Seven Foods to Stock Up on to Slow Down Memory Loss
When we reach middle age, memory loss can leave us hanging at the worst moments. We always seem to misplace our car keys as we’re running late for an appointment. Or, we’re stuck playing a mental game of Guess Who? when we run into someone familiar at the grocery store, but just can’t recall how we know them.
While we can’t completely stop age-related memory loss from occurring, we can slow it down and minimize its side effects. And one of the best ways to build up our brain is by eating a balanced diet—in fact, researchers found that the Mediterranean diet, rich in vegetables and fruits, lean protein and essential fatty acids, is associated with improved cognition and a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Here are some of those memory-boosting foods to always keep in your kitchen:
- Fatty, oily fish – Switch out fast-food fried fish, which is loaded with trans-fat that can negatively affect your brain function, for baked or broiled salmon, trout, mackerel or herring. These healthier options are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, the foundation of brain and nerve cell development.
- Avocados – Speaking of good fats, the monosaturated fat in avocados helps promote healthy blood flow to the brain, prevent blood clots and lower blood pressure, all of which reduce your risk of memory loss. And because they’re packed with fiber and protein, they keep you full so you can avoid that mid-day brain fog.
- Blueberries – All berries are powerful forgetfulness fighters, but blueberries are armed with antioxidants that help protect the brain against free radicals that damage living cells. Studies show that when seniors snacked on blueberries, they better recalled words, saw improvements in their mobility, and noticed improved cognition when fatigued.
- Leafy, green vegetables – Spinach, broccoli and collard greens all help improve memory, but it’s kale that’s been crowned the king of all superfoods. Filled with vitamins, including vitamins C, B6, B12, and folic acid, nutrient-dense kale helps fight off brain atrophy and shrinkage, most notably in the entorhinal cortex and hippocampus which are significantly impacted by Alzheimer’s disease.
- Herbal tea – When our mind feels cloudy, we immediately reach for a shot of coffee. Instead, fight off fatigue with tea. Chamomile tea, for instance, treats insomnia at night, which also boosts your ability to focus in the hours after you wake up, while peppermint tea improves both your short-term and long-term memory.
- Turmeric – All those visits to your local Indian restaurant not only fill your curry cravings, but they may also slow down age-related forgetfulness. Studies show curcumin, the compound that gives turmeric its golden color, improves memory and mood in seniors with mild memory loss. It’s also packed with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Nuts – The variety of nut products available makes preventing memory loss delicious. Snack on a handful of hazelnuts to get a powerful dose of omega-3. Slather a spoonful of vitamin E-rich almond butter on apple slices. Or, toss some chopped walnuts into your salad for a satisfying crunch and a shot of antioxidants.
Altering your diet is a critical step in protecting your brain health, but it’s not a cure-all. If you find yourself mixing up or forgetting common words, getting lost while driving, experiencing changes in your mood for no reason, or having trouble completing daily tasks, it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider to diagnose any underlying conditions that may be affecting your memory.