As we get older, it certainly can seem like we get more forgetful. There is nothing more important than keeping the brain and mind sharp- who wants to have a terrible memory, afterall?
If keeping your mind sharp is important, than making sure that you consume enough essential fats and phospholipids in the diet is essential. That is because these brain nutrients keep the size of your brain cells large enough to keep your memory strong.
Essential Omega-3 Fats
Having an optimal intake of essential fats, especially omega-3 fats, is crucial for maintaining good brain development. This is because our brain is 60% fat by weight and DHA from omega-3 fats can be up to 20% of all fat in our brain. These fats form part of the structure of the brain cell membranes, and have been shown to improve intelligence, reduce aggression, and enhance mood when ingested in sufficient quantity. If you have deficiencies then it can impair your overall cognitive function.
To make sure you get enough of these important fats, you want to make sure eat foods such as flaxseeds, walnuts, sardines, salmon, beef, soybeans, tofu, brussel sprouts and cauliflower which all have natural high omega-3 fat levels.
It is a bit of a tongue twister to say, but phosphatidyl choline is probably the most important phospholipid to keep in strong supply. Choline is used by the body to make a vital neurotransmitter in the brain. Having adequate intake helps to avoid poor memory and lethargy. There has also been research conducted which has shown that providing women with choline during pregnancy creates the equivalent of a “superbrain” in the babies.
It is best to try and consume a combination of choline with vitamin B5, as this has proved effective in enhancing memory and overall mental performance.
The foods you want to eat to ensure you are having an adequate choline supply includes egg yolk, wheat germ, codfish, chicken, milk, cauliflower, spinach, and tofu.
The best supplemental source of choline is lecithin, which also supplies phospholipids. If you are supplementing as opposed to getting choline from whole foods, then bear in mind that not all lecithin supplements are the same – look for products that contain at least 30% phosphatidyl choline to ensure adequate supply.
Another nutrient found in fish, particularly anchovies and sardines, is DMEA. Unlike choline supplements, it passes easily into the brain and can be converted into choline. DMEA has been shown to elevate mood, improve memory, increase intelligence and enhance physical energy.
When “smart nutrients” such as omega-3 fats, phosphatidyl choline, physphatidyl serine, vitamin B5, DMEA and pyroglutamate are taken in combination, they are more effective than taken individually.
Avoid Memory Suckers
Also try to avoid caffeine (coffee, tea, chocolate, cola), which seems to impair memory, as well as sugar and refined carbohydrates, which have been found to reduce intelligence. In addition, minimize your exposure to toxins especially from air pollution and cigarettes as there have been links to continued exposure having an effective on overall brain function.
It really is possible to think sharper and more clearly into the future through eating a whole foods diet that includes the foods mentioned above- just don’t forget to eat them!