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Almonds for Brain Health (Plus My Favorite Ways to Eat Them)

brain healthy foods healthy living Jul 26, 2022
Which foods improve memory

Answering the question, "which foods improve memory" is one of my favorite topics. 

After all these years treating memory impairments and working in dementia care, I knew there had to be more we could do to optimize our memory and cognitive health as we age.

So, I went digging and the research was astounding! It all starts with our nutrition.

Now, I’m not saying there is a magic food for memory boost. Rather, it’s a pattern of eating and all the small daily habits that work together to feed disease or fight it.

And routinely incorporating the right foods can have a major impact on your cognition now and disease risk later.

One of those foods is nuts. Read on to discover more about the best nuts for brain health!

Are nuts good for memory?

Nuts are rich in antioxidants, which protect against free radical damage. Free radicals are molecules that cause cellular damage and contribute to aging and disease risk – including disease like Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

Nuts have been used as food since ancient times. But did you know they also help improve memory, focus and concentration?

Choose brain healthy almonds.

While other nut options such as walnuts and hazelnuts contain similar amounts of protein and fiber, almonds offer a unique combination of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals that make them an excellent choice for improving brain health and reducing your risk of Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

Are almonds good for your memory?

Not only have almonds been proven to improve memory, focus and concentration but they also reduce inflammation and disease risk.

A study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that eating just one ounce of almonds daily improved cognitive function by 12% compared to those who didn't eat any nuts.

Another study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people with Alzheimer's Disease had lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood than healthy older adults. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients that play a role in maintaining brain health.

Why are almonds good for your brain?

Almonds are high in vitamin E, which has been linked to improved cognitive functioning. They also contain magnesium, which helps maintain normal blood pressure levels.

They're high in fiber.

Almonds are one of the few foods that provide both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and helps lower cholesterol, while insoluble fiber passes through the digestive system without being broken down. Both types of fiber help keep your gut healthy and happy which helps fuel clear thinking.

They contain vitamin E.

Vitamin E is an antioxidant that protects cells against damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that cause cell damage when they interact with other molecules inside the body. Antioxidants neutralize these free radicals before they do any harm.

They help lower cholesterol.

Almonds contain vitamin E, which helps protect the brain from oxidative stress. Oxidative stress occurs when there is too much oxygen in the blood. This excess oxygen damages the brain tissue, causing Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

They protect against dementia.

Almonds also contain magnesium, which has been linked to improved cognitive functioning. Magnesium plays an essential role in maintaining normal nerve cell activity and is necessary for proper muscle contraction. It is also involved in the production of energy within cells.

Do almonds really boost brain power?

Almonds are moderately rich in lean protein. Protein not only gives you a boost of energy but also helps repair brain cells thereby improving cognitive functions such as memory.

Almonds are one of the few foods that contain both protein and fiber. They are also rich in vitamin E, B vitamins, potassium, iron, zinc, copper, manganese, phosphorus, and selenium.

Advice for buying almonds

In modern times, a lot of natural foods (like nuts) have been modified or processed in a way that strips them of their nutrients.

To get most effective memory enhancing and disease fighting bang for your buck, aim to add raw (like these) or dry roasted almonds to your diet.

Many packaged almonds in the store contain inflammatory oils and additives. Going organic, raw and/or dry roasted ensures that you’re staying away from any unwanted ingredients.

Also, be sure to watch for added salt.

Money Saving Tip

Buying quality nuts can get pricey. I save money on almonds by buying in bulk at stores like Sprouts, where you can scoop the quantity you want right from the barrel, or at wholesale stores like Costco.

Natural almonds can be stored for two years or more when their freshness and shelf-life is maximized by placing them in the refrigerator or freezer – which gives you plenty of time to use the nuts you buy in bulk before they go rancid.

My Favorite Ways to Eat Almonds

Keep it simple!

Almonds are so versatile. You can:

  • Grab a handful and pair with fresh fruit for a balanced snack.
  • Toss slivered or crushed almonds on top of salads, fish, rice dishes or pasta.
  • Add to smoothies.
  • Add crunch to your morning oats.

My personal favorite ways to eat almonds are by grabbing a handful and pairing with berries or raisins as a snack (even more satisfying when you add these chocolate chips to the mix) or by adding a dollop of this almond butter to my oatmeal.

If you enjoyed this article, check out this post on 3 Reasons to Eat Blueberries Every day!

*This post may contain affiliate links.

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Meet your memory health coach

Francine Waskavitz, owner and lead coach at Longevity Coaching, LLC. is a memory health expert dedicated to helping you get your memory back, strengthen it and keep it healthy for a lifetime.

Her mission is to empower you to take early action to support your brain health so you can thrive in the life you’ve worked so hard to create, without memory loss interrupting your plans.

Francine has her Bachelor of Arts in Communication Sciences and Disorders and her Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) from the University of South Florida. She also attended the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) where she became an Integrative Health and Nutrition Coach.

Leveraging her expertise in memory from her 10 years as an SLP with her passion for health and wellness, Francine is dismantling the myth that memory loss is inevitable with age. 

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