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Safeguarding Memory Through Nutrition

In my opinion, your food choices are the most influential variables that you can control when it comes to health, vitality, and functionality of your brain

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Your brain is the most important part of your body. It is your control centre, in charge of every minute detail - right from your cognitive function to cell generation and even something as fundamental as breathing. 

Your brain is constantly in the “on” mode, doing several things at the same time and it is only obvious that it needs to be properly maintained and looked after. One of the most important things that everyone needs to do is to reboot their system daily - this essentially means getting enough restful sleep on a daily basis.

Another is to ensure that your brain is being refuelled regularly and adequately. In my opinion, your food choices are the most influential variables that you can control when it comes to health, vitality, and functionality of your brain.

But the question remains, “what are the right foods we need to consume to help the brain function to its optimal capacity”. Luckily, there is a lot of research that has been conducted on the same. There are several nutrients and their combinations that help boost brain function.

‘Oil’ The Brain Machine

Coconut oil contains medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) that have a beneficial effect on blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol. Anything that benefits the heart and circulation also benefits the brain. Coconut oil acts as an anti-inflammatory as well and has been linked to helping prevent Alzheimer’s and dementia. When you are buying coconut oil, make sure you opt for an organic, raw and cold pressed variant of it.

Gorge On Vegetables

Getting enough vegetables, especially cruciferous ones like broccoli, help improve memory and overall brain function. Broccoli is packed with antioxidants and is also very high in Vitamin K. This special vitamin is essential in the formation of sphingolipids, a fat that is densely packed into brain cells. Consuming broccoli also protects against free radical damage, keeps blood flowing well, and helps flush out toxins from the body. Thanks to the presence of Nitrates (a vasodilator), beetroot helps in boosting cerebral blood flow, thereby improving the many functions it is responsible for including intelligence and other cognitive abilities. 

Sweet (Healthy) Indulgences

Some fruits, especially berries, oranges, pomegranates etc. are a rich source of anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are a group of plant compounds that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects that protect against aging of the brain and neurodegenerative diseases.

Antioxidants in berries have benefits for the brain, helping to improve brain function and delaying age-related function decline. Oranges are loaded with vitamin C which is the key factor in preventing mental decline. Vitamin C is also a powerful antioxidant that fights off free radicals that damage brain cells.

I am a strong believer of eating simple food that has been produced locally – so here is my recommendation - instead of going for exotic variants imported from all over the world, opt for berries produced locally, in our country.

Another healthy indulgence that I personally love (in moderation, of course) is dark chocolate - a delectable way to aid brain boosting. Dark chocolate contains flavonoids, caffeine and antioxidants. These compounds, when consumed in small quantities, help boost memory and slows down age-related mental decline. Bonus points for dark chocolate being an excellent mood-uplifter!

The Nutty Brain Feed

It is a well-known fact that walnuts are good for your heart’s health, a lesser known fact is that they also improve cognitive function. Walnuts and almonds also help prevent neurodegenerative diseases. 

There are studies that have proven that people who consume nuts have a sharper memory than those that don’t. Nuts contain several nutrients like fats, antioxidants and vitamin E that explain why they have such a positive impact on the brain.

The Big O (Omega-3 Fatty Acids)

Omega-3 is one of the most essential nutrients for brain health. Your brain is almost 60 per cent fat and half of that is comprised of the Omega-3 kind. This nutrient is used to build brain and nerve cells, and is an indispensable factor for cognitive memory and overall brain function. 

A deficiency of this nutrient is linked to learning impairment, depression and poor memory. The primary source of Omega-3 fatty acid is fish, like salmon, tuna, sardines and herring. 

You also have vegetarian options for intake such as flax seeds, hemp seeds, squash, and beans etc. which provide you with a portion of fatty acids you require.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Tags assigned to this article:
nutrition healthy foods memory brain vitality

Luke Coutinho

The author is is a globally renowned and celebrated Holistic Nutritionist, who practices in the field of Integrative and Lifestyle medicine across India, Europe and the U.S. He encourages and helps people steer away from conventional medicine and use natural foods and a change in lifestyle to help alleviate medical conditions

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