Remember those days (only quite recently, it seems) that rattling off the names of your favorite bands and their respective albums was as effortless as accurately reciting the lyrics to their entire catalog of songs or keeping dibs on their ever-changing dating and/or marital histories? Then, you noticed that – quite like your cell phone – your brain started displaying evidence of spotty coverage and inconveniently dropped calls.
“Oh, it must be the stress that you’re under,” well-intentioned friends and family members advised you. Others claimed that those once-important factoids stockpiled throughout your high school and college experience are simply just fading into the background now that you’ve shifted your priorities toward more weighty pursuits such as career and family.
Be that as it may, why should any of us give up the fun, cerebral fluff that makes us who we are… without at least a little bit of a fight? Now, for the good news: Keeping your noggin in proper working order requires just a few dietary tweaks that will help you to reap noticeable benefits within a few short weeks. Before you know it, that obscure band that The Cure’s Robert Smith was in for about one minute in 1983 will be right on the tip of your tongue (Pssst! It’s The Glove… but you knew that already, right?).
These antioxidant-rich jewels make scones and muffins far more tasty and nutrient-rich, but there’s an even more impressive reason why blueberries are included among mother nature’s ever-growing collection of ‘super foods.’ Each deeply pigmented fruit contains anthocyanin molecules which strengthen brain cells (particularly when compromised during stressful moments) while also helping the brain’s neurons to process memories more efficiently by as much as 20 percent!
While nitrates from processed meats such as bacon, ham, hot dogs and sausage have been proven to cause the body harm, the naturally occurring nitrites found in fresh beets and their crimson juice not only aid digestion and reduce blood pressure – they also work toward preventing clots from forming. Since blood is better able to flow without obstruction, the brain can then receive oxygen more effectively – a key ingredient necessary for enhanced memory.
High in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, you won’t sabotage your diet when you indulge in this flavorful fish – just be sure to seek out wild caught Alaskan salmon such as Kodiak Coho/Pink/Chum and Alaskan Chum/Coho/Pink/Sockeye/Chinook since they are all exposed to minimal environmental contaminants. The DHA-derived protectin compounds found within a common 4 ounce portion work in all sorts of fascinating brain-boosting ways to ease depression, reduce cerebral inflammation and boost IQ.
Like blueberries, it would seem that the deeper the fruit pigment, the more likely a plant food can aid the brain. In the case of grapes, their skin and juice appear to be just as magical as their seeds, the former two facilitating better spatial memory/short term memory retention while the latter rejuvenates brain cells and strengthens the hippocampus.
The purple tone of this Italian cooking staple hints at the nutrient-laden surprise within. We’ve already learned about the cerebral benefits of consuming blueberries and grapes, so it stands to reason that eggplant – which shares a similar pigmented vibe – is no sleepy-eyed wallflower. Scientific studies have found that its anthocyanin phytonutrient nasunin is responsible for ensuring that brain cell membranes retain their lipids, which you definitely want since decreased lipids are associated with the onset of Alzeheimer’s disease.
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