You’ve heard of food for thought but are you really giving thought to your food? With all the emphasis we put on eating for a healthy body, it is easy to overlook that we can eat for a better brain too. Make some good choices now that your future self will thank you for later. Increase your information and memory retention with some specific additions to your diet.
Sorry, Nemo, you are number one on the list of foods that can strengthen recall and cognitive function. Found in the membranes of brain cells, omega-3 fatty acids which are abundant in fish, are essential for maintaining the health of those membranes and promoting communication between brain cells and the rest of the body (1). A healthy cell will reduce the death count of your neurons which will dramatically affect the structure and function of your nervous system. While it is too late to have an impact on someone already diagnosed with Alzheimer's, these fatty acids can help stave off memory loss in most other people (2). Their powerful anti-inflammatory properties also help improve heart health and the appearance of your skin (3). Your body cannot produce enough DHA, one of the main compounds that make up omega-3 fatty acids, to sustain the health of those cells so even if you don’t like fish, consider adding a supplement to your vitamin regimen (2).
Walnuts are a perennial powerhouse when it comes to boosting memory and brain health. Also high in DHA, these nuts are a great way to get those omega-3 fatty acids if you are opposed to eating fish. A quarter cup of walnuts has almost 100% of the daily recommended amount of DHA (4).
Feel free to add some variety too! Studies have shown pistachios to strengthen brainwaves for enhanced learning capabilities and retention of information (5). Hazelnuts and almonds are also rich in vitamin E which can help prevent cognitive decline in adults (same as DHA). To avoid consuming too many calories, opt for unsalted and raw nuts but don’t fret too much. A Harvard study found that the high fiber and protein content of nuts actually worked to decrease appetite as well as increasing the life expectancy of participants who included them as a part of their daily intake (6).
BRAINJUICE TIP! Supercharge your brain by combining a scoop of our pomegranate powder with your favorite nut butter, frozen berries, spinach, and water for a smoothie capable of handling any test, deadline, or playdate.
Beautiful, wondrous chocolate! What can’t you fix? The flavonoids found in cocoa are especially effective at penetrating the hippocampus, the part of the brain that handles memory and learning (7). By increasing blood flow to the brain, more nutrients, antioxidants, and oxygen work to improve function and recall. High-quality dark chocolate, of around 70% cocoa, can also improve digestion, mood, and relieve stress in case you need any more reasons to add this snack into your rotation (8).
Lovingly dubbed the “brain berry,” blueberries are healthy, delicious, and one of the cheaper supermarket finds. Studies have shown that blueberries can increase your memory within five hours after consumption (9). Just like dark chocolate, blueberries contain flavonoids, which give an extra boost of power to the hippocampus (10).
Even if you hated them as a child, the memory-enhancing capabilities of beets are enough of a reason to give this vegetable another chance. This super root increases blood flow to the brain while also being high in choline, a precursor to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine which is essential for information retention (11).
BRAINJUICE TIP!Try this ‘pretty in pink’ memory-boosting smoothie! One scoop of our watermelon powder with beets, strawberries, and a little ginger for a delicious, invigorating start to your day.
To keep your brain and body healthy, you can’t go wrong with anything green: broccoli, celery, avocados, bell peppers, kale, kiwis, and so on. Spinach, however, deserves its own special highlight in regards to memory thanks to its high concentration of vitamins K and A (12). A five-year study conducted by Rush University in Chicago showed that aging adults who consumed leafy greens daily had the cognitive function comparable to someone 11 years younger (13). The antioxidant and brain-protecting benefits of this vegetable make it an indispensable part of any healthy diet.
Turmeric is popping up on more menus every day but it is not a fad, it is a life-saver. Literally. Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties work wonders in the body but especially the brain. When it comes to Alzheimer’s, the hippocampus and other parts of the brain that control memory is affected first. Beta-amyloid plaques start to build upon those neurons to disrupt their communication and later kill the neuron themselves (14). The main active component of turmeric, curcumin, can potentially melt away those plaques to keep your neurons healthy and firing (15). While there is still a lot to discover about this spice, it is worth mentioning that India, a country that relies heavily on turmeric in their cooking, has some of the lowest rates of Alzheimer’s in the world (16).
BRAINJUICE TIP! Combine our peach-mango powder with some fresh turmeric, orange segments, a frozen banana, and coconut water for a perfectly balanced, energizing smoothie you’ll be excited to drink in the morning!
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