk of late-life dementia: a population-based CAIDE study,” J Alzheimers Dis. 2009;16(1):85-91
2. “High Blood Caffeine Levels in MCI Linked to Lack of Progression to Dementia,” Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease 30 (2012) 559–572
3. “Relationships Between Caffeine Intake and Risk for Probable Dementia or Global Cognitive Impairment: The Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study,” J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci (2016)
4. “Association of Vitamin B12, Folate, and Sulfur Amino Acids With Brain Magnetic Resonance Imaging Measures in Older Adults A Longitudinal Population-Based Study,” JAMA Psychiatry. 2016;73(6):606-613
5. “Long-chain omega-3 fatty acid intake is associated positively with corticolimbic gray matter volume in healthy adults,” Neurosci Lett. 2007 Jun 29;421(3):209-12.
6. “DHA supplementation improved both memory and reaction time in healthy young adults: a randomized controlled trial,” Am J Clin Nutr, March 20, 2013
7. “Eating berries may activate the brain’s natural housekeeper for healthy aging,” 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, Presented August 23, 2010, acs.org, Accessed: 2/23/2017
8. “Dietary intakes of berries and flavonoids in relation to cognitive decline,” Ann Neurol. 2012 Jul;72(1):135-43. doi: 10.1002/ana.23594. Epub 2012 Apr 26
9. “Protective effects of berry polyphenols against age-related cognitive impairment,” Journal: Nutrition and Aging, vol. 3, no. 2-4, pp. 89-106, 2015
10. “A possible role for lutein and zeaxanthin in cognitive function in the elderly,” Am J Clin Nutr November 2012, vol. 96 no. 5 1161S-1165S
11. “Homocysteine-Lowering by B Vitamins Slows the Rate of Accelerated Brain Atrophy in Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Randomized Controlled Trial,” PLOS ONE, Published: September 8, 2010
12. “Fruit and vegetable consumption and cognitive decline in aging women,” Ann Neurol. 2005 May;57(5):713-20
She is an advocate of self-education and is passionate about the power of group knowledge sharing, like the kind found right here on HealthierTalk.com. Alice loves to share her views on holistic and natural healing as well as her, sometimes contentious, thoughts on the profit-driven inner workings of traditional medicine.
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