How many times have you opened your cupboard and closed it again because you couldn’t remember why you opened it in the first place? And remember the last time you went mad looking for those car keys? Most of us have had these memory lapses at one time or the other.
While it may not be a big cause of worry, new research has indicated that memory loss could start as early as in our 20s and only deteriorate further thereafter.
While there are several factors, including stress, that can affect memory, researchers believe that eating certain foods can actually help in keeping not just your body but even the brain at its best. Nutrition plays a big role in helping bolster the brain’s health.
"Foods rich in vitamin E, vitamins B1 and B12 and vitamin C help in keeping the brain healthy. Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant, which may help to protect neurons or nerve cells. In Alzheimer’s disease, the neurons in certain parts of the brain start to die, which speeds up the events leading to cognitive deterioration," says Dr Manisha Kukreja Bhatla, consultant in preventive health programmes at Fortis Escorts Heart Institute. According to Dr Bhatla, our lifestyles are robbing us of the most essential nutrients that are required to keep us healthy.
Here are a few foods considered rich in Vitamin E that can help boost your brain’s health. Have them any time you want, there is no fixed time to eat them. But to reap the maximum benefit make sure most of these foods are consumed cooked.
Seeds, including sunflower and flaxseed, are good sources of vitamin E. One ounce of dry-roasted sunflower seeds contains 30 per cent of your recommended daily allowance.
Sprinkle them on top of your salad to give your brain a boost. Flaxseeds are also a great source of vitamin E and can be had as is, or added to your veggies or dals just before serving or even eaten with yoghurt. Pumpkin seeds are good for you too as they are rich in zinc.
Mangoes and Avocados
Mangoes are fully packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that strengthen and invigorate the nerve tissues in the muscles, heart, brain and other parts of the body. Avocados are also a rich source of antioxidant vitamin E, apart from being high in the antioxidant powerhouse vitamin C. Both of these are associated with a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
Fish is a great source of protein and is much healthier than red meat and even some other forms of protein that are high in saturated fat. The thing to keep in mind is that not all fish is beneficial for you. Go for salmon, mackerel and tuna as these are rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, including docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). DHA is important for the normal functioning of neurons.
Peanuts and other nuts
Peanuts and peanut butter tend to be a source of healthy fats and they are also packed with vitamin E. Both foods may help keep the heart and brain healthy and functioning properly. Other good choices are almonds, walnuts (they are even shaped like the brain) and hazelnuts. Research shows that diets that are high in healthy fats, whole grains, green leafy vegetables, and nuts are good for the brain and the heart.
Greens like spinach and broccoli are a good source of antioxidants. When you eat them cooked, the benefit almost doubles. While one cup of raw spinach has 15 per cent of your daily intake of vitamin E, half a cup of cooked spinach has 25 per cent of your daily intake. A slight stir fry or even steaming will do the trick.
Research shows that berries – blueberries, strawberries and even acai berries – are great memory boosters. Blueberries are one of the best foods for your brain. Since they’re high in fibre and low on the glycemic index, they are safe for diabetics and do not spike blood sugar. They are one of the most powerful anti-stress foods. But avoid dried sweetened blueberries.
From HT Brunch, June 17
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