Improve Your Memory with These Foods
By Pepe Valencia
…Continuing from last week’s article
It is important to emphasize that although fish is very healthy, remember to choose lean fish, because the chemicals are concentrated mainly in the fatty tissues of the fish. For the same reason, young fish are preferred over older fish because it was in the water for a shorter period and therefore absorbed a relatively low concentration of chemicals and mercury. Limit your intake of tuna to once a week because of the chemicals it contains. Stick to canned fish originating from the Pacific Ocean and parts of Norway or Chile.
Seafood is a great source for omega-3, such as halibut, herring, salmon, sardines, trout, tuna, and cod. Vegetables, especially green leafy ones such as kale, parsley, mint, Brussels sprouts, spinach, and watercress, are rich in ALA, one form of omega-3 fatty acids (although ALA isn’t as powerful as the other omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA). Chia seeds and ground flaxseed are also a good source of omega-3.
Antioxidants: neutralizing the free radicals
Recommendations from brain and memory research are to eat foods rich in antioxidants to keep a good memory. The brain uses about 20 percent of the body’s overall oxygen and is therefore subject to the attack of particles called free radicals. These are unstable molecules that attack, hit, and destroy cells and DNA in general, and specifically brain cells. Even if 99 percent of free radicals were neutralized by foods rich in antioxidants, such as vitamin C, E, beta carotene, and phytochemicals found in fruits, vegetables, green tea and coenzyme Q-10, there is still one percent of free radical cells that can cause damage.
These “smart foods” will help you keep a clear mind and better memory over time:
- Foods that are good sources of vitamin C: green pepper, broccoli, orange slices, fresh strawberries, and chard.
- Foods that are good sources of beta-carotene: carrot juice, sweet potato, and melon.
- Foods that are good sources of vitamin E: wheat germ oil, cooked wheat germ, and almonds.
- Foods that are good sources of anthocyanins: Most fruits and vegetables that are healthy for memory are red or purple. This is because the phytochemicals that give them their color are natural pigments that are healthy to our brains. Many studies show that blueberries create miracles in the brain in general and memory in particular. Blueberries contain anthocyanins, phytochemicals known to improve memory. In addition, they also contain additional phytochemicals that contribute to proper functioning of the brain.
- Foods that are good sources of quercetin: Apples contain high levels of quercetin, an antioxidant that recent studies have shown acts as an antibody to Alzheimer’s disease. Red apple skin also contains anthocyanins. Red onions contain quercetin and anthocyanins. White or yellow onions contain high levels of quercetin. Red, purple, and green grapes all contain quercetin and anthocyanins. Red wine also contains a great amount of these phytochemicals.
- Foods that are good sources of folic acid: A study showed that rats fed spinach had no problems with memory loss. It may be thanks to the high levels of folic acid, which is known to be beneficial in preventing Alzheimer’s disease and memory problems. Just half a cup of cooked spinach provides two thirds of folic acid required per day. Broccoli contains quercetin, and is an excellent source of folic acid also. Beets have them both as well.