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Pulse Health The Memory Boosting Diet Plan

Just as the body needs fuel, so does the brain. You probably already know that a diet based on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, “healthy” fats (such as olive oil, nuts, fish) and lean protein will provide lots of health benefits, but such a diet can also improve memory. For brain health however, it’s not just what you eat—it’s also what you don’t eat. The following nutritional tips will help boost your brainpower:

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  • Get your omega-3s. More and more evidence indicates that omega-3 fatty acids are particularly beneficial for your brain's health. Fish is a particularly rich source of omega-3, especially oily fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines and herring. Non-fish sources of omega-3s such as kidney beans, spinach, broccoli, pumpkin seeds and soya beans are also great for those who might not be fans of seafood.

 

  • Limit calories and saturated fat. Research shows that diets high in saturated fat (from sources such as red meat, whole milk, butter, cheese, cream, and ice cream) increase your risk of memory loss and impair concentration. Eating too many calories in later life can also increase your risk of cognitive impairment.

 

  • Eat more fruits and vegetables. They are packed with antioxidants which are substances that protect your brain cells from damage. Colourful fruits and vegetables are particularly good antioxidant "superfood" sources. Try leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kontomire, cabbage, lettuce and amaranthus, and fruits such as bananas, grapefruits, mangoes and watermelon.

 

  • Drink green tea. Green tea contains polyphenols, powerful antioxidants that protect against free radicals that can damage brain cells. Among many other benefits, regular consumption of green tea may enhance memory and mental alertness and slow brain aging.

 

  • Cut down on your alcohol consumption. Keeping your alcohol consumption in check is key, since alcohol kills brain cells. If you have to drink alcohol, it should be done in moderation, with red wine appearing to be the best option, as it is rich in resveratrol, a flavonoid that boosts blood flow in the brain. Other resveratrol-packed options include grape juice, fresh grapes, berries and groundnuts.

 

  • For mental energy, choose complex carbohydrates. When you need to be at the top of your mental game, carbohydrates can keep you going. But the type of carbs you choose makes all the difference. Simple carbs like sugar, white bread and refined grains give a quick boost followed by an equally rapid crash. There is also evidence to suggest that diets high in simple carbs can greatly increase the risk for cognitive impairment in older adults. For healthy energy that lasts, choose complex carbohydrates such as whole-wheat bread, brown rice, oatmeal, high-fibre cereal and whole beans. Avoid processed foods and limit starches (potato, pasta, rice) to no more than one quarter of your plate.

 

Bon appétit!

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