My grandma, Donna White, is an 86-year-old with a steel will and a sharp mind. A teacher for 30 years, she is highly educated and keeps her mind in top shape. She can tell you the events of any given day in the past 50 years, and her trivia skills rival that of Ken Jennings.
Her secret? Exercise, sleep and brain food.
Whether you are on the Paleo Diet or live a vegan lifestyle, these three foods from Mother Nature are appropriate for any diet and can help keep your mind active and alert.
One of the major causes of aging is … wait for it … inflammation. Inflammation occurs when unattached oxygen molecules, also called free radicals, attack your cells. Because your brain uses so much oxygen – 20 percent of your body’s total oxygen supply – it is easily damaged by these maverick molecules.
Blueberries take the fighting power out of these radicals and render them harmless because they are rich in antioxidants (anti-oxygen molecules).
A recent study found that diets rich in blueberries improved the memory of aging rats, making them the mental equivalent of their much younger peers.
So if you want to be able to compete with that young guy at work, eat your blueberries.
You tell your kids to eat their broccoli, so now it’s time to practice what you preach. Studies have found that people who consume at least two servings of broccoli or similar leafy green vegetables may significantly slow the process of aging. The secret? Again, it’s those antioxidants. Take a lesson from President Obama – broccoli is his favorite food.
Avocados are great for promoting brain health for a different reason. They contain monounsaturated fat and lower blood pressure, both of which contribute to healthy blood flow. And healthy blood flow means a healthy brain.
Avocados are high in calories, however, so avoid eating an entire bag in one sitting.
I am the first one to tell you that my diet needs work. For breakfast this morning, I had an Egg McMuffin, two diet cokes and a Reese’s peanut butter cup.
But after finding out more about the direct relationship between healthy eating and keeping my mind sharp, it’s a sure bet that tomorrow’s breakfast will include blueberries.
Antioxidants and monounsaturated fats are the key to finally beating Grandma at Scrabble.