Foods To Eat To Give Your Memory A Boost
The foods that enter our bodies impact us in more ways than we know. Foods don’t just affect our weight—they actually dictate our mood, our energy, our immunity, memory, and more. Think of our food as fuel and our bodies as cars. In order for your car to go, you need to fill it with the right type of fuel. If your car takes regular fuel, but you fill it with diesel, chances are your car is not going to run very well. The same thing goes for your body—if you fill it with the wrong type of fuel, your body’s overall performance is going to decline. Take memory for example, last week we talked about Alzheimer’s disease. In that blog we mentioned the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle in order to help prevent the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Most specifically for prevention, we talked about diet. As Alzheimer’s disease awareness month wraps up, we wanted to talk about foods that may help improve your memory (and a few foods that may hurt it.)
Think of your brain as a computer or a control center. It is in charge of making your body move, stop, sleep, talk, laugh, cry, breath, remember, etc. Everything that your body does, you have your brain to thank. Since your brain does a lot for you, it is only fair that you take care of it in return. One of the best ways you can do this is by eating brain healthy foods.
Here are a list of foods that helps keep your brain focused and concentrated, in turn helping improve your memory.
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids: There are two main components of Omega 3 fatty acids—EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). For brain health, DHA is the most important Omega 3 fatty acid. It is a critical component of the cerebral cortex, the area of the brain responsible for memory, language, creativity, emotion, personality and judgement. Omega 3 fatty acids are necessary to build healthy cells, reduce inflammation, form important brain chemicals and improve nerve transmission. It is estimated that 80% of the world has low levels of Omega 3 fatty acids. Cold water fish like sardines, anchovies and salmon all provide Omega 3 fatty acids. You can also supplement with a quality fish oil like Nordic Naturals. If supplementing, look for a fish oil that is molecularly distilled and is a pharmaceutical grade. Strive for 2000-2500mg/day.
- Blueberries: This category is not limited to just blueberries—all dark colored berries fall into the brain healthy category. Blueberries and other dark fruits are loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Both of which act against stress and inflammation that the brain may face. When the brain is under constant stress and inflammation, the chances of one developing neurodegenerative diseases increases drastically.
- Turmeric: Recently the popularity of turmeric has been increasing. Turmeric is a yellow, mustardy colored spice that is linked to a number of positive benefits to the brain. Much like blueberries, turmeric is loaded with antioxidants and ant-inflammatory properties that keep the brain from undergoing intense stress and inflammation.
- Broccoli: This category is not limited to just broccoli, all leafy green vegetables are associated with improving memory, improving learning and promoting brain health.
This is just a short list of brain healthy foods. Some other foods that may help improve brain function and memory are: dark chocolate, coffee, nuts, seeds, oranges, and eggs.
Now while these foods can easily be incorporated into your diet, it is equally important to exclude the following unhealthy foods that negatively impacts your brain:
- Processed meat: It should be no surprise that processed meat is unhealthy for our brain and body. Processed meat contains loads of chemical called nitrosamines which, when consumed, causes the liver to produce toxic fats. These fats negatively affect the brain and it’s ability to function.
- Processed cheeses: I know, cheese is a hard thing to let go off; but it’s important to know that cheeses like American cheese, mozzarella sticks, cheese wiz, and any other heavily processed cheese is loaded with fatty proteins that negatively impact our brain.
- Beer: Beer is loaded with a chemical called nitrites, which studies have shown a link to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
- White foods: Some foods are heavily bleached: white bread, white pasta, white sugar, cakes, white rice, white flour, etc. These foods are loaded with bleached carbohydrates that lead to intense spikes in insulin production. This increase of insulin due to the heavy carbohydrate consumption may be linked to the development of Alzheimer’s and dementia.
- Microwave popcorn: Microwave popcorn is easy, convenient, and a staple product in most homes. However, this popcorn contains a chemical called diacetyl which is linked to increased plaque in the brain. The build up of this plaque is a direct link to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
We know that our diet impacts our health because, “we are what we eat.” The American standard diet has declined rapidly and if we don’t see changes soon, we could be looking at more than just an obesity epidemic. In fact, it is said that the development of Alzheimer’s disease may be a form of a new type 3 diabetes. We are seeing the development of these possibly preventable disease increase rapidly amongst families. The biggest take away from this blog is that your health is in your hands and you have the ability to change at any time. Start developing that “you are what you eat mindset” and always remember you are not fast, easy, cheap or fake!