People are always claiming that the current trending food item, vitamin, or juice cleanse is good for you.
Well, science actually knows best.
Researchers have narrowed down eight nutrients that may help your aging brain.
And we need all the help we can get. As many of us have witnessed in our grandparents (and perhaps even our own parents), as people age, they experience a variety of cognitive issues that can range from decreased thinking to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Since we want to be able to remember all of our future senior citizen moments (i.e. wheelchair racing and big bingo wins) we want to know what’s going to help us preserve our favourite organs.
Which is why the Institute of Food Technologists’ (IFT) March issue of Food Technology, is so important. In it, contributing editor Linda Milo Ohr highlights eight nutrients that could help keep your brain in good shape.
Here they are, as taken directly from a recent Science Daily press release:
1. Cocoa Flavanols
Cocoa flavanols have been linked to improved circulation and heart health, and preliminary research shows a possible connection to memory improvement as well. A study showed cocoa flavanols may improve the function of a specific part of the brain called the dentate gyrus, which is associated with age-related memory (Brickman, 2014).
2. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids have long been shown to contribute to good heart health are now playing a role in cognitive health as well. A study on mice found that omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation appeared to result in better object recognition memory, spatial and localizatory memory (memories that can be consciously recalled such as facts and knowledge), and adverse response retention (Cutuli, 2014). Foods rich in omega-3s include salmon, flaxseed oil, and chia seeds.
3. Phosphatidylserine and Phosphatidic Acid
Two pilot studies showed that a combination of phosphatidylserine and phosphatidic acid can help benefit memory, mood, and cognitive function in the elderly (Lonza, 2014).
A diet supplemented with walnuts may have a beneficial effect in reducing the risk, delaying the onset, or slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s disease in mice (Muthaiyah, 2014).
Citicoline is a natural substance found in the body’s cells and helps in the development of brain tissue, which helps regulate memory and cognitive function, enhances communication between neurons, and protects neural structures from free radical damage. Clinical trials have shown citicoline supplements may help maintain normal cognitive function with aging and protect the brain from free radical damage. (Kyowa Hakko USA).
Choline, which is associated with liver health and women’s health, also helps with the communication systems for cells within the brain and the rest of the body. Choline may also support the brain during aging and help prevent changes in brain chemistry that result in cognitive decline and failure. A major source of choline in the diet are eggs.
Magnesium supplements are often recommended for those who experienced serious concussions. Magnesium-rich foods include avocado, soybeans, bananas and dark chocolate.
Blueberries are known to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity because they boast a high concentration of anthocyanins, a flavonoid that enhances the health-promoting quality of foods. Moderate blueberry consumption could offer neurocognitive benefits such as increased neural signaling in the brain centers.