If you’re only as old as you feel, it’s safe to say that the war against aging starts and ends in your mind—literally.
No wrinkle cream in the world will make a difference if your brain is on the decline. But a razor-sharp memory can slash years off your age from the inside out.
And according to one new study, at least, that means that the real secret to staying forever young is actually a lot simpler than you might think.
This recent randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial examined the effects of polyphenols from grapes and blueberries on memory function in older adults. The volunteers were a mix of 215 men and women between the ages of 60 and 70 years old.
Researchers randomly assigned them to take a polyphenol extract or a placebo every day for 24 weeks. At the end of the trial, scores on the Mini-Mental State Examination revealed some big improvements in certain volunteers. Folks who started the trial with more significant memory problems did far better on the memory tests after taking the extract.
How much better? Well, incredibly, according to the lead researcher, volunteers who started the study with the memory performance of an 83-year-old ended it with the performance of a 70-year-old.
In other words, a daily dose of polyphenols could turn your brain’s clock back a dozen years or more.
Grocery store brain health boosters
Polyphenols are potent antioxidants and natural disease-fighters. So it only makes sense that they could play a critical role in Alzheimer’s prevention. But berries aren’t the only food that can make or break your brain health.
Following are five more foods practically guaranteed to slam the brakes on age-related cognitive decline…
1. Fish: Wild-caught fatty fish is the ultimate brain food. Salmon, mackerel, trout, and sardines are packed with the omega-3s your brain needs to operate on all four cylinders.
These fatty acids protect and nourish brain and nerve cells and are critical for cognitive function, memory, and performance. In fact, squeezing in more omega-3s can help to ward off age-related brain shrinkage and boost gray matter. Aim for at least two servings of fish per week for better brain health.
2. Broccoli: Broccoli is rich in inflammation-fighting antioxidants. And while we’re still learning about the role it plays in dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, experts believe targeting the inflammatory process could help us treat or prevent the condition.
Broccoli also delivers a hefty load of vitamin K, which is essential for protecting nerve and brain cell integrity. Studies show that older people with higher stores of K have sharper memories. A pretty significant payoff for a vegetable everyone should be eating more of anyway.
MORE memory supporting foods…
3. Curry: If you really want a younger brain, spice things up—literally. A hot plate of curry is loaded with turmeric—and its active ingredient, curcumin. And research shows that this powerhouse antioxidant can fight inflammation, regenerate brain cells, and ward off the amyloid plaques linked with Alzheimer’s disease.
4. Red wine: If you like to have a drink with dinner, or a nightcap, I’ve good news. Experts say a drink a day could help keep the brain doctor away.
Recent research shows that moderate drinkers—one drink daily for women, two for men—are nearly a quarter less likely to develop dementia. And while resveratrol-rich red wine took top honors, beer and spirits netted similar brain health benefits, too.
5. Eggs: Eggs deliver a heaping helping of choline—one of the most powerful brain nutrients in the book. Your body relies on choline to generate the neurotransmitters that facilitate mood, memory, and mental function.
But that’s not all eggs have to offer. They’re also a prime source of brain-nourishing B-vitamins, including folate, B6, and B12.