Improving Brain Health and Memory with These Common Foods and Supplements October 20, 2015 06:23
written by Dean Vaughn Staff Writer
No matter your age, a strong memory is highly important for living a successful and prosperous life. Being able to recall things with little to no effort will help you throughout your life, both educationally and professionally. One of the best things you can do to help your brain operate at its peak is to eat healthy memory-boosting foods and supplements. Eating foods and supplements like the ones listed below may help sharpen your memory, also putting you on the track toward optimal health.
Foods Rich in Vitamin E
There is growing evidence to suggest that a vitamin E supplement and foods that naturally have vitamin E in them will help the mind and memory of older individuals. Vegetable oil-based salad dressings, sunflower seeds, nuts, peanut butter, dark colored fruits, like blueberries and avocados, spinach, and whole grains will all contain a good amount of vitamin E, which may help protect neurons or nerve cells in your brain, according to a study published in the Journal of American Medical Association. However, getting an unsafe amount of vitamin E can have negative effects on your overall health, so be sure to speak with your doctor.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
There are bad fats and there are good fats. Omega-3 is a good fat. Foods that contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, especially those including docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) have been shown to aid neurons in your brain in functioning properly. Salmon, tuna, halibut, oysters, and trout all have high amounts of omega-3s, so be sure to integrate these foods into your diet at least a couple of times a week. Plus, more fish means less red meats, which is great for those trying to lower cholesterol, lose weight, or just generally trying to live a healthier life.
Dark Green Vegetables
Foods like kale, spinach, and broccoli are not only high in vitamin E, but they also contain many antioxidants and folate. Folate may help lower amino acid levels. In a study done by the American Society for Clinical Nutrition, folate-rich foods have been shown to improve memory by decreasing inflammation and aiding in healthy blood flow, by helping your body break down an amino acid called homocysteine, which may trigger the death of nerve cells as well as increase the risk for heart disease.
Caffeine, B12, and other Supplements
Having as much caffeine in two cups of coffee has been shown to increase brain activity in regions of the brain that is involved with memory. Not getting enough B12 in your diet has been shown to be linked to memory loss in some way, but there is still much research to be done. It is important to not have a B12 deficiency, however, there is also no evidence suggesting that high levels of B12 can greatly improve memory function either.
Other supplements to aid in improving your memory include ginkgo biloba, acetyl-l carnitine (ALC), and phosphatidyl serine. Each of these have been studied and have been shown to bring positive effects on memory function, brain development, and concentration.
Ok, so this isn’t a food or supplement, but it is important to mention nonetheless. Getting the right amount of exercise everyday can often be more beneficial than only eating properly. Regular exercise helps decrease stress, ward off diseases like Alzheimer’s, heart disease, obesity, and a slew of other life-threatening diseases. By combining the foods and supplements above as well as exercising regularly, your brain and body will be able to function at its best, no matter your age or gender.
Keep in mind, these foods and supplements won’t instantly give you a perfect memory, but they will aid in helping your brain develop as well as keeping your whole body healthy. There truly is no fix-all approach to ensuring you have a healthy brain, but eating healthy and taking the proper supplements can certainly help.