Feeling forgetful? – How to turbocharge your memory
-Dec 5, Sophie Vokes-Dudgeon, Mind -
From the moment I had my first child, my memory started failing me. In fact, it started even before that, when I first fell pregnant. Known as baby brain, sometimes it was even quite funny (like the time I drove through central London with my purse on the roof of my car until a friendly bus driver honked and to tell me – how it hadn’t fallen off I’ll never know!).
Once my bundle of joy arrived, my forgetfulness got worse – but I was busy, and sleep deprived. And the fact that at times I put the ‘phone in the fridge and then tried to put the baby bottle on the ‘phone cradle, while bothersome, was not really too worrying.
What troubled me more was that as my children grew and developed their own ability to remember things, my brain continued to let me down. I couldn’t find words in the middle of conversations – let alone keys or travelcards. It wasn’t until I admitted during one mother’s coffee morning that my lack of memory skills had led me to Google ‘early-onset Alzheimer’s’ that an alarming (and comforting) number of my friends admitted they too had been struggling with similar symptoms.
But there is hope for those of us who do suffer from a less than razor-sharp memory. Our brains, like the rest of our bodies, require a large array of different nutrients to function well, so it makes sense that what you eat can affect your cognitive skills and your ability to remember.
There are certain diets (such as the MIND diet) that have been developed specifically to help slow the loss of brain function as you age and protect against dementia. But there are also certain foods that, if eaten regularly, can have a similarly preventative effect. Lumity contains many of the nutrients that help prevent premature brain function decline, so is the perfect partner to a healthy diet to ensure your brain is getting exactly what it needs to function to its fullest.
Here’s the foods you should be eating if you want to keep your memory as sharp as you can:
Oily fish is a great source of Omega 3 fatty acids. A 2011 study found that DHA can boost memory by 15% while researchers at Pittsburgh University have shown that those eating oily fish at least once a week have more grey matter in areas of the brain responsible for memory.
Another great source of DHA, seaweed also contains iodine which is great for memory boosting, as well as chemical compounds called lignans, which have been linked to improved cognitive performance in post-menopausal women.
A 2015 study found that avocado intake increases levels of the antioxidant lutein which can help improve cognitive function. They’re also an excellent source of monounsaturated fats, too. These healthy fats trigger the production and release of acetylcholine, helping to improve memory and learning skills.
This ancient root contains curcumin – one of the most powerful (and natural) anti-inflammatory agents. Turmeric also helps boost antioxidant levels and keeps your immune system healthy, while also improving your brain’s oxygen intake, keeping you alert and able to process information.
Carnosic acid, one of the main ingredients in rosemary, helps protect the brain from neurodegeneration. This happens because carnosic acid protects the brain against free radicals.
A 2015 study looked at the eating habits of more than 950 older adults for an average of five years. Those who consumed one or two servings of foods such as spinach, kale, mustard greens and/or collards daily experienced slower mental deterioration than those who ate no leafy greens at all. If you have trouble eating your greens, this recipe is guaranteed to help you get your recommended daily dose in before noon.
Evidence from Tufts University in the United States suggests that snacking on blueberries can improve or delay short term memory loss. Other dark red and purple fruits and veg which contain the same protective compounds called anthocyanins do the same job.
Pumpkin seeds contain more zinc than many other seeds, and this mineral is vital for enhancing memory and thinking skills. They’re also full of magnesium (great for stress-busting), B vitamins and tryptophan, the precursor to the good mood chemical serotonin.
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