If you are in your middle age and still not able to overcome your over-indulgence in food and drink, then think over your recent incidences where you just couldn’t remember even the most trivial things in your life. According to many pieces of research, what you eat might have a negative impact on your ability to remember things. In the worst scenario, it might lead to amnesia as you age. Well, it is not the only reason you develop an impaired memory, certain food habits are sufficient enough to develop early dementia. Foods high in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol may lead to the formation of beta-amyloid plaques in the brain. These sticky protein clusters are responsible for much damage to the dendrites and might lead to Alzheimer’s disease.
The jury is still out on the correlation between foods and amnesia or Alzheimer’s disease but it is certainly proved that people who have diets high in saturated and trans fats suffer from slight memory impairment. The relationships between foods and brain damage may be interceded by a gene called apolipoprotein E, or APOE. The gene is a marker of cholesterol present in your blood. It is studied that a variant of this gene known as APOE e4 can be a reason for the risk of Alzheimer’s disease in older people.
Diet and Memory Connection
You may have noticed that there are plenty of buzzy foods that fight amnesia scattered across many health blogs, websites and social media feed. But is there any connection between diet and memory connection? If yes, then what types of food can prevent memory loss and are there sufficient research papers published on this issue?
A recent study conducted at Brigham and Women’s Hospital of Harvard Medical School, published in the journal Annals of Neurology revealed that women who were frequent eaters of saturated fats from foods such as red meat and butter performed inferior in tests of thinking and memory than women who ate the lowest amount of non-saturated fats.
Of course, these nutrition studies are notoriously challenging to carry out. There is no such full proof of scientific evidence that specific foods can lead to memory loss, but there is an ever-growing body of research on some foods that fight amnesia.
Foods for Memory
There are different researches show that people with conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes have the proclivity of age-related cognitive impairment. The risk of increasing these conditions can be increased by wrong diet, lack of physical activities, smoking and excessive stress.
Two diets, in particular, are encouraged. These are the Mediterranean diet and the MIND diet. Both diets consist of a healthy amount of legumes, nuts, fish, olive oil and whole grains. Doctors say anything that helps keep arteries clean will reduce the risk of amnesia.
Leafy Green for Brains
Leafy green vegetables are good for age-related cognitive decline. In a controlled trial conducted in Israel for 18 months, it was found that people who followed a green Mediterranean diet along with green tea and walnuts had a significantly slower rate of age-related brain atrophy. People who took processed foods and red meat had a greater inclination toward brain impairment. Although the decline of brain volume was not significant, it was believed that neuroprotective effects were pronounced in people 50 and older.
Mediterranean Diet includes:
- fruits and vegetables
- whole-grain bread and cereals
- beans and nuts
- olive oil
- very limited red meat
- no more than four eggs per week
- moderate wine consumption (one glass a day for women).
Fish is Good for your Brain
Many research studies show that fish, especially seafood are highly rich in good cholesterol. Fatty fish contains a good amount of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been linked with brain functioning.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are probably the most vociferously proclaimed food for lowering cognitive decline. There are controlled experimentations done, which have revealed that people who consume more nuts and seeds tended to have better outcomes in the case of brain functioning.
The research found that women who ate at least five servings of nuts per week had better cognitive function than those who didn’t eat nuts. Whole grains, legumes, soybeans and olive oil are also said to be great foods that fight amnesia.
Other Ways to Protect Memory
Diet is not just the only way to preserve your memory. You can control your cognitive function by maintaining your lifestyle and following certain things in your life.
- You need to control your cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure levels. It is not just your diet but also your lifestyle that matters.
- If you are a regular smoker, it is now time to quit smoking. There are significant studies showing that smoking is directly associated with age-related Alzheimer’s disease.
- Daily exercise is good for overall brain functioning. However, if you are not ready or finding time for a strict exercise schedule, get outside for a brisk walk for 1 hour daily.
- Destress yourself with music, good company, books and some hobbies.
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