Our brains are the control center of our body, requiring about 20 percent of our daily caloric consumption to function. The foods we eat play a large role in the structure and health of our brains.
As we age, it is common to experience some “tip of the tongue syndrome” or failure to recall information. There is no cure for this, but a nutritious diet packed with essential vitamins and minerals can have both short- and long-term benefits. A brain-healthy diet combined with adequate sleep, stress-reducing activities and exercise can improve concentration and problem-solving skills, and help delay the onset of short-term memory loss.
Consider increasing or adding the following foods in your diet:
• Beans – High levels of vitamins B-6 and B-12 are linked to lower levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
• Oranges – Vitamin C can have a protective effect on the brain and dissolves toxic plaques that are found in individuals with memory loss.
• Nuts and seeds – Vitamin E promotes healthy blood flow, especially to the brain.
• Fish and salmon – Scientists have found people with low levels of omega-3 have more brain shrinkage and poor performance on memory tests.
• Spinach – This leafy green vegetable is packed with more than 15 antioxidants to inhibit the formation of plaques that build up in those with Alzheimer’s disease.
• Blueberries – Improve communication between brain cells and help brain cells form new connections, boosting learning and memory.
• Dark chocolate – Contains flavonoids, which are strong antioxidants that can improve blood flow to the brain and reduce inflammation and oxidative stress.
• Caffeine – Coffee, black and green teas contain brain-boosting antioxidants, increasing the brain’s capacity for processing information.
• Avocados – Packed with good-for-you monounsaturated fats that promote healthy blood flow and support information-carrying nerves in the brain.
• Whole grains – Supply the brain with a steady flow of energy, also rich in vitamin E. Examples include brown rice, oatmeal and whole grain bread and pasta.
• Spices – Stimulate blood circulation and aid in digestion. Incorporate thyme, sage, turmeric, cayenne, garlic and other spices into your meals.
This health tip is brought to you by Tabitha. To learn more, visit Tabitha.org or call 402-486-8520.