These Two Supplements May Help Improve Your Memory, Science Says – Eat This, Not That
Not feeling as sharp as you would like? Sure, it might be time to start doing crossword puzzles and reading those books on your bedside table, but mental exercise isn’t the only lifestyle change that could make a difference. The foods you eat can also have an impact. Now new research suggests that supplementing your diet with more omega-3 fatty acids and carotenoids in combination can improve your working memory.
In the study published in the journal Clinical nutrition, the researchers gave the experimental group of 30 adults aged 65 or older a daily supplement of one gram of fish oil and 22 mg of carotenoids as well as 15 mg of vitamin E. These participants performed better with tasks of working memory than those who had not received the supplements, and performance was related to the concentration of omega-3 fatty acids and carotenoids in the body.
“I think carotenoids are the key,” said John M. Nolan, PhD, senior researcher at Nutrition Research Center Ireland. Eat this, not that! “We don’t get enough, even those of us who are healthy. They are essential for good health, and our bodies cannot make them.”
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On the flip side, he noted that as long as you think about your food choices, you should be able to get as much omega-3 fatty acids as your body needs through your diet.
Perhaps the recommendation to take these carotenoid supplements should be met with a bit of healthy skepticism.
Ngaire Hobbins, APD, President of the Tasmanian Division of the Australian Association on Gerontology and author of Brain Body Food – The Ultimate Guide to Thriving Later in Life and Lowering Your Risk of Dementia, underlines in an interview with Eat this, not that! that much of the study’s funding comes from a charitable trust that aims to help develop nutraceuticals, such as those studied here. Meaning: Recommendations are best taken with a grain of salt.
In fact, Hobbins recommends instead looking for foods high in omega-3 fatty acids and those containing “a wide range of antioxidants and associated phytochemicals.” [compounds from plants]. “
“If antioxidants, vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids or other selected food components are removed from the original food and consumed as supplements, the benefits offered by other beneficial components of the food of origin are potentially lost, ”she noted. “This is to say that it is very difficult to know how the benefits of supplements containing the extracted food components could compare to the benefits of eating the foods they were originally sourced from.”
For more on how your diet can affect your mind, be sure to check out the 30 Best and Worst Foods for Your Brain.