You might know about omega-3s and blueberries, but check out the rest of the top eight nutrients for protecting aging brains suggested by the Institute of Food Technologists. Its magazine, Food Technology, highlights these nutrients and how they help keep the brain in shape:
1. Cocoa flavanols. Good for the dentate gyrus! It’s the part of the brain linked to age-related memory, and a recent study said it’s cuckoo for cocoa flavs.
2. Omega-3 fatty acids. Studies have suggested these compounds help with all kinds of memory, from remembering where your keys are (localizatory memory) to figuring out what that thing is on the counter and why you took it out of the fridge (object recognition memory). In one study, people with higher levels of omega-3s were also found to have larger brains in old age, the equivalent of preserving one or two years of brain health.
3. Phosphatidylserine and phosphatidic acid. Pilot studies suggest a cocktail of these two can help boost memory, mood and cognitive function in the elderly--like winning the AARP Triple Crown.
4. Walnuts. Studies show they help mice beat Alzheimer’s. Get crackin’.
5. Citicoline. This stuff may help protect aging brains from free radical damage.
6. Choline. Studies suggest it boosts the cognitive version of bars on a cell phone, helping with brain cell communication. It also helps prevent the age-related changes in the brain that cause cognitive decline and failure.
7. Magnesium. Often recommended for people who have had concussions, magnesium helps protect the aging brain.
8. Blueberries. Bursting with anthocyanins, flavonoids that help crank up health-promoting qualities of foods, blueberries help inflammation and brain cell signaling.