10 foods to help boost your brain power

1. Blackberries Blackberries can get the conversation flowing again. They provide potent antioxidants known as polyphenols that zap...

10 foods to help boost your brain power

1. Blackberries

Blackberries can get the conversation flowing again. They provide potent antioxidants known as polyphenols that zap inflammation and encourage communication between neurons, improving our ability to soak up new information according to a 2009 Tufts University study.

2. Coffee

A recent Finnish study of 1,400 longtime coffee drinkers reveals that people who sipped between three to five cups of coffee a day in their 40s and 50s reduced their odds of developing Alzheimer's disease by 65 percent compared with those who downed fewer than two cups a day.

3. Apples

According to researchers at Cornell University, quercetin defends your brain cells from free radical attacks which can damage the outer lining of delicate neurons and eventually lead to cognitive decline.

4. Chocolate

You've heard the good news that chocolate can lower your blood pressure. Now researchers have discovered it can also keep your mind sharp.

A 2009 Journal of Nutrition study found that eating as little as one-third of an ounce of chocolate a day (the size of about two Hersey's kisses) helps protect against age-related memory loss. They credit polyphenols in cocoa with increasing blood flow to the brain.

5. Cinnamon

Beta-amyloid plaques are one of the trademarks of Alzheimer's disease. The other is tangles in the brain made of tau proteins that can cause brain cells to die.

Emerging research from the University of California at Santa Barbara reveals that two compounds in cinnamon -- proanthocyanidins and cinnamaldehyde -- may inactivate these tau proteins.

6. Spinach

This leafy green is packed with nutrients that prevent dementia like folate, vitamin E, and vitamin K

Just one-half cup of cooked spinach packs a third of the folate and five times the amount of vitamin K you need in a day. Maybe that's why a 2006 Neurology study reveals that eating three servings of leafy green, yellow and cruciferous vegetables a day can delay cognitive decline by 40 percent.

7. Extra virgin olive oil

Extra virgin olive oil may be a potent foe against ADDLs (or amyloid B-derived diffusible ligands) are Alzheimer's-inducing proteins that are toxic to the brain, according to research conducted at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, PA last year. It's rich in oleocanthal, a compound that disables dangerous ADDLs.

8. Salmon

A study published in the July 2010 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine reveals that older people who are vitamin D deficient are 40 percent more likely to suffer from age-related memory loss.

9. Curry

Turmeric, a cousin of ginger, is one of the principal spices in curry powder. Turmeric is especially rich in curcumin, a compound believed to inhibit Alzheimer's disease in multiple ways according to experts at the University of California Los Angeles Alzheimer's Disease Research Center.

Not only does it block the formation of beta amyloid plaques, it also fights inflammation and lowers artery-clogging cholesterol which can reduce blood flow to your brain.

10. Concord grape juice
When researchers at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine gave 12 older adults with declining memory a daily drink of Concord grape juice or a placebo drink for three months, they found that the volunteers who drank the grape juice significantly improved their spatial memory and verbal learning skills.

Researchers believe that -- just like blackberries -- grape juice polyphenols improve communication between brain cells.

By Karen Ansel,


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