The surprising food that supports your aging memory most

Memory problems are often considered an unavoidable consequence of old age. “Senior moments” (as these memory slips have been labeled) are an expected and even comical part of getting older. We create memes, books and birthday cards about them.

But even though most of us can laugh at this foible of aging, deep down, you don’t want it to happen to you. You feel embarrassed when you forget a word in the middle of a conversation. Or when you forget an old friend’s name. Or when you forget to put your car in park (oops).

And I’m here to tell you that you don’t need to take these memory lapses lying down. You can fight back… with food.

That’s right, food (among other lifestyle factors) influences your memory. And a new study shows that four types of foods, in particular, can keep senior moments to a minimum…

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It’s a mouthful, but Phosphatidylserine, or PS for short, is a nootropic that promotes brain health, memory, clarity, reasoning and comprehension. This nutrient is a key building block for the cells in your brain, that scientific literature has shown can… MORE⟩⟩

Don’t go against the grain for a good memory

Researchers from the University of Technology, Sydney in Australia just identified four food groups that can keep your memory sharp as you age. The first two are easy to guess (vegetables and fruits). And the third has been proven in studies to support brain health time and again (protein). But the fourth one is pretty surprising….

Grains.

That’s right. In a world where grain-free diets like the paleo and keto diets are more popular than ever, this study found that grains could be the key to keeping your memory intact as you get older. Who would’ve guessed?

The study included data from 139,000 older adults, and those who ate a lot of fruit, vegetables and protein-rich food had a lower chance of memory loss. They also had a lower risk of heart disease.

But here’s where things get interesting…

Related: Stop going against the grain to live longer

They found that people over age 80 who consume the least grains have the highest risk of memory loss. They have the highest risk of heart disease too.

Why would grains reduce the risk of memory loss?

Probably because they contain a lot of fiber. In fact, past studies show that high fiber diets can reduce brain inflammation and improve brain health. So, it makes sense that fiber-rich grains would protect memory in older adults. But before you start carb-loading on grains, I want to make one thing clear….

Grains were tied to better memory in people 80 and older. So, if you’re younger than that, they may not have a beneficial effect on your memory quite yet.

Get the most from your grains

I know the debate around the health impact of grains can get confusing. People that give up all grains swear that grains have a negative impact on your health, including your brain. But there’s so much evidence that fiber is good for you… and grains are one of the richest sources of fiber.

In fact, a study from a few years ago found that fiber is the number one nutrient associated with healthy aging. So, if you want your body and brain to age well, you have to get enough fiber… and as you get older, that may mean turning to grains to get it.

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Now, if you have celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, you should obviously continue avoiding gluten. But either way, you might not want to give up grains completely (or if you do, consider adding them back to your diet when you reach your golden years).

For those of you who plan to continue eating grains for the foreseeable future, here’s one thing you can do to keep your grain consumption healthy…

Choose whole grains. Whole grains (like all whole foods) are healthier than their processed counterparts. And don’t get tricked by deceptive labels. A lot of breads, for example, look like whole grain but they aren’t…

Related: Grains’ newly discovered heart-protective compound works like a drug

For bread to be whole grain, it needs to contain 100 percent whole-wheat flour. If you read the labels on certain breads that look brown or are labeled “multigrain” or “seven-grain,” you’ll find they don’t meet this requirement… which means they’re not whole grain.

Another tip? One of my favorite snacks — popcorn — is a whole grain too. So, it’s a good option when you have the munchies. Just make sure to buy organic popcorn and choose a healthy cooking oil like extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil (or invest in an air popper). And if you want an extra dose of B-vitamins (and flavor), add some nutritional yeast or brewer’s yeast to your popcorn once it’s done popping. It’s delicious!

Editor’s note: While you’re doing all the right things to protect your brain as you age, make sure you don’t make the mistake 38 million Americans do every day — by taking a drug that robs them of an essential brain nutrient! Click here to discover the truth about the Cholesterol Super-Brain!

Sources:

  1. Memory games: Eating well to remember — MedicalXpress
  2. Eating and healthy ageing: a longitudinal study on the association between food consumption, memory loss and its comorbiditiesInternational Journal of Public Health
  3. Older People Should Eat More Cereal To Support Better Memory, Study Finds — MindBodyGreen
  4. Dietary fiber reduces brain inflammation during aging — University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
  5. How to Add Whole Grains to Your Diet — EatRight.org
  6. 9 Best Tips to Help You Make Healthier Popcorn — Cleveland Clinic
  7. Why Is Nutritional Yeast Good for You? — Healthline

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Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine, TheFix.com, Hybridcars.com and Seedstock.com.