I have fond memories of sitting at the bench seat in my grandparent’s farm house, preparing organic vegetables from the garden for meals and then, upon completion, sharing a pot of tea with honey, along with a couple of biscuits, with my grandmother.
My patient and highly-informed grandmother shared stories about the world, her days as a French-English translator for one of the executives at Ford, the importance of healthy eating and even economics. My lengthy discussions with my visionary grandmother shaped my view of life and helped me to become the person I am today.
It turns out; our tea breaks may have also been beneficial to help both of us maintain healthy memory and brain health. Considering my grandmother was as sharp as a tack until her death at an old age, it seems the tea certainly helped.
For those of you trying to restore brain health and memory, in particular, tea is just one of the many great foods/beverages that can help. Here are my top picks for foods to eat if you have dementia, Alzheimer’s or brain disease
Perhaps the old adage was right: an apple a day keeps the doctor away. According to research published in the American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias scientists found that people with moderate to severe Alzheimer’s who drank a half-cup of apple juice two times daily had significant improvement in anxiety and delusion. Enjoying an apple or two on a daily basis is also a great way to protect your brain.
Research published in The American Journal of Public Health found that tea-totalling can reduce the risk of dementia by more than 50 percent.
Black tea, like its counterparts green and white tea, has significant amounts of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds called catechins, which makes them a great choice for a healthy brain.
These natural phytochemicals have shown great promise as brain protectors, so enjoy your afternoon tea break and maybe start the day out with a cup as well.
Blueberries contain a group of plant nutrients called flavonoids that protect both the watery and fatty parts of the brain against free radical damage. The brain is about 60 percent fat so it’s equally important to protect both parts, which few foods do.
Blueberries contain high levels of brain-protecting proanthocyanidins. Enjoy blueberries on your morning oatmeal or other cereal, atop yogurt, or fresh or lightly-thawed frozen blueberries as a delicious snack or dessert.
Coffee is increasingly linked to a reduced risk of dementia thanks to its naturally-occurring antioxidant compounds that protect brain cells from free radical damage.
Flaxseeds and flaxseed oil
It’s important to supply your brain with enough healthy fats for it to properly work. Rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, flaxseeds and flaxseed oil are a great addition to a brain-healing diet. Add a tablespoon or two to smoothies or shakes, or atop morning oats. Add flax oil to vegetable dishes after they have been cooked and served or incorporate the oil into salad dressings.
A study published in the journal Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications found that the compound shogaol, found in ginger root, helped to prevent memory impairment in animals. Given ginger’s proven anti-inflammatory activity and the inflammation link to dementia and brain disease, it seems highly likely that the same results will be found with humans.
Enjoy a cup of ginger tea with a touch of honey or a little of the naturally-sweet herb, stevia. Additionally, add freshly grated ginger to soups, stir-fries, vegetables or other dishes to pack extra brain health into your meals.
Packed with brain-healing resveratrol, purple or red grapes are a great addition to your diet. Grapes produce resveratrol as a first line of defence against stress, injury and infection. Once we eat these flavour-bursting fruits, we reap their healing effects. Enjoy them on their own or as a natural sweetener for shakes and smoothies.
In a study published in the medical journal Psychopharmacology, researchers found that people who drank green tea each day experienced improved cognition and memory. The scientists believe that this research holds promise for healthy individuals, as well as the treatment of cognitive impairments in psychiatric disorders like dementia.
These flavour-packed fruits contain a potent natural compound known as fisetin; the phytonutrient shows promise in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease, according to research in the Journals of Gerontology. The researchers were building on their earlier research in which they showed that fisetin reduced memory loss in animals with Alzheimer’s disease. Add fresh or frozen strawberries to smoothies, shakes, juices or top crepes, waffles or toast with fresh strawberries. Alternatively, eat them on their own as a delicious snack or in place of a dessert.
Research in the medical journal Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine found that curcumin; one of the active ingredients in turmeric was even effective in the treatment of brain diseases like Parkinson’s disease.
Research in the Journal of Nutrition found that walnuts contain natural polyphenolic compounds that act as antioxidants to destroy free radicals that could otherwise have a damaging effect on the brain. These same polyphenolic compounds reduce brain inflammation; improve signals between brain cells, and increase the generation of brain and nerve cells. Snack on a handful daily, top your favourite salads with them, or add them after you’ve finished cooking your favourite stir-fry.