Posted on by Village Green Nutrition Team
People rely on their memory constantly throughout the day, so it can be alarming when it starts to get a bit foggy. Most everyone will sometimes forget to lock a door, pay a bill, or have similar momentary lapses; those are a part of life caused by multitasking and distractions. When memory issues become a regular occurrence, it’s a good idea to check in with your doctor. However, there are also many ways to support your memory through diet and lifestyle.
Brain health, including how people nourish their brains, can affect memory. That’s because certain foods affect specific brain tasks such as memory, concentration and cognitive abilities.
People typically think of food as a source of energy, but it also plays a very important role in health and disease. Recent studies show a definitive connection between certain foods and cognitive health. Foods that contain high levels of antioxidants, folate, flavonoids and omega-3 fatty acids are called brain boosters because of their significant effect on the brain and mental abilities.
Choosing foods rich in nutrients that promote brain health is a good way to boost memory and improve focus. This guide details the four best brain foods, some great memory-supportive supplements, and foods to avoid that may contribute to memory loss.
Foods That Fight Memory Loss
A wide variety of foods can help to prevent memory loss and boost mental health, from fish to berries to leafy greens and more. It’s easy to find a few tasty brain foods, no matter your preferences. Here are some good ones.
Fatty fish such as wild-caught tuna and salmon, as well as herring, are some of the most well-known brain-boosting foods. Roughly 60% of the human brain is composed of fat, half of which is made of omega-3 fatty acids, found in abundance in fatty fish.
The body uses omega-3 fatty acids to produce brain and nerve cells, essential to learning and memory. A deficit of these essential fats is linked to learning disabilities and depression.
This addition to the list is surprising to some because of the caffeine content in coffee, but it is beneficial to the brain. Caffeine blocks adenosine, a chemical that induces sleepiness and boosts dopamine levels, the feel-good hormone.
Coffee also contains antioxidants. They protect the essential building blocks of the body, such as the fats, vitamins and enzymes that the brain needs to do its best work.
Turmeric is a spice that is loaded with health benefits. It is becoming more popular in everyday cuisine. Its active ingredient, curcumin, crosses the blood-brain barrier to disperse its benefits at a cellular level. It has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may help to boost memory and ease depression and symptoms of anxiety.
Turmeric may also help encourage the growth of new brain cells and increase levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, a brain growth hormone.
Blueberries are packed with health benefits, some particularly helpful for brain function. They contain a group of plant compounds called anthocyanins with potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. These powerful properties fight against oxidative stress, a major contributor to neurodegenerative diseases and brain aging.
These are just a few foods that support healthy brain function and memory. In addition to eating a healthy diet, taking nutritional supplements can provide extra benefits, too.
Even the best diet may not provide all of the nutrients we need for optimal brain health – plus other factors such as genetics, lifestyle, environmental toxins, etc., may also play a role in determining specific needs. In addition to diet and lifestyle, nutritional supplements have been shown to support memory and brain health. Some of our favorite memory boosting supplements include the following.
1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Studies have shown supplemental essential fatty acids contribute to significantly lower incidences of memory loss in healthy adults. Taking an omega-3 supplement is a great way to get the powerful benefits of these fatty acids in a concentrated form.
2. Lion’s Mane Mushroom
This medicinal mushroom has long white tendrils hanging from its cap, hence its name. It can be in teas, cooked in dishes, and taken as a supplement. Lion’s Mane has been shown to help protect against dementia and Alzheimer’s, promotes nerve growth and improves mental functions.
3. Brain Support
This synergistic formula is designed to promote healthy brain function and help protect against cognitive decline associated with the aging process. Key ingredients include a standardized extract of gingko biloba, phosphatidylserine, l-carnitine, DHA, choline and inositol.
Supplements come in many forms, from teas and tinctures to gummies, tablets, and syrups. The best type is the one that fits most easily into your lifestyle. Eating a healthy diet and taking supplements for extra support are really important for optimal brain health – and so is knowing which foods to limit or avoid!
Foods to Avoid to Help Prevent Memory Loss
It may come as a surprise that some foods can contribute to memory loss. The brain requires a particular type of food to fuel its mechanisms, such as lean proteins, healthy fats, fruits and vegetables. Unhealthy foods can cause the production of toxins that can build up in the brain and impair many cognitive functions, such as memory. Here are the most common foods that can negatively influence memory issues:
- Processed foods, such as luncheon meats and hot dogs, and many kinds of cheese cause an excess of proteins associated with memory loss. Many contain nitrosamines that cause the production of a toxic fat that affects the brain.
- White foods, such as pasta, bread, sugar, rice and cakes increase insulin levels, sending toxins to the brain.
- Microwave popcorn can contain a chemical called diacetyl that can expand amyloid plaques in the brain, a sign of Alzheimer’s.
A healthy diet is vital to overall wellness. Including plenty of fresh fruits and veggies, lean proteins, beans, legumes and healthy fats helps boost memory, as well as benefiting the entire body.
The Health and Wellness Pros Can Answer Your Questions
Village Green is an integrative pharmacy that offers a wide variety of high quality nutritional supplements, as well as personalized wellness plans to help customers feel their best. Our staff includes pharmacists, nutritionists, naturopathic doctors and clinical herbalists available to guide customers in finding the right solutions for their unique health needs. Contact our team to see how we can help you.
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