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Foods high in compounds such as antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids can improve brain health and memory, experts say.
From fruit to fish, here are six things that, based on various studies, may perk up your gray matter.
WalnutsSlide 2 of 13
They even look like little brains, so maybe that's Mother Nature's way of telling us what walnuts are good for.
Indeed, a 2009 study in the Journal of Nutrition found that diets in which nuts made up as little as 2 percent reversed signs of aging in the brains of old rats, including the ability of the brain to function and process information.
And a study presented in 2010 at the International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease reported that mice with Alzheimer's demonstrated improved learning, memory and motor coordination after being fed walnuts.
Walnuts contain high amounts of antioxidants, which some researchers say may combat the damage to brain cells' DNA caused by free radicals in our bodies.Slide 3 of 13
CarrotsSlide 4 of 13
Carrots have long been known to be good for the eyes and it turns out, they're good for the brain, too.
Carrots have high levels of a compound called luteolin , which could reduce age-related memory deficits and inflammation in the brain, according to a study published in 2010 in the journal Nutrition. In the study, mice whose daily diet was supplemented with 20 milligrams of luteolin had reduced inflammation in their brains. The researchers said the compound also restored the mice's memory to the level of younger mice's.
Olive oil, peppers and celery are also high in luteolin.Slide 5 of 13
BerriesSlide 6 of 13
Adding some vitamin-rich berries to your diet may not be a bad idea if you want to improve your memory, according to several studies.
One study, published in 2010 in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, found that after 12 weeks of daily supplements of wild blueberry juice, nine older adults who had started to experience slight memory problems showed better learning and recall abilities than a similar group of adults who didn't take the supplements. The blueberry group also showed reduced symptoms of depression.
And in a 2009 report in the Journal of Nutrition, researchers said they examined a group of studies that showed fruits such as blueberries and strawberries, which are high in antioxidants, can decrease a type of stress in cells associated with aging and increase the signaling capabilities in brains. In one of the studies, researchers placed 6-month-old rats on a diet supplemented with blueberry and strawberry extracts (totaling 2 percent of their diet) for nine months. These rats had better spatial and memory skills than rats not given the supplements.Slide 7 of 13
FishSlide 8 of 13