As experts tell us, the right diet can prevent certain disease such as heart disease, cancer and high blood pressure. They are finding that eating certain foods may help our minds. At this time there aren’t any treatments proven to cure dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease, yet they have found foods that have a positive effect in overall mind health.

A “Brain Healthy Diet”, which is low in fat and cholesterol, is effective in reducing heart disease and diabetes by supporting blood flow to the brain. As we get older, it is harder to learn new things because the aging process of our brain cells become inflamed making it harder for cells to communicate with each other.

    Foods recommended by Alzheimer’s Association that help to keep you at the top of your game:

Blackberries: They contain great antioxidants, called polyphenols. According to a 2009 Tufts University Study, these antioxidants improve your ability to retain new information.

Coffee: 1,400 people who were in their 40’s and 50’s, participated in a study where they drank between three to five cups of coffee a day. They reduced their odds by 65% of developing Alzheimer’s Disease over those who drank fewer than two cups a day.

Apples: Remember the old saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”. Apples (especially the skins) contain an antioxidant plant chemical called quercertin. They protect our brain cells by keeping the mental juices flowing. Cornell University did research on quercetin. They found quercetin defends our brain cells from free radicals that attack our outer lining of the brain which contains neurons. Loss of these neurons may lead to cognitive loss.

Chocolate: Researchers have found that eating as little as 1/3 ounce of chocolate (the size of 2 Hersey’s Kisses) a day helps protect age related memory loss. It helps lower blood pressure because the polyphenols in cocoa increases the blood flow to the brain.

Spinach: A 2006 Neurology study discovered by eating three servings of green, yellow and cruciferous vegetables a day, a person can slow cognitive decline by 40%. Spinach is packed with nutrients like folate, vitamin E and vitamin K that help prevent dementia.

Cinnamon: Research done at the University of California, Santa Barbara is still in the infant stage; however, the study found two compounds in cinnamon, proanthocyanidins and cinnamaldehyde, are known to inactivate the tau proteins and beta-amyloid plaque which cause brain cells to die – a trademark of Alzheimer’s Disease. Put a sprinkle of cinnamon on your oatmeal or in yogurt.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil: In the early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease, proteins and beta-amyloids attach to brain cells which prevent them from communicating with each other. Extra Virgin Olive Oil contains a compound rich in oleocanthal, which helps disable the beta-amyloids and proteins that cause memory loss.

Salmon: Found in salmon is a top source of DHA, the predominant omega-3 fat in your brain, believed to protect against Alzheimer’s Disease. It is also a good source of Vitamin D. Researchers have found that people deficient in Vitamin D are 40% more likely to suffer from age-related memory loss.

Curry: Curry powder contains turmeric, a spice that is a cousin to ginger. Turmeric contains a compound rich in curcumin known to block the formation of beta-amyloid plaques. It also fights inflammation and lowers artery-clogging cholesterol that reduces blood flow to the brain.

Concord Grape Juice: Good for your heart and good for your brain is Concord grape juice. It contains polyphenols found in red wine and concord grape juice, that can give your brain a boost. In a research study done at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, volunteers that were given a daily drink of concord grape juice for three months, significantly improved their memory and verbal skills over the others who were just given a placebo.

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