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Foods to Improve Memory & Brain Health

by Roger Lehman

  • There is a direct link between what you eat and your overall health. For example, the foods you choose can affect your weight. But, did you know that the foods you choose can also affect other systems in your body, including your cardiovascular system, your dental health and your brain health? The vitamins and mineral found in your food are used by the body to nourish every cell. Research is being done to determine how the foods you eat can affect your brain health. We will go over some of the best foods to eat in order to improve brain health and to protect against age-related decline of brain functions.
  • Oxygen is delivered throughout the body by your blood. In order to function properly, every organ in your body must receive an ample amount of oxygen. The amount of oxygen needed differs throughout the body. For example, your brain requires three times the amount of oxygen as your muscles do. You can improve your brain health by consuming foods that help improve blood flow in the body. One of the best foods you can eat to increase brain health is avocados.
  • In fact, SFGATE, a sister-site to the San Francisco Chronicle, reports that eating a quarter of an avocado daily can improve brain health. (http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/avocado-brain-function-6231.html) Avocados help to improve blood flow throughout the body. When blood flow is increased, the brain is flooded with the oxygen it needs to function properly. In addition to transporting oxygen to the brain, avocados are rich in unsaturated fats, which protect nerve cells and cell membranes in the brain. These nerve cells carry information from the brain to other locations throughout the body. Chickpeas are rich in magnesium and help relax the blood vessels in the body, which, in turn, increases blood flow. Mercola reports that approximately 80 percent of Americans have a magnesium deficiency. (http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/12/17/magnesium-benefits.aspx)
  • Because of these statistics, everyone should include magnesium rich foods in their diets. In addition to chickpeas, dark green leafy vegetables, fish, beans, whole grains, bananas, dark chocolate, nuts and seeds contain high amounts of magnesium.
  • As you age, you may suffer from memory loss. Many people think this is a normal part of aging; however, you can improve your memory retention by eating foods rich in alpha-linolenic acid, antioxidants and flavonoids. Alpha Linolenic Acid and Antioxidants - Walnuts have been shown to improve memory retention. These delicious treats are rich in alpha-linolenic acid or ALA, and antioxidants. ALA improves blood flow in the body and antioxidants protect against free radical damage. Antioxidants fight certain types of cognitive decline disorders and reduce the risk of certain neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease. Flavonoids - Berries, such as blueberries, cherries and blackberries contain high levels of the antioxidant anthocyanidin, which can cross the blood-brain barrier and benefit areas of the brain responsible for learning and memory. Berries also contain flavonoids that protect neural signals in the brain. Eating berries protects against memory loss, loss of focus and improves blood flow in the brain. Eat a serving of berries every week to help prevent cognitive decline.
  • Flavonoids Promote Growth in the Hippocampus - Flavonoids improve brain health by promoting new cellular growth in the hippocampus. The hippocampus is the location where emotion, memory, and the autonomic nervous system is controlled. In addition to berries, cacao, and fruits and vegetables that are red or purple, such as red cabbage, grapes and beets can help improve memory and brain health. Vitamin A and Vitamin K - In addition to the nutrients listed above, vitamin A and vitamin K can defend against age-related deterioration of the brain. Foods rich in these two vitamins include green leafy vegetables, including kale, spinach, mustard greens, turnip greens, collard greens and Swiss chard. Essential Fatty Acids - Essential fatty acids or EFAs are not produced in the body. You will need to consume foods rich in EFAs. EFA-rich foods that help improve brain health include fatty fish like salmon and walnut oil. You can improve your brain function and increase your brain health by eating foods rich in antioxidants, certain vitamins and minerals, and essential fatty acids. These foods help increase your cognitive abilities, improve memory and protect against disease. Begin incorporating these brain beneficial foods into your diet today to help protect against age-related brain decline.
  • Author: Roger Lehman writes and plays music in his spare time. He runs a site called www.bestblenderforthemoney.com that gives you the latest reviews and information on blenders to help you make the right choice.