Chicken, Eggs And Milk May Sharpen Memory, Says Study
A diet rich in the nutrient, choline, may help protect your brain from the effects of ageing.
The nutrient is prevalent in foods such as chicken, eggs, fish and milk as well as certain legumes such as soy and kidney beans.
Researchers found that those with plenty of choline in their diets performed better in memory tests and were less likely to show brain changes associated with dementia than those with a low choline intake.
The findings suggest that your lifetime diet may have an impact on how your brain ages, said senior researcher, Rhoda Au, of Boston University School of Medicine.
However, Au warned that no one nutrient is a magic bullet against demetia.
"I think the message is that eating a healthy, balanced diet in mid-life is important," she said.
The researchers looked at data from a long-running heart health study. Almost 1,400 adults ages 36 to 83 were asked dietary questions between 1991 and 1995. Then, between 1998 and 2001, they underwent tests of memory and other cognitive abilities, and had MRI brain scans.
The study found that those in the top quarter for choline intake performed better on the memory tests than those in the bottom quarter, even when factors such as education and fat and calorie intake were taken into consideration.
Dr Au said the findings suggest that people with lower choline intakes were more likely to be on a "pathway" toward mental decline than those who consume little choline in their diet.
Find out which other foods are known to sharpen your memory and aid concentration, below:
Avocados are a great source of 'healthy fats' as well as a good blood circulation booster. This is important when it comes to brain power, as it enhances the blood flow to the brain, maintaining healthy brain function.
The essential omega-3 fatty acids, found in oily fish like sardines, herring, trout and mackerel, as well as walnut oil and flaxseeds (linseeds) - are high in Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a fatty acid crucial to maintaining a healthy nervous system. Low DHA levels have been linked to a higher risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and memory loss. Fish also contains iodine, which is known to improve mental clarity. For brain and heart health, eat two servings of fish weekly.
Whole grains improve circulation and help regulate glucose levels in the blood as the steadier the glucose levels, the easier it is to concentrate. This is why it's important to eat breakfast in the morning, as it not only revs up the metabolism, but keeps your sugar levels balanced as well as protecting against diabetes and heart disease.
Sugar is the brain's preferred fuel source, however before you reach for the table sugar, it's glucose that your body needs. The body metabolises glucose from the sugars and carbohydrates in food. That's why a glass of something sweet offers a short-term boost to memory, thinking processes, and mental ability. Too much sugar on the other hand, can result in impaired memory, so go easy on the sweet stuff and consume enough to boost your brain power.
Like sugar, caffeine perks up the brain but if you have too much, it can have negative effect on your mental state. Found in coffee, chocolate, energy drinks, and some medications, caffeine gives you that unmistakable wake-up feeling. But beware, the effects are short-term and if you overdo it, the brain can go into overdrive and make you more jittery than sharp thinking.
Nuts And Seeds
Nuts and seeds are great sources of antioxidant vitamin E, which is associated with less cognitive decline as you age. A good intake of vitamin E is linked to preventing poor memory. Nuts are a great source of vitamin E along with leafy green vegetables, seeds, eggs, brown rice and whole grains. Pumpkin seeds are especially good for boosting brain power, as a handful a day is all you need to get your recommended daily amount of zinc, vital for enhancing memory and thinking skills.
Blueberries and strawberries contain antioxidants, which are thought to protect brain neurons from damage, build communication receptors between each brain cell, and flush out waste. They also help protect against age-related diseases like Alzheimer's. Blackberries are also a great brain booster, as it contains Vitamin C which has long been thought to have the power to increase mental agility.
An unlikely contender, the humble sage has long had a reputation for improving memory. Although its recommended to try sage oils, try and sprinkle some sage into your diet.
Folic acid and vitamin B12 help prevent homocysteine from building up in the body, which is higher in those with Alzheimer's. Vitamin B, C, E, beta-carotene, and magnesium are also good vitamins to stock up on when looking to boost brain power.
Tomato's contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that helps protect against the kind of free radical damage to cells which occurs in the development of dementia, particularly Alzheimer's.
A great source of vitamin K, broccoli which is known to enhance cognitive function and improve brainpower.