Many chronic diseases, including heart disease, cancer and obesity, have been linked to inflammation, part of the body’s immune response. Out-of-control inflammation can damage the brain’s nerve cells, affecting memory and thinking skills. To help quell inflammation, switch from refined carbs, sugar-sweetened beverages, fried foods and processed meats to fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats and proteins. These six foods are rich in anti-inflammatory compounds.
Bromelain, an enzyme found only in pineapples, keeps blood platelets from sticking together and forming clots. These clots can break off from artery walls and interrupt blood flow to the brain. Pineapples are also rich in folate (aka vitamin B9), which may help make you more alert and better able to focus.
2. Purple potatoes
Purple potatoes have more antioxidant power than their white and yellow cousins. The pigments that give them their color, called anthocyanins, may improve memory and prevent age-related muddled thinking, studies show. Purple potatoes also contain high levels of folate.
Cucumbers provide a substantial amount of potassium, which helps brain cells communicate with each other. Low potassium levels have been associated with mood problems and depression, a British Journal of Nutrition article notes, and a diet high in the mineral helps relieve symptoms.
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Raisins are a top food source of boron, a brain-boosting mineral. Boron improves mental alertness, short-term memory and focus, and eye-hand coordination and dexterity, says Forrest Nielsen, retired research nutritionist at the Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center in North Dakota.
5. Pumpkin seeds
Pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc, a mineral vital for memory and thinking skills. They’re also packed with magnesium, which fights inflammation and helps create brain cells. This snack food also contains a wide variety of antioxidants and a hefty amount of tryptophan, an amino acid that the body converts to the good-mood chemical serotonin.
Artichokes are a good source of vitamin K, which plays a key role in episodic memory, the ability to remember things such as where you left your keys. Vitamin K also helps to speed communication between brain cells, research suggests.
Learn more about foods that fight inflammation
This content is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide any expert, professional or specialty advice or recommendations. Readers are urged to consult with their medical providers for all questions.