We’re having a national senior moment.
Baby boomers, those born between 1946 and 1964, are a demographic time bomb. Making up nearly one-third of the population, they’ve reached the age of memory loss, slowed reflexes, and synaptic glitches. That’s 75 million boomers who can’t remember what they went upstairs for.
And kids, you’re not off the hook either.
Brains peak in size around age 20 and then they start the long downhill slide. From that point on they shrink about 2.5% every decade, losing neurons all along the way. Men’s brains shrink a little faster than women’s brains, but since alcohol does more damage to the female brain, women who drink can easily catch up.
The good news is that brain foods really work.
In the same way that a low cholesterol diet can keep plaque from forming in arteries, there are foods that can keep plaque from forming in your brain. You can unclog your cognitive functions just like you can unclog your arteries.
There are also foods that can sharpen your focus and concentration, enhance your memory, and speed your reaction times. Add them to your diet early enough and you can stave off cognitive decline later in life.
Here are five foods that can make a real difference. If you’re one of those baby boomers, maybe you should write them down.
Nothing preserves cognitive ability like wild salmon. That’s right, wild— not just any salmon will do. Farmed salmon doesn’t develop the same quality or level of essential fatty acids that make wild salmon the ultimate brain food.
In the same way that the wild variety of salmon is the high-test variety, matcha is souped-up green tea. Matcha is a type of Japanese green tea that is ground into a powder; instead of drinking an extract like you do when tea leaves are brewed, with matcha you down the whole thing dissolved into the water or milk. The brain buzz of focus and clarity is exponentially greater, and immediately noticeable. And the Kermit-green shade? That’s how it’s supposed to look.
The brain boost from caffeine or sugar is short-lived but real. They both can make you alert and focused. Too much sugar, though, can actually interfere with your memory.
The acai berry is this year’s pomegranate; the ‘it’ fruit that is showing up everywhere, blended into smoothies and dressings, flavoring teas, juices, and sodas. Oddly, for a fruit, its nutritional profile resembles that of fish, high in protein and the essential fatty acids our brains desire.
The newest brain food discovery is turmeric. Turmeric is a mildly-flavored, deep yellow spice that’s always found in curry powder, and is often used as a less costly alternative to saffron. It’s such a powerful brain plaque-remover that it’s being tested as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.