Over 6.5 million American seniors currently live with Alzheimer’s disease, and many millions more suffer from dementia and other memory problems. Common health ailments from high blood pressure to diabetes can also affect memory and brain health, leading to millions more who could use a boost to their memory.
If you’re looking to keep your brain healthy and your memory sharp, exercise is one way to possibly reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia. (Be sure to talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program!)
Don’t just start moving – eat these foods to boost your memory
But what you eat also has a great deal of impact on your memory. In fact, choosing to add some of the “right” foods can reduce your risk of memory-related health problems, and help boost your memory. In particular, these five foods are some of the best to boost memory:
You may have a negative opinion on avocados because of their higher fat content; however, the fats found in avocados are monounsaturated fats, aka the good fats. These types of fats have been shown to lower rates of cognitive decline. In addition to healthy fats, avocados are high in vitamin k and folate – two important nutrients that have been shown to reduce your risk of blood clots and stroke, which are major contributors to long-term memory problems.
With significant amounts of other important vitamins, plus low sugar and high protein, avocados sliced, made into guacamole, or even put into your morning smoothie can be a great way to reap the rewards of these green powerhouses.
Have you ever heard “the brighter the fruit or vegetable, the better it is for you?” This is one saying that is often very true! In particular, berries (including blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries - you name it! Berries are nature’s desserts - they are sweet little bursts of flavor, but they are also loaded with antioxidants, plus vitamin C, vitamin K, and fiber.
You probably hear about antioxidants often on the news, in the paper, or on the Internet. Without getting too scientific, antioxidants help counter the effects of oxidative stress. Put very simply, our bodies aren’t as efficient as processing what we eat and ridding the body of free radicals and byproducts of our bodily functions. Over time, this causes damage to our cells, and can lead to a host of age-related illnesses, including Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Adding berries to your oatmeal, smoothie, or just eating some for a snack can help fend off free radicals and keep your brain sharp.
3. Dark chocolate
Yes, you read that one correctly! Although we more commonly think of chocolate as an indulgence and an unhealthy food, dark chocolate actually has some powerful health benefits.
Dark chocolate is very high in flavanols, which just like berries, have a great deal of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. In fact, research shows that eating cocoa (which is in its purest and most concentrated form in dark chocolate) can increase cerebral blood flow and oxygenation – it can literally help send more blood and oxygen to your brain!
4. Fatty fish
Salmon, trout, albacore tuna, sardines and other fatty fish are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
Did you know that almost ⅔ of our brains are composed of fat? Half of that fat is made up of omega-3 fatty acids. Your body uses these fatty acids to build brain and nerve cells, and omega-3 fatty acids help boost learning and memory. Research shows that they can help reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s or other dementias.
Don’t like fish? You can also find omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil capsules, or in plant based options like chia seeds and flaxseeds.
5. Pumpkin seeds
Pumpkin seeds are a tasty snack that also has some powerful brain-protective nutrients working in your favor. They are a source of healthy fats, and are loaded with anti-inflammatory antioxidants.
Plus, they are excellent sources of nutrients like zinc, magnesium, copper, and iron, which all help support memory and brain health. Eat a handful for a midday snack, throw them on top of your soup or salad, or blend them into a smoothie – they are extremely versatile.
At Winnwood, we’ve got your health in mind.
That’s why our range of activities (including a gym and guided exercise like water aerobics), and dining options include many healthy meals and snacks to help you live your best life. To learn more about resort-style retirement at Winnwood, contact us today.