By Tamekia Reece –
Think there’s nothing you can do to slow down age-related memory loss? Think again. Although there isn’t a surefire way to prevent yourself from experiencing any decline in memory, there are things you can do to keep your memory at its best for as long as possible.
One simple, yet huge, thing you can do is add some of these memory-enhancing foods to your diet.
A study by researchers at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago found that people who ate fish at least once a week had a 10% slower decline in memory compared to people who didn’t. It may not seem like much, but that the decline meant the frequent fish eaters had memory functions comparable to someone three years younger! If fish isn’t your thing, try taking fish oil supplements.
A small study published last year in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that after 12 weeks of drinking about 2 ½ cups of blueberry juice a day, older adults scored about 20% higher on a memory test than they had at the beginning of the study.
Numerous studies suggest green tea slows down memory loss. That doesn’t mean you have to guzzle green tea all day long. Experts say one or two cups a day are good enough.
Broccoli (and leafy greens)
In a 25-year Harvard Medical School study of more than 13,000 women, the women who consumed the most cruciferous and leafy green vegetables experienced slower rates of memory loss than those who consumed less. For a brain boost from cruciferous and leafy green veggies, try making broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale and spinach staples in your diet.
Good news, beer lovers! In a 2009 study, participants who drank up to two glasses of wine per day had almost a 40% lower risk of developing dementia compared with non-drinkers. That doesn’t mean the more, the better. The researchers looked at mild to moderate alcohol intake. So keep your daily consumption to either a can of beer, a 5-ounce glass of wine, or 1 ½ ounces of hard liquor.
Eggs contain “choline,” a nutrient that is needed to make acetylcholine, the key brain chemical for memory. In a small study at Florida International Universities, people ages 50 to 80 were given a choline supplement every day for five weeks. At the end of the study, the participants reported about a 50% less incidence of memory lapses than before.
In a study by Dutch researchers, older adults who took folic acid supplements for three years had greater memory improvement than the participants who were given a placebo. Beans are a great source of folic acid (also called folate). Some other folate-rich foods include leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, whole grains, and folate-enriched cereals and breads.
Tasting cinnamon or even just smelling its scent may boost memory and brain power, according to two studies performed at Wheeling Jesuit University. In the studies, people who smelled cinnamon or chewed a cinnamon-flavored gum had improved scores on memory tests.
Tamekia Reece is a Houston-based health writer. She’s written for Woman’s Day, Preserving Your Memory and Parents, among others. She can be reached at TamekiaReece.com.