Brainy food: Does your memory need a boost? While there are lots of ways to train your brain to better remember things, there’s a whole bunch of simple remedies that can be found on your plate. We reveal which foods you should be stocking up on at the supermarket.
Blackcurrants: They might be small but blackcurrants are packed full of Vitamin C, which is thought to have the power to increase mental agility and protect against age-related brain degeneration including dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Coffee: Caffeine lovers rejoice! There’s now a good reason for your morning cuppa. Researchers from the University of Innsbruck in Austria found that giving people the caffeine equivalent of two cups of coffee improved memory skills and neuron signalling to the brain compared to those who didn’t consume caffeine. If that wasn’t enough good news a French study found women over 65 who drank three or more cups of coffee a day were better able to recall words than women who consumed little or none.
Nuts: A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology suggests that consuming vitamin E can help prevent cognitive decline, particularly in the elderly. Nuts, like almonds and walnuts, are an excellent source of vitamin E so why not make them part of your afternoon snack?
Oily fish: Essential fatty acids (EFA) can’t be produced by the body, so we need to include EFA foods in our diet to get our hit, and a great source comes from oily fish like salmon, trout, mackerel and sardines. In fact, studies confirm that frequent fish eaters experience slower rates of cognitive decline as they age. These guys are also packed with EPA and DHA. Low DHA levels have been linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss, so pop some oily fish in your shopping basket.
Whole grains: Like most parts of your body, the brain can’t function properly without energy. A steady supply of energy is best derived from glucose. To give your brain a boost opt for whole grains like “brown” cereals, breads, rice and pasta, with a low-GI which release glucose slowly into the bloodstream, keeping you mentally sharp throughout the day.
Beets: Researchers at the Translational Science Centre found that giving older adults a daily dose of beet juice helped to increase blood flow to the area of the brain associated with dementia. If that drink doesn’t tickle your fancy, try adding roasted beets to a salad or sandwich.
Broccoli: A 2015 US study found that vitamin K, can enhance cognitive function and improve brainpower and broccoli is full of it! Researchers found that broccoli is also high in glucosinolates, which can slow the breakdown of the neurotransmitter, acetylcholine, which we need for the central nervous system to perform properly and keep our memories sharp.
Blueberries: The study from Tufts University in the US found that the consumption of blueberries can be effective in improving or delaying short term memory loss.
Strawberries: Not to be outdone in the berry department, strawberries are also excellent for the brain. A 2012 Harvard study found that women who ate at least one cup of strawberries and blueberries per week experienced a two and half year delay in mental decline compared to women who rarely consumed them.