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5 Best Brain Foods For Memory

Finding the best brain foods for memory is a serious endeavor for many people. After all, even minor sporadic memory loss can be an early symptom of Alzheimer’s, a progressively debilitating disease that affects one in ten Americans aged 65 and older (approximately 5.8 million seniors). 1

The good news is that food can help soothe many of the most common ailments, and that includes memory impairment.

What Helps Improve Memory Naturally?

Eating certain foods is one of the best ways to help improve memory naturally.

Here are 5 foods that studies show may support memory and concentration, helping to keep your brain sharp well into your golden years and beyond.

Spinach

Remember the spinach Popeye ate for muscle strength? Turns out that spinach can help strengthen your mind, as well. Spinach is a rich source of folate (vitamin B-9) crucial to brain development and function. 

Severe folate deficiency has long been associated with dementia. Multiple clinical research studies suggest that folic acid, the synthetic form of folate, taken in supplement form may  improve memory and cognitive function. 2, 3 

Beef

Beef is a rich source of acetyl-l-carnitine, an amino acid that helps make acetylcholine, the most abundant neurotransmitter in the brain. Acetylcholine plays a huge role in learning, memory, and attention. Studies indicate acetyl-l-carnitine supplementation may slow the cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s disease. 4

When eating to improve memory and focus, be sure to select heart-healthy lean cuts of beef if possible.

Eggs

Eggs are a rich source of choline, a nutrient that helps create citicoline. Citcolone produces acetylcholine, a major neurotransmitter crucial for proper memory and focus and for cognitive function generally.

Studies suggest that Cognizin®, a superior branded form of citicoline, has been observed to  improve attention and increase motor speed. 5, 6 It may also improve memory in elderly subjects. 7

Fish

Fish is often referred to as a “brain food” for good reason. Multiple clinical research studies suggest an association between increased fish intake and a slower rate of age-related cognitive decline. Fish, especially fatty fish, is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, the nutrient most researchers credit with these brain-boosting effects. 8, 9

Dark Chocolate

Surprisingly, numerous studies indicate that dark chocolate may offer many health benefits, especially for the brain. Dark chocolate contains high levels of flavonols, a powerful antioxidant found in plants, which may be at least partly responsible for its brain-boosting benefits. Dark chocolate consumption has been observed to improve memory in study participants. (Flavonols have been found to increase blood flow to the brain.) 10

To reap these cognitive rewards, be sure the dark chocolate you eat or drink contains a minimum of 75% dark chocolate or cacao.

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References

1- Alzheimer’s Association. Facts and Figures. Accessed Feb 23, 2021. https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/facts-figures

2- Reynolds EH. Folic acid, ageing, depression, and dementia. BMJ. 2002;324(7352):1512-1515. doi:10.1136/bmj.324.7352.1512

3- Ma F, Wu T, Zhao J, et al. Folic acid supplementation improves cognitive function by reducing the levels of peripheral inflammatory cytokines in elderly Chinese subjects with MCI. Sci Rep. 2016;6:37486. Published 2016 Nov 23. doi:10.1038/srep37486

4- Pennisi M, Lanza G, Cantone M, D'Amico E, Fisicaro F, Puglisi V, Vinciguerra L, Bella R, Vicari E, Malaguarnera G. Acetyl-L-Carnitine in Dementia and Other Cognitive Disorders: A Critical Update. Nutrients. 2020 May 12;12(5):1389. doi: 10.3390/nu12051389. PMID: 32408706; PMCID: PMC7284336.

5- McGlade E, Locatelli A, Hardy J, Kamiya T, Morita M, Morishita K, Sugimura Y,  Yurgelun-Todd D. Improved Attentional Performance Following Citicoline
Administration in Healthy Adult Women. Food and Nutrition Sciences, 2012, 3, 769-773
doi:10.4236/fns.2012.36103 Published Online June 2012 (http://www.SciRP.org/journal/fns)

6- McGlade E, Agoston AM, DiMuzio J, Kizaki M, Nakazaki E, Kamiya T, Yurgelun-Todd D. The Effect of Citicoline Supplementation on Motor Speed and Attention in Adolescent Males. J Atten Disord. 2019 Jan;23(2):121-134. doi: 10.1177/1087054715593633. Epub 2015 Jul 15. PMID: 26179181.

7- Alvarez XA. Laredo M. Corzo D. Fernandez-Novoa L. Mouzo R. Perea JE. Daniele D. Cacabelos R. Methods & Findings in Experimental & Clinical Pharmacology. 19(3):201-10,1997 Apr. https://cognizin.com/en/studies/citicoline-improves-memory-performance-in-elderly-subjects

8- Morris MC, Evans DA, Tangney CC, Bienias JL, Wilson RS. Fish consumption and cognitive decline with age in a large community study. Arch Neurol. 2005 Dec;62(12):1849-53. doi: 10.1001/archneur.62.12.noc50161. Epub 2005 Oct 10. PMID: 16216930.

9- Dangour AD, Whitehouse PJ, Rafferty K, Mitchell SA, Smith L, Hawkesworth S, Vellas B. B-vitamins and fatty acids in the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer's disease and dementia: a systematic review. J Alzheimers Dis. 2010;22(1):205-24. doi: 10.3233/JAD-2010-090940. PMID: 20847412.

10- Socci V, Tempesta D, Desideri G, De Gennaro L, Ferrara M. Enhancing Human Cognition with Cocoa Flavonoids. Front Nutr. 2017 May 16;4:19. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2017.00019. PMID: 28560212; PMCID: PMC5432604.



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