If ‘Where are my keys, what is the password or sorry I forgot your birthday’ have been part of your inner dialogue, then these three food tips are for you. They are brain boosters with added body benefits.
Is it a coincidence that walnuts look like a little brain snuggled in a shell? Maybe not. A recent cross-sectional study from UCLA that drew from a sampling of thousands of people in the United States age 20 and older showed that those who ate more walnuts performed better on a series of six cognitive tests. This is just the latest in a series of studies that have confirmed the brain and memory benefits of walnuts. High antioxidant values, magnesium and a significant amount of alpha linolenic acid (plant-based omega 3) might be the reason.
For everyone who ate an egg white omelet this morning, I have a suggestion: Eat some yolk. Yes, egg yolks are high in cholesterol but it’s saturated fat that has the most negative effect on blood cholesterol. One egg yolk has 1.6 grams of saturated fat, the same amount found in a 4-ounce skinless chicken breast. Egg yolks are the best source for choline, the key ingredient of acetylcholine, the neurotransmitter responsible for brain communication among nerve cells. Other good sources for choline are shrimp, scallops and dark green vegetables.
My last suggestion is currently peaking at the supermarket: blueberries. The rich blue color is indicative of the anthocyanidins nestled under the skin. Anthocyanidins, part of the flavonoid family, move blood into the areas of the brain responsible for memory and learning. Studies comparing dietary habits with cognitive function in adults hint that consuming flavonoids may help slow the decline in mental facility that is often seen with aging.
Enter walnuts, eggs and blueberries in Google and get ready for some very interesting recipes. Fruit and egg scramble with walnuts was there — that will be my next breakfast adventure.
Sheah Rarback is a registered dietitian on the faculty of the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine. Follow her on Twitter @sheahrarback.