6 Memory-Boosting Foods and Drinks for Seniors
Seniors experiencing lapses in memory may worry it’s an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease. It may be, but there are other reasons people forget names, details and even important facts some times. Check out our list of five conditions that may look like Alzheimer’s – but aren’t.
There’s even more good news. You can improve your memory power with a few simple additions to your diet. Here are six brain-boosting foods and beverages.
This drink, enjoyed hot or cold, has long been touted as a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants prevent the formation of free radicals, which can damage brain cells. In recent years, researchers discovered the antioxidant epigallocatechin-3 gallate (EGCG), an organic chemical, also helps the brain produce neuron cells in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for shifting information from short-term to long-term memory. In laboratory tests, EGCG-treated mice showed superior memory and spatial learning skills.
In addition to red wine’s positive effects on your heart and cholesterol levels, there’s another reason to enjoy one glass a night. The same resveratrol that shows amazing anti-aging properties also increases blood flow in the brain for better memory. Additionally, research shows that properties found in both resveratrol and EGCG may actually stave off or prevent Alzheimer’s disease in people who carry a genetic marker for the disease.
Not into imbibing? Purple grape juice can have the same benefits, since resveratrol is concentrated in the skins of grapes.
Deemed one of the “best nuts for your brain” by Health.com, peanuts not only contain the same resveratrol antioxidants as wine and grapes, but they are also loaded with folate, a mineral that has been shown to potentially protect against cognitive decline.
Omega-3 fatty acids are important as the brain rebuilds itself and grows new neurons. That’s why doctors recommend pregnant women and infants consume lots of Omega-3s; the brain is in overdrive before and just after birth creating neurons. But for seniors who want to keep their brain strong, Omega-3s are equally important. Omega-3s are readily available in vitamin supplements, but there’s nothing like getting important nutrients like fatty acids from a natural source. Salmon is packed with Omega-3s, as is albacore tuna. Wild-caught Alaskan and Pacific Coast salmon are also “very low” in mercury content, making them safe to eat several times a week.
Spinach, Broccoli and Kale
Vitamin E, a proven antioxidant, has been shown to prevent the death of neurons. When neurons in the brain start to die, it can kick off rapid cognitive decline. Vitamin E from natural sources has been shown to prevent this chain of events. Leafy green vegetables, including spinach, kale and broccoli are chock full of vitamin E. You can also find vitamin E in canola oil, avocado, and many nuts and seeds, including peanuts.
Yes, there’s yet another reason to drink enough water (between six to eight glasses a day). When your energy and mental capacity drops, your memory suffers. Memory lapses due to dehydration can lead to concerns about impending Alzheimer’s, and stress and worry isn’t good for your body, either.
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