Key foods to fuel your brain

By Jessah Robinson, Adv Dip (Nut Med)

Memory and the ability to clearly remember the events of our lives are among the most important aspects of good health. While memory loss is more common with ageing, there are many other factors involved such as stress, depression, anxiety, nutrient deficiencies, dehydration, and substance abuse. So, when you think about all these other factors, it is very common for younger people to also experience foggy brain and poor memory. Eating the right foods can definitely help to keep your brain forever young. Here are some essential nutrients and associated foods for bolstering your memory:

1. Avocados

This popular fruit is all the rage at the moment, and for good reason. While they used to have a bad rep due to their high fat content, they are full of good monounsaturated fats. These fats stabilise blood sugar levels, promote healthy skin and make you feel full. Avocados are high in folate, and a study proved that consuming an adequate supply of folate in your diet, may reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s by half! And if you are deficient in folic acid, your body will produce large amounts of homocysteine, a toxic protein that can damage your brain. These nutritional powerhouses are also high in tyrosine, an amino acid that stimulates the neurotransmitters involved in memory, concentration and satisfaction.

2. Blueberries

These little blue fruits are bursting with antioxidants, in fact they are one of the highest-antioxidant foods known to man. They are also high in vitamin C, vitamin K and fibre. Due to their extreme nutritional value, they are considered a superfood. Scientists have discovered that the flavonoids in blueberries interact with nerve cells, increasing communication between them and supporting the regeneration of brain cells. Their other many benefits include vision improvement, reducing belly fat, boosting the metabolism and lowering blood sugar levels.

3. Oily fish

Good examples include salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring and sardines. The best way to obtain sufficient omega 3 fatty acids is through consuming oily fish, as lacking in omega 3 can affect your brain cells, causing problems ranging from Alzheimer’s and depression in adults, to learning disabilities in children. If you don’t particularly like fish, you can supplement with a good quality fish oil or krill oil. Omega 3 fatty acids support brain function by reducing brain fog and improving memory. Tuna and sardines in particular, are also a good source of selenium, a powerful antioxidant that has anti-inflammatory properties and can fight free radicals.

4. Egg yolks

Egg yolks are one of the highest sources of phospholipids, fats that are vital to the health of your entire nervous system. The phospholipids and cholesterol in eggs form the membranes that surround and protect every cell in your body, including the brain cells. This sheath also ensures the uninterrupted flow of information between the different parts of the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nerves, reducing brain fog and improving memory. Yolks are also high in choline, a micronutrient which is important for foetal brain development in pregnant women.

5. Leafy green vegetables

This encompasses vegetables such as lettuce, kale, broccoli, Bok choy, spinach and cabbage. Not only are these vegetables very good for liver detoxification and protection, they are also loaded with vitamin K to maintain heart health and keep bones strong. These vegetables contain lutein, a pigment that helps to preserve cognitive function and mental sharpness as the brain ages. Ensure to get between 5 to 8 servings of vegetables a day to reap the health benefits.

6.  Walnuts

It’s no coincidence these nuts are shaped like a brain, as they can greatly improve cognitive health. They are loaded with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals to improve mental alertness, and contain vitamin E to help protect against Alzheimer’s. Try to regularly munch on a few of these, either in your morning breakfast or as part of a trail mix, as they are also excellent for curbing your appetite and lowering blood sugar levels.

Try to incorporate some of these brain-boosting foods into your everyday diet to improve cognitive function and reduce brain fog. There is an effective program to boost your brain in Dr Cabot’s book ‘Alzheimer’s: What You Must Know to Protect Your Brain’.

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