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HERE'S food for thought. Old wives may have been right about rosemary and peppermint improving your memory. It used to be said slipping rosemary into your spouse's pocket helped them remember and keep their wedding vows. Now scientists have found the herb's smell improved pensioners' memory test scores by 15%. Rosemary encourages the brain to release acetylcholine, which helps to keep focus and attention.

University of Northumbria researchers said that could save lives by reminding people to take their medication. They also found those who drank peppermint tea remembered more than those who drank water.

But these are just two of a range of brain food to aid memory.

SOYA MILK SOYA is rich in isoflavones, natural plant oestrogens. Researchers at Guy's Hospital in London believe this acts on oestrogen receptors in the brain, particularly those in the memory centre, the hippocampus.

This helps the nerves to make new links and can improve verbal and non-verbal memory, as well as mental flexibility.

Spinach MOST famous for giving Popeye his big muscles, spinach can also build your brain power and memory. It is packed with antioxidants that can block free radicals, toxins produced by the body which damage cells in the brain and heart. South Florida University scientists found rats that ate lots of spinach learned and remembered more.

WALNUTS A handful of walnuts each day improves your memory as they are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. They are also the only nut to contain brain-boosting alphalinolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid.

Studies at the UCLA School of Medicine in Los Angeles found adults who regularly ate them did better on six different cognitive tests.

BROCCOLI A MEDIUM stalk of broccoli contains more than your daily requirement of vitamin K, which studies claim can improve memory function. More importantly it could also prevent Alzheimer's disease by controlling the levels of calcium in the brain.

A study of pensioners living in care homes found those with Alzheimer's had less vitamin K in their diets.

RED WINE TOO much red wine can leave you with a black hole in your memories of the night before. But in moderation it is a good source of resveratrol, also found in the skin of red grapes, which stimulates the growth of neurons and improves performance in the hippocampus.

BLUEBERRIES A RICH source of anthocyanins, a type of flavonoid that gives them their dark blue colour. It also accumulates in those regions of the brain linked to memory. This can improve memory and prevent age-related memory loss. A study showed rats that ate blueberries retained more of their brain's memory centre.

A handful mixed into a bowl of cereal every day should do the trick.

SALMON THE fish is rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, including docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which is very important to coat the neurons in the brain, keeping them functioning properly and improving memory.

The human body cannot make DHA itself, so we need to absorb it from our diet. It is also in other oily fish such as mackerel and tuna.

SEAWEED A NEW and trendy brain food, seaweed is a good source of the fatty acid DHA, which improves memory and could help prevent conditions such as Alzheimer's. It is also rich in folic acid that improves verbal memory performance, and contains lignans - linked to better brain function in women after the menopause.

SUNFLOWER SEEDS THIS quick snack is a rich source of vitamin E - about 30g provides nearly 30% of your recommended daily dose. Vitamin E is one of the main antioxidants that can reduce age-related memory loss.

It can also counter beta-amyloid, a protein fragment that turns into brain plaques that can contribute to Alzheimer's.

AVOCADOS are almost as good for the brain as blueberries. They are rich in vitamin C and E, which can improve memory.

They also contain folates, which lower your blood pressure and improve blood to the brain, boosting memory and concentration. Make sure not to eat too many, though, as they are high in calories.

GREEN TEA SWITCHING from caffeine to green tea promises a wide range of health benefits, including weight loss, lower cholesterol and lower blood pressure. It can also improve memory as green tea is rich in polyphenols that prevent the loss of vital transmitters called neurons.

OILY SALAD DRESSINGS DON'T be put off by the idea that oils are unhealthy. These salad dressings have been a staple of most healthy Mediterranean diets for generations. They are rich in the antioxidant vitamin E, which protects neurons in the brain from dying and prevents memory loss. For extra vitamin E, add a handful of nuts or seeds as a garnish.

DARK CHOCOLATE THERE is nothing bitter about the health benefits of eating a little dark chocolate. It contains caffeine, which aids concentration, and is rich in antioxidants that cleanse your body of free radicals. As little as an ounce a day is enough to enjoy the benefits without piling on the pounds.

TOMATOES THESE are rich in the antioxidant lycopene, which stops free radicals damaging the brain. This can prevent age-related memory loss and improve attention span by keeping the brain in top condition.

This salad staple can also help patients who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia, and Parkinson's disease.

COCONUT OIL THIS is rich in fats called medium chain triglycerides, which break down into ketones, a great source of energy for our brain and our memory.

Studies show a teaspoon mixed into our meals could even lead to small improvements in the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, but the benefits are short-lived if you stop taking the oil.

COFFEE IT'S rich in caffeine, which improves memory by stimulating parts of the brain that regulate concentration. But keep it to no more than six cups a day.


Have a coffee at that business meeting, it stimulates areas of the brain that regulate concentration

Spinach is packed with antioxidants that can block free radicals and toxins

And the good news... Chocolate really is good for

you... but only the dark stuff
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:May 5, 2016
Next Article:HEALTH FLASH.

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