Food and Memory

Can good nutrition improve one’s memory?  I know my mother used to think so.  As my siblings and I prepared for exams in high school, my mother used to plant a large bowl of pistachios on the table as a study aid.  It improved our memory she said.

Since I have been forgetting a lot of things lately, I began doing some sresearch on the issue of memory, and what affects it.  I’ve discovered that a lot of factors affect one’s memory, nutrition, stress, cluttering one’s mind with too many facts, allergies, thyroid disorder, and sometimes, boredom.

Age does not necessarily make one’s memory deteriorate, although many people, including my husband, use age as an excuse.  But a good and proper diet as well as both physical and mental exercise, will keep a good memory active until the waning years of one’s life.

Although my mother had no scientific basis for it, she was right about nuts and memory.  A diet that is high in nuts, green vegetables and low in fat and refined sugar maintains good memory.

The fat in a high fat diet gets oxidized which can produce free radicals that damage our brain as well as the whole body.  Thus, eating raw vegetables helps prevent free radicals from forming and, in their own way, invariably help the memory.  As well, the chemicals in nuts, seeds, and legumes strenghen the neurotransmitters, which is the wiring that transmits information in one’s brain and thus improve our memory.

Oily fish, such as salmon, sardines, mackerel, which are high in Omega-3 fatty acids, also build stronger neurotransmitters.

These guidelines are the basis for an all around healthy diet, whether or not you are trying to improve your memory.

Her is a salad recipe that will help your memory and your taste.

Mixed Salad with Pistachios :

serves 4-6

2     cups chopped red cabbage

2     scallions, chopped

4     leaves Romaine lettuce, chopped

1     cup chopped parsley

1/2  cup pistachios

1/2  cup dried cranberries

1/2  cup pomegranate seeds

1/2   cup pomegranate juice

2      tablespoons lemon juice

zest of one lemon

1/4  cup olive oil

salt to taste

-Toss the vegetbles with the cranberries, the pistachios, and the pomegranate seeds.

-Whisk the pomegranate juice with the lemon juice, the lemon zest, the olive oil and the salt.  Pour over the vegetables and toss gently.

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