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Diet Diva
Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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Losing our Marbles?

I read an interesting article today in the newspaper on brain development and memory decline as we age. The article states:
“During your 30s, the blood flow to your brain begins to decrease, making it more challenging to remember events or details as well or as quickly. Despite the decline in mental abilities, your intellect remains the same, as does your ability to grow intellectually and emotionally.”

I am very happy to hear that researchers have determined that our intellect remains the same but we just need to get the blood flowing! How do we get the blood flowing? You guessed it…..diet and exercise!

Here are some powerful brain foods:

1. Omega-3 fatty acids (think salmon, sardines, herring, tuna, flax seeds, certain eggs)
Why? Foods high in omega-3’s have DHA which is important for brain function and development. Egg yolk also has choline which has been shown to help improve memory and may decrease senility as you age.

2. Folic acid (think asparagus, legumes, oranges, spinach)
Why? Studies have shown that folic acid helps people think more clearly and remember certain events. It has also been linked to reducing risk of heart disease.

3. Antioxidants (think blueberries, chocolate, legumes, whole grains, green vegetables, etc)
Why? Antioxidants kill off free radicals which attack the cells and lead to disease and possible memory loss by protecting your brain cells.

4. Tea (think green or black)
Why? Tea is also high in antioxidants and a certain kind of phytochemical called polyphenols. Studies have specifically linked drinking green tea to decreases in brain cognition as we age, but black tea has a lot of emerging science for memory as well.
Another reason to exercise
Exercise also helps with memory and loss of brain function by improving circulation. Improved circulation leads to increased blood flow to all tissues, including the brain!
Last word
I know I need all the help I can get to keep my brain sharp as I age. This is motivation enough for me to really examine my daily routine of the choices of foods going into my body. It also motivates me to get out of bed and get moving in the morning! Hopefully you feel the same and we will all be doing Sudoko when we are in our 90's!

Photo courtesy of van ort
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About the Author


Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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