Maintaining a clear, agile mind is a key to enjoying all the retirement planning you did while still on the job. If you are like most retirees, the search for ways to keep the brain healthy has extended into a quest to find foods to sharpen your memory. When you consider 20 percent of all the calories you consume end up being used between your ears, it’s little wonder that what’s on your plate might be important. Thankfully, there’s a wealth of ongoing research into the relationship between eating and mental health, so developing a solid idea of the best choices is getting easier all the time. Next time you go to the grocery store, make sure to put these items in your cart:
These “little trees” – broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy and others – contain a lot of antioxidants. These tiny chemical powerhouses are media darlings nowadays, being touted to help slow aging and mental decline. On top of that, they are high in fiber, which will help with digestive health and might even decrease our blood pressure. (The latter helps oxygen reach your brain with considerably less effort by the heart.)
You always thought salads were for people trying to lose weight, didn’t you? Well, they can certainly benefit those looking to shed a few pounds, but they are also loaded with folic acid – a vitamin which studies have indicated might affect memory. Skip the romaine lettuce and go for the darker shades of green: spinach and kale, as well as collard, mustard, or turnip greens. Interestingly, these veggies are relatively high in calcium to keep your bones strong, too.
Dark colored berries
Much like the cruciferous vegetables, the deeper colors in certain berries indicate a higher presence of antioxidants. What’s more, they are filled with anthocyanins and flavonols, which have a protective effect on brain structure and, according to animal studies, might even help reverse memory loss. As if any of us needed a reason to get our hands on the sweet stuff, you can say you’ve got a basket full of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and cherries for the sake of your brain! If you can get them fresh from the farm, do so. In the off-season, take a stroll down the frozen foods aisle and pick up a pack without extra sugar added.
Catch of the day
In recent years, the positive effects of fatty fish like salmon and mackerel have come to light in a major way. Filled with omega-3 fats, which go on to become components of nerve cells in some cases, these sea dwellers ought to be the main course two or three times a week. If you are unable to make that happen, then consider a high-quality fish oil supplement. Research has shown a correlation between higher omega-3 levels and decreased incidence of dementia, as well as reductions in memory decline. Even an extra three years at your best (as one study showed) will make a dramatic difference in your quality of life down the line.