While aging is a normal process, parts of the body, such as the mind, are often linked to habits (or lack of) resulting in a quicker aging process that is often preventable. While there are cognitive exercises and practices you can start early on in life to slow or prevent memory loss, the one we will focus on today is often overlooked: diet. What you consume has always been a leading factor in physical health, but is just recently emerging as a leading factor in cognitive health. Ultimately what we put into our bodies defines our overall health, including our brain health. For example, diets high in cholesterol and fat are linked to increased formation of beta-amyloid plaques in the brain which create damage to brain tissue. Damaged brain tissues means brain cells are not getting as much oxygen-rich blood for proper function, which directly impacts our thinking and memory.
What foods should be avoided?
Foods that are directly linked to Alzheimer’s disease and should be minimized, if not removed from your diet completely include: processed cheeses, processed meats, alcohol, “white foods” such as pasta, white sugar, white bread, etc. and foods high in fat and that are known to negatively impact cholesterol. This is by no means a fully inclusive list.
What foods help prevent memory loss?
Scientific research shows that berries, particularly blueberries, assist with cognitive decline and memory loss that comes with the natural aging process. Berries contain a high level of antioxidants and are known to reduce inflammation in the brain that points to neuronal damage.
Almonds are loaded with Vitamin E and B6. Vitamin C is a crucial agent to slowing cognitive decline. Vitamin B6 assists your body in metabolizing proteins which help to repair brain cells. They also contain Zinc which is great for boosting the immune system.
Flaxseed is full of omega-3 fatty acids which are known to help overall brain health. Flaxseeds are also rich in magnesium and vitamin B which are both excellent for overall brain health.
As mentioned above, Vitamin C plays a large role in slowing cognitive decline and assists in overall brain health. Our bodies are not able to produce Vitamin C naturally so it is important to consume foods that are high in Vitamin C such as oranges. Oranges are also rich in flavonoids which are linked to improving memory loss and cognition.
Choose whole grains over alternatives due to their high levels of vitamin E. “White Foods” are on the list of foods to avoid for memory loss and cognitive issues. Whole grains such as brown rice, oatmeal, barley, whole grain bread and whole grain pasta are excellent alternatives.
While this list is not inclusive of all foods that can assist in the improvement of memory loss and boost overall cognitive brain health, it is an excellent place to start. Taking preventative measures is always easier than corrective measures. Introducing some of these brain healthy foods into your diet early on in life can work wonders in your overall brain health in your later years.
If you have any questions about memory loss and the natural aging process and how it differs from memory loss diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s, Camelot Senior Living would be happy to answer any questions to the best of our abilities.