Can you eat to improve your memory? Apparently so. A recent article in CommonHealth describes how one can eat to essentially clog up those brain pathways or how one can eat to unclog your brain and improve your memory. Another article reviews 15 foods to eat for a healthy brain.
What food clog up your brain?
We all know that eating high fat foods, especially those high in saturated fat, can clog up your arteries and are not good for your heart. Another fat, trans fat, is especially bad as it builds up in our blood vessels and damages them. So those French fries loaded with fat and foods high in saturated fat like bacon, are not only not good for your heart, they might not be good for your brain.
The Diets high in cholesterol and fat might speed up the formation of beta-amyloid plaques in the brain. These sticky protein clusters are blamed for much of the damage that occurs in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s.
Recommendation 1 for a healthy brain – cut back on foods high in saturated fats. Read the label to see how many grams of saturated fat are in the food. Eating at a fast food restaurant? Look online at their menu and nutrition information and choose menu items with less saturated fat.
- Choose the grilled chicken sandwich instead of the fried chicken sandwich
- Choose fruit instead of French fries or at least get the smaller fries
- Choose Lay’s chips as they have a heart healthy oil. Choose the Sun Chips to get some whole grain
Recommendation 2: Choose foods for a healthier brain to boost brain power
What foods are good for brain health?
Unclog your brain and keep it unclogged by eating healthier fats. Choosing monounsaturated fats like Olive Oil and Canola Oil and Polyunsaturated fats like Corn oil and Safflower oil are good for brain health.
Canola oil – high in monounsaturated fats at 63% and very low in saturated fats at only 7%. This oil also has a good amount of omega-3 fats which are good for your heart and brain. An interesting fact is that canola oil contains “phytosterols” which actually help reduce how much cholesterol your body absorbs.
Olive Oil – very high in monounsaturated fats at 73%. Low in saturated fats at 13.8%. Olive oil is a good source of vitamin E and K. Olive oil also provides antioxidants which are anti-inflammatory.
Other healthy fats: besides the plant oils other healthy fat foods:
- Walnuts, almonds, pistachios – I add some chopped walnuts to my oatmeal or other cereal every morning.
- Flax seeds
- Fish- salmon and canned tuna are especially healthy because of the omega – 3 fats. CommonHealth recommends salmon to “keep your brain running smoothly – goodbye brain fog”.
- Avocados – these used to be on the “no” list as they are high in fat. But now they are on the “enjoy” list as avocados are loaded with monounsaturated fats good for heart and brain health. Avocados provide vitamins K and folate which helps protect against blood clots and improves brain function in terms of memory and your concentration. Enjoy that avocado dip and use some whole grain chips for dipping.
What “diet” is good for brain health?
The Mediterranean Diet is not really a diet to lose weight but an eating pattern for a healthier you. Eating the Mediterranean way promotes heart heatlh and brain health. Improve the health of your blood vessels by eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish and olive oil.
- Blueberries – definitely brain food. My husband tries to eat some blueberries every day. Rich in those good for you antioxidants and high in vitamins C and K and a good source of fiber. Blueberries have a substance called “gallic acid” that promotes brain health by protecting your brain from degeneration and stress.
- Dark Chocolate – who doesn’t like chocolate? Chocolate provides “flavonols” a good for you and your brain antioxidant. (Have you noticed there are many, many antioxidants in foods and eating a variety of foods provides you with different antioxidants.) This antioxidant helps improve blood flow to heart and to your brain and helps lower your blood pressure. Looking for some Hershey chocolate? Choose the dark chocolate to get the health benefits.
- Green Leafy Vegetables – yes, that Kale salad is good for your health. Or choose Swiss chard, Romaine lettuce, spinach. Eating from a salad bar? Skip the iceberg lettuce and load up on the spinach or darker salad greens. The darker the green, the more vitamin A and vitamin K it provides.