10 Unusual Brain Foods that Prevent Memory Loss

Eat Your Way to a Younger Brain

brain-food

The more that we learn about the correlation between diet and brain health, the more glaringly apparent it is that a healthy diet is essential to maintaining memory and preventing cognitive decline.

The problem, though, is that there seems to be a new food fad being touted every 10 minutes, so which advice should you follow? Sure, everybody knows that blueberries, broccoli, spinach and salmon are great for your brain, but who wants to live on fish and greens? Let’s find some other alternatives!

We’ve taken a closer look at the research behind all of the hype to determine what it is about exactly qualifies a food as a brain food, and have made a list based upon proven nutrients. Read on!

Beans

Your brain’s primary fuel is glucose and because beans are so high in dietary fiber, they actually help to stabilize your blood sugar even if you eat high-glycemic foods. In other words, they help your brain have a steady supply of energy without dips and spikes. Beans are also rich in folate, a form of vitamin B required for your body to produce methionine which prevents a buildup of homocysteine, a risk factor for dementia, memory loss and heart disease.

Finally, folate plays a role in blood oxygenation and can actually help lower your blood pressure, which reduces your risk of heart attack and stroke. In short, beans are good for you!

Clams

Another vitamin required to prevent homocysteine buildup is B-12 and clams have plenty of it! It actually works with folate to keep your blood flowing properly and promote methionine production. Vitamin B-12 deficiency can cause memory loss, dementia and disorientation. Altzheimer’s patients typically have low B-12 levels.

Walnuts

The fact that these nuts look like brains should have been our first clue! Seriously though, walnuts are super brain foods even among some of their other brain-healthy nut brothers. They’re packed with free radical-fighting polyphenols as well as omega-3’s. Elderly mice were fed nuts and it was found that even if the nuts only made up 2% of the diet, signs of aging (including decreased brain function) were reversed.

In 2010 at the International Conference on Alzheimer’s disease, a report was presented in which mice with Alzheimer’s showed improved brain function including learning, memory and motor coordination after being fed walnuts.

Ginger

This delicious spice is well-known for its contributions to digestive health but its anti-inflammatory properties may offer significant benefits for your brain, too. Alzheimer’s patients typically have increased inflammatory markers in their brains and the anti-inflammatory effects of ginger may reduce risk of Alzheimer’s and slow the progression of brain cell dealth. Plus, it tastes great!

Capers

Capers aren’t just good for adding zing to your pasta. They’re a good source of quercetin, a polyphenol known to protect your brain from inflammation and damage caused by free radicals. It’s also been shown to help induce brain cell reproduction. Make a delicious, heart-and-brain-healthy sauce with omega-rich olive oil and folate-laden basil and you’ve created a super sauce for your veggie pasta!

Peanut Butter

Peanuts and peanut butter, often mistaken for nuts, are actually lentils. Peanut butter is filling and rich in brain-healthy vitamin E, folate, zinc, magnesium and copper. In addition to being healthy for your brain, peanut butter is loaded with good fats, fiber and protein that help keep you full longer without promoting weight gain or brain-damaging obesity. Finally, they’re linked to decreased inflammation which lowers your risk of Alzheimer’s, dementia, cancer and heart disease.

Pumpkin Seeds

We all know how good pumpkin is, and the holidays just wouldn’t be the same without it, but the real brain food is the part that most of us throw out! Pumpkin seeds contain a ton of nutrients including vitamins A and E, zinc and omega 3’s. They’re an excellent tool to boost memory, protect your brain from free radical damage, and reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Oatmeal

This delicious, filling breakfast food does more than help you keep your digestive tract running smoothly. The soluble fiber in it helps reduce the bad cholesterol that damages your blood/brain barrier. Fat can also build up in your blood vessels and arteries and cause brain damage or stroke. Toss in some blueberries and walnuts to create a big bowl of brain food!

Popcorn

Not the microwave stuff, though! Everybody knows that plain, fresh-popped popcorn is an excellent low-calorie snack but now scientists are finding that it’s packed with more antioxidants – aka polyphenols – than many fruits and vegetables. As a matter of fact, a single serving has 160mg of free radical-fighting antioxidants which is roughly twice as much as any fruit, and the highest concentration is in the hulls.

Now you have an entire list of delicious everyday brain foods that you can incorporate into your diet. A good rule of thumb is that if it’s a leafy green, bean, nut, seed, or whole grain, it’s probably good for your brain. Incorporate them into your diet on a regular basis and your brain will thank you by working beautifully for decades to come!

If you’ve got a favorite brain food that you’d like to share with us, please feel free to do so in the comments section below!

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