Scary fact: Approximately 20 percent of Americans ages 55 and older will experience some form of cognitive impairment in their lifetime according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But you can’t wait until you’re 55 to start thinking about your brain health. Now is the time to begin taking steps to protect your gray matter. And the good news is that doesn’t mean you have to do a million crossword puzzles or anything more complicated. In fact, you can eat your way to better mental function.
In a recent issue of Food Technology, contributing editor Linda Milo Ohr indicated the key nutrients that may help safeguard your brain from mental decline. Feast on these nutrient-rich foods (or take supplements) to ensure your brain will stay sharp well into your golden years.
These cocoa compounds may reverse age-related memory decline by improving function of your dentate gyrus, a region of the hippocampus—the hippocampus is most affected by Alzheimer’s disease—according to research from the Columbia University Medical Center.
Where To Find It: cacao beans, dark chocolate, CocoaVia powdered stick packs, supplements
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
According to a mouse study in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, omega-3 supplements can strengthen object recognition memory, spatial and localizatory memory (memories that can be consciously recalled such as facts and knowledge).
Where To Find It: salmon, flaxseed (and flaxseed oil), chia seeds, walnuts, enriched eggs, supplements
Phosphatidylserine and Phosphatidic Acid
The combination of phosphatidylserine and phosphatidic acid can help boost your memory, mood, and cognitive function, according to research published in the journal Advances in Therapy.
Where To Find Phosphatidylserine Acid: organ meats, soybeans, supplements
Where To Find Phosphatidic Acid: cabbage and radish leaves, root vegetables, supplements
Citicoline, a natural substance found in the body’s cells, helps regulate memory and cognitive function, enhances communication between neurons, and helps protect neural structures, according to research conducted by The Brain Institute at the University of Utah.
Where To Find It: supplements
Keep those egg breakfasts comin’; choline (found in eggs) may support the brain during aging and help prevent cognitive decline and failure, according to research published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.
Where To Find It: eggs, tofu, soy milk, quinoa, liver, legumes, and supplements
Magnesium supplements are often recommended for those who’ve experienced serious concussions, but research from the American institute for Diseases also found it can help reverse memory decline in mice with Alzheimer’s Disease.
Where To Find It: leafy greens, avocados, soybeans, bananas, dark chocolate, whole grains, and supplements