(Natural News) For a lot of people, the concept of growing old isn’t thrilling because of one thing: cognitive decline which is one of the hallmark signs of aging. In particular, memory loss, forgetfulness, a decreased ability to maintain focus, and reductions in problem-solving abilities are all part of the cognitive decline. Some cases, however, are more severe, progressing into Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
That doesn’t mean that you should just wait for the condition to take over. Here are some foods that you (or your loved ones) can eat to support brain function and prevent mild cognitive decline. (h/t to NaturalHealth365.com.)
- Cucumbers – According to several studies, this refreshing fruit contains a flavonoid called fisetin, which stops memory loss and age-related cognitive decline. In one study, the brain-boosting benefits of fisetin were evident, even in the presence of amyloid plaques – an indicator for the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Strawberries – Besides fisetin, which strawberries also have, these delicious berries are rich in antioxidants and polyphenols that have anti-inflammatory properties. Indeed, a study from Brigham and Women’s Hospital found that older women who regularly ate a cup of strawberries each week slowed down the effects of cognitive aging by up to two and a half years.
- Grapes – These succulent fruits, especially the purple and red kinds, contain anthocyanins, an antioxidant known to prevent free radical damage in the brain. In particular, resveratrol, a phenolic antioxidant also present in red wine, is a potent weapon against cognitive decline. (Related: Red wine contains properties that can reduce blood pressure, study finds.)
- Blueberries – This superfood has been proven to prevent oxidative stress and promote the growth of new neurons in the brain, as well as improve learning, memory, and cognitive performance.
- Acetyl-L-carnitine – The compound, found in meat, poultry, fish, and milk, has been shown to address the first signs of age-related cognitive defects and brain deterioration.
- Spinach – It’s not just packed with vitamin K, it also has anti-inflammatory properties that protect against dementia. In a study, researchers found that taking in a serving of spinach can slow down the rate of deterioration. Other leafy green options include kale, Swiss chard, and romaine lettuce.
- Choline – One of the main reasons to consume eggs, the water-soluble nutrient does not only help fight certain cancers, it also is essential in cognitive function. Researchers have found that Alpha-GPC, a form of choline, can be used in stroke patients to help them regain full cognitive function.
- Fish oil – This popular supplement contains EPA and DHA – omega-3 fatty acids that are responsible for neurotransmitter function. Scientists have repeatedly established that a regular intake of fish oil can significantly reduce cognitive decline. However, an issue with fish oil is that some are laden with heavy metals that can be harmful to human health; thus, it’s best to get fish oil from reputable and high-quality sellers.
- Green tea – It’s one of the most potent food items around, thanks to epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which is known to counter brain cell oxidation. It also contains theanine, which can boost memory and attention in people who suffer from a mild cognitive impairment. It also is known to have an ameliorative effect in people with amyloid-beta proteins associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
- Coenzyme Q10 – Eating beef, sardines, spinach, broccoli, and cauliflower adds this vitamin-like nutrient, improving the health outcomes of people with dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.
In addition, you can opt for a Mediterranean diet to ramp up your defenses against cognitive decline. It’s high in beneficial fats, fiber, and polyphenols, and it can help improve mental function and prevent heart disease and cancer. You can also take moderate amounts of coffee to keep your mental faculties sharp.
Aging is a normal part of a person’s life. Still, taking care of your body and boosting it with proper nutrition can help keep the brain sharp for years to come.