By: Jessica Tupa, UTSA Dietetics Student
The age-old saying, “we’re not getting any younger” definitely holds true for our memory over time. Because our society is one that is living longer, and more of us are staying in the workforce longer or returning to it after retirement age, we seek a higher quality of life than one that was the norm in the past. The way we eat and the nutrients in our foods can help strengthen our minds and memories so that we are getting the most out of our days. Here are some foods that can really help us to seize the day!
A good rule of thumb is to keep in mind that what is good for your heart is also good for your mind. Foods that promote blood flow will help keep your brain sharp. Nutrients that fall into this category are:
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- Vitamins B, C, D, and E
OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS
Omega-3 Fatty Acids are a huge part of helping our brain function normally, and without them, we are at risk for illnesses such as dementia in the future. Good sources of Omega-3s are fish, particularly salmon, herring, tuna or sardines. It is recommended to eat fish at least twice a week, but if that’s not your type of meal, try talking to your doctor about taking supplements like fish oil.
VITAMINS B, C, D, AND E
All of these vitamins have been linked to better brain function. Vitamin B (thiamine) and Vitamin E actually make up parts of brain cells in our bodies, and they help our brain to send signals to each other or to the rest of our body. Vitamins B and C help to make energy in the brain, and vitamins C and E are powerful antioxidants. Some food sources of these are berries, avocados, green leafy vegetables, nuts, whole grains (like 100% whole wheat bread, for example), and lean meats.
Lutein is another nutrient you can find in egg yolks and avocados; it is very important in brain health and its function. It also helps with eye health and works together with Omega-3’s to get your brain pumping!
You may already be eating a lot of these nutrients and not even know it! You don’t have to get caught up in eating just one of these types of foods, as long as you try to eat a variety of them, you will be on a good path to keeping your brain healthy. Bon appetit!
- Moore, Marisa. 4 Types of Foods to Help Boost Your Memory. EatRight.Org. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. http://www.eatright.org/resource/health/wellness/healthy-aging/memory-boosting-foods. Published November 15, 2017. Accessed January 25, 2018.
- Thalheimer, Judith C. Nutrients for a Sharp Memory. Today’s Dietitian. 2017;19(12), 24. http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/1217p24.shtml. Published December 2017. Accessed January 25, 2018.
- Alaskan Seafood Market. Alaskan King Salmon 20 lbs. In: Alaskan Seafood Market. https://www.tannersfish.com/product/alaskan-king-salmon-20lbs/.
- Joseph M. 20 Types of Berries and Their Health Benefits. In: Nutrition Advance. Nutrition Advance. December 15, 2016. https://nutritionadvance.com/types-of-berries/
- Stick PNG. Download Egg Transparent. In: Stick PNG. http://www.stickpng.com/img/food/eggs/egg