What did I need from this room? Where did I put my keys? What is her name?
On any given day, we ask ourselves countless questions like these--all centered on mental lapses.
Forgetting things is often a part of our lives and as humans age, we remember tasks less and less. Luckily, we have a solution, and no, it does not involve cluttering your desk with multi-colored sticky notes. It's easy, simple, and delicious.
Joy Bauer, author of Food Cures, informs us that, "A sharp memory depends on your total number of brain cells, the smooth flow of communication between the cells and the health of cells." So in order to have a sharp memory, you must spark brain cells!
To increase your memory and reduce forgetfulness, Bauer suggest snacking on these six, brain-enhancing foods below!
1. Beets regulate heartbeat.
It makes perfect sense that a vegetable, with the shape and color of a beet, would be beneficial to your heart. "Every cell in the body needs a steady supply of oxygen and nutrients to stay alive and work properly," says Bauer. Keep blood pressure levels in check (less than 120/80), exercise regularly, and stock up on foods such as beets that improve blood flow, ensuring a steady supply of nutrients to the brain. Beets help your heart which in turn allows your brain to function better. "A brain filled with well-nourished neurons enables you to think and remember more clearly," says Bauer.
Enjoy beets on a daily basis by growing your own delicious certified organic and heirloom beets by starting seeds from Sustainable Seed Company.
2. Fish maintains brain cell health.
"When it comes to food and memory, fish should be the star of the show," says Bauer. Fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel contain generous amounts of omega-3 fatty acids which are important for maintaining the health of brain cells. Bauer recommends eating a four-ounce portion (slightly larger than the palm of your hand) of a fatty fish at least three times a week.
3. Lean protein improves cognitive skills.
Chicken, turkey breast, eggs and low-fat milk are excellent sources of vitamin B12 which is an important protein to maintain cognitive skills. A 2012 Tufts University study showed older adults who were mildly B12 deficient were at higher risk for cognitive decline. Lean meats also keep you feeling fuller longer and reduce the amount snack breaks, leaving more time for the task at hand.
4. Berries prevent brain cell breakdown.
Berries are busting with antioxidants called anthocyanins which help prevent the breakdown of brain cells. A 2012 Harvard study found women who eat at least one cup of blueberries and strawberries per week experienced a 2.5 year delay in mental decline compared to women who rarely ate berries. "Blueberries in particular have received a lot of attention because they can enhance spatial memory and learning," says Bauer. She recommends eating four cups of berries per week.
Try growing your own berries at home. BrazelBerries® offers different berry shrubs that can easily grow in a garden or pot that you can pick fresh for yourself. Add some berries to your morning smoothie or bake them into your pancakes.
5. Walnuts improve memory.
Another connection can be made for food and a body part with this connection relating a walnut and the brain. A 2012 study published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease found that walnut consumption was associated with better memory scores and cognitive function. Walnuts are also a great source of alpha-linolenic acid -- a plant-based form of omega-3 fatty acids. Sprinkle some walnuts on your salad or yogurt or enjoy a handful of them for a healthy snack.
6. Coffee provides focus.
Caffeine can sharpen your focus and memory in the short term. While Bauer says a couple cups of coffee are OK to drink during the day, she recommends avoiding caffeine at least eight hours before bedtime so it doesn't interfere with your sleep. "Quality sleep is a critical component to a sharp mind," she says. So don’t go overboard on the coffee, but drink it for an uplift in brain functionality.