Maintaining a quick mind is one of the most important parts of successful and healthy aging. Playing brain games like solving crosswords or puzzles, as well as physical activity, like table tennis, have all been touted as ways to keep your cognition sharp as a tack.
There's no definitive answer as to what causes memory loss, but the risk for Alzheimer's does increase as you get older. We don't know the exact cause or causes, but exercise and a healthy diet are some recommended ways to reduce your risk.
Eating for heart health, like the Mediterranean Diet, has been said to be helpful in keeping the body and brain fit, as there seems to be a link between heart conditions and Alzheimer's. One study found that a Mediterranean Diet, plus nuts, can actually improve cognition. Here are some brain-friendly recipes to try at home.
1. Brain power smoothie
This delicious smoothie is great for breakfast or even a snack and it's super filling. It's loaded with blueberries, which may help protect the brain from oxidative stress, and avocado, which is full of healthy fat and also helps improve blood flow in the brain and body.
2. Turmeric tea
Try this for your nightcap. This creamy drink, made of creamy almond milk, soothing cinnamon and turmeric, won't just help you get a good night's sleep. Turmeric is a spice which contains a compound called curcumin. Curcumin has anti-inflammatory properties and has been shown to break down the beta-amyloid plaques that are a hallmark of Alzheimer's.
3. Kale, blueberry and pomegranate salad
Dr. Marwan Sabbagh, the author of "The Alzheimer's Prevention Cookbook," says getting more fruits, vegetables and nuts in the diet is key. Sabbagh calls berries a "superfood" and this recipe is a great way to get plenty of them in your diet. Pomegranate is also known to be a super antioxidant while almonds also add a brain-boosting crunch.
4. Apricot-glazed salmon
Fatty fish is a great source of omega-3s and salmon is one of our most filling and versatile favorites. Some studies have linked a diet rich in omega-3s to lower levels of blood beta-amyloid levels, meaning potentially fewer plaques and tangles. This flavorful dish pairs well with brown rice or your whole grain of choice.
5. Curried quinoa with green onions
This aromatic dish would pair well with the salmon recipe above. Whole grains, like the nutty quinoa, are part of the Mediterranean diet thanks to their anti-inflammatory benefits. Remember, inflammation is a common element in many neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer's.