The brain is considered the most complex living structure known in the universe. It controls every aspect of our bodies. However, nutritional deficiencies that come from consuming a diet high in sugar and processed foods can spell trouble for our ability to think and remember.
Eating the right foods may increase memory retention and cognition and may even help to prevent or delay the onset of certain degenerative brain and memory disorders such as Alzheimer's Disease. Pharmacist and nutrition expert Suzy Cohen (link) says forgetfulness doesn't necessarily have to be a part of getting old.
Suzy Cohen, RPh., a registered pharmacist, told CBN News we can boost our brain power by avoiding packaged foods and feeding our bodies and minds with these memory superfoods.
1. Avocado: Avocados contain a lot of healthy monounsaturated fats which have been studied in the prefrontal cortex, the area of your brain responsible for planning and critical thinking. Healthy fats like this keep your cell membranes flexible and protect your astrocytes, which are associated with information sharing.
2. Berries: Berries such as strawberries and blueberries can slow down the aging of your brain and possibly ward off dementia. They contain flavonoids, which get across the blood-brain barrier and offset the oxidative damage. Berries improve the way neurons in the brain communicate, according to animal studies.
3. Black Beans: Beans contain high concentrations of magnesium and folate, important to over 300 chemical reactions in the body, some of which support brain health. New research confirms that dark-colored beans have more antioxidants than their lighter counterparts.
4. Cilantro: Researchers concluded that cilantro protects memory by suppressing an enzyme called cholinesterase. This increases acetylcholine in the brain, often low in Alzheimer's patients.
5. Cumin: This spice contains various compounds that stimulate the brain and help with overall cognition and attention span. It seems to block the breakdown of certain neurotransmitters for a while, thus improving brain function and memory.
6. Fish: Fatty seafood such as salmon, anchovies and trout are an excellent source of the Omega 3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, both essential for brain growth and function. This "good fat" offsets the "bad fats" in our bodies.
7. Olives and Olive Oil: Olives contain polyphenols, natural chemicals that reduce oxidative stress in the brain. Eating a daily serving of olives might improve your memory by 25% according to research.
8. Peppers: Capsaicin is a compound in all kinds of peppers and blasts new blood flow to the brain, as well as other important parts of the body.
9. Turmeric: This colorful spice contains curcumin, an ingredient that has been scientifically evaluated for decades and considered a strong antidepressant. It raises serotonin and dopamine while influencing many metabolic pathways, that contribute to neuronal degenerations. It helps reduce beta amyloid plaque and may serve as a way to flush away heavy metals that adversely affect cognition.
10. Walnuts: Walnuts are high in DHA, the Omega-3 fatty acid our brains need. DHA resides in the cell membranes of every cell in the brain and makes up 25% of the brain's cerebral cortex.