In 2007, Northwestern University researchers identified the SuperAger brain, a brain that is 30 years younger in cognitive function than its biological age would suggest. The research, published January 28th 2015 in the Journal of Neuroscience, revealed the physiological characteristics of 80-year-old SuperAger brains with memories as sharp as the brains of people decades younger.
Brain MRI scans and histological analyses showed that SuperAger brains have:
- A thicker region of the cerebral cortex: the brain’s outer layer of neural tissue
- Far fewer neurofibrillary tangles—a major indicator of Alzheimer’s disease
- An abundant supply of a neuron called von Economo, which is associated with higher social intelligence
Although the research has yet to reveal exactly how to ensure your brain has these three components, science has found that there are several foods you can eat to protect brain health and enhance cognitive function.
Blueberries: Animal studies indicate that blueberries possess some pretty stellar brain-boosting powers and can improve learning ability and motor skills. Due to their high antioxidant capacity they help defend the brain against oxidative stress and may potentially lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Wild Salmon: Sourced from the pristine waters of the Atlantic, wild salmon is high in omega-3 essential fatty acid, a crucial nutrient for brain health. Omega-3 safeguards brain cell function and helps subdue inflammation.
Nuts and Seeds: Sunflower seeds, flax seeds, walnuts, almonds and the like are rich in brain-protective vitamin E. Studies have shown that higher levels of vitamin E are linked to less age-related cognitive decline. Vitamin E supplements, however, have shown no protective benefits, so be sure to eat your E!
Avocados: Also rich in vitamin E, avocados are a healthy monounsaturated fat that helps increase blood flow to the brain and lower blood pressure (high blood pressure is a primary marker for cognitive decline).
Dark Green Leafy Vegetables: Green vegetables like broccoli, kale, and spinach are high in vitamin E and folate (folic acid). Scientists believe that folate helps to lower levels of an amino acid called homocysteine, high levels of which have been implicated in nerve cell death, cognitive decline, and heart disease.
In addition to adding these brain-boosting foods to your diet, be sure to stay physically active. Researchers from University of Georgia’s Department of Exercise Science showed that 20 minutes of exercise increased information processing and memory functions in the brain. And be sure to exercise the brain itself with puzzles, riddles, and mysteries. What we don’t use, we lose!
To learn about more brain-boosting foods, as well as an all-natural supplement for supreme brain nutrition, click here.