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June 2017

Boost Your Memory with Food

Are you feeling forgetful? It could be in part due to lack of sleep, activity level and medical conditions such as high blood pressure or blood sugar.  However, it is clear that what we eat is vital to brain health.   Researchers have developed the MIND diet.  This diet is a combination of a Mediterranean–style and the DASH diet (dietary approach to stop high blood pressure).  It promotes better memory and alertness and may keep the brain sharp.                     

“Brain-Healthy Foods” for the MIND
There are ten key foods related to better brain function.  These foods are rich in nutrients that nourish and protect the brain.

  • Leafy Greens - 3 cups cooked or 6 cups raw a week.  These are high in beta carotene, folic acid and rich in vitamin K.
  • Vegetables - at least 3 1/2 cups a week. Vegetables are packed with vitamins, especially folic acid.
  • Berries - 1 cup or more a week- rich in flavonoids to boost memory.
  • Fish - at least 3 ounces a week.  Fish is an excellent source of omega-3 fats that has been shown to reduce inflammation.
  • Poultry– 6 or more ounces a week.  Choline, a B-vitamin is important for brain development and poultry is rich in this vitamin.
  • Beans – 2 cups a week including chickpeas, navy and pinto beans. Legumes are a good source of magnesium important to brain cells.
  • Whole Grains– 3 servings a day.  Oats, brown rice, quinoa and other whole grains are rich in magnesium which is vital to brain health.  One serving is 1 slice of whole grain bread or 1/2 cup of brown rice.
  • Olive Oil - use as your main source of fat in your diet, to be used in moderation.  It appears to reduce inflammation.
  • Nuts - 2-1/2oz. a week.  This equals 30 almonds or 15 walnuts.  Keep portions in check, calories add up fast.
  • Wine - If you choose to drink, one 5-ounce glass daily may be beneficial;  more may damage the brain.

“Foods to Limit” for the MIND
There are five foods that have been linked to impairing memory.  They are foods that are high in saturated fats or high in sugar.

  • Red Meat– less than 4 times a week. 
  • Fried & Fast Food - less than once a week
  • Whole-Fat Cheese - less than 2oz a week.
  • Butter/Margarine - less than 1 Tbsp. a day.

The Bottom Line
Although there is no guarantee that these foods will help you remember where you put your keys, these foods are consistent with a healthy eating pattern. 

An active lifestyle along with eating healthy can contribute to overall well-being and support good health.


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