Tuesday, 21 Apr 2015 03:28 PM By Charlotte Libov

A massive research effort is underway to find drugs that protect against dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, but until new treatments are found, there are steps you can take to protect your brain from the ravages of age, says a top cognitive specialist.“Eating nutrients that nourish the brain can help protect it against the damage that can come with aging, Gary Small, M.D., director of the UCLA Longevity Center, tells Newsmax Health.

One way to protect the brain is to guard against chronic inflammation, the type that occurs unseen within the body.

“Omega-3 fatty acids help combat inflammation and one food that is rich in them is walnuts,” said Dr. Small, author of the Mind Health Report. “Blueberries are also helpful because they are rich in antioxidants. Also, their sweet taste can help people cut down on refined sugar.”

Dr. Small, author of the new book, “2 Weeks to a Younger Brain,” adds that eating too much refined sugar can increase the risk of diabetes, which raises the risk of Alzheimer’s.

Eat these eight nutrients regularly to keep your brain in shape:

No. 1. Cocoa flavanols. These are found in dark chocolate and have been linked to improved circulation and heart health. Preliminary research shows a possible connection to memory improvement by helping a specific part of the brain called the dentate gyrus, which is associated with age-related memory

No. 2. Omega-3 fatty acids.
These healthy fats in fish, nuts, and other foods have long been shown to contribute to heart health, but they also play a role in brain function, scientists say. A study on mice found that omega-3 fatty acids result in better object recognition, spatial, and memories that can be consciously recalled (such as facts and knowledge). Foods rich in omega-3s include salmon, flaxseed oil, and chia seeds.

No. 3. Phosphatidylserine and phosphatidic acid. Two pilot studies showed that a combination of these supplements can benefit memory, mood, and cognitive function in the elderly.

No. 4. Walnuts. A study last year found that a diet supplemented with walnuts reduce the risk, delay the onset, and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease in mice.

No. 5. Citicoline. This natural substance found in the body’s cells helps in the development of brain tissue. It regulates memory and cognitive function, enhances communication between neurons, and protects neural structures from free radical damage. Clinical trials have shown citicoline supplements may help maintain normal cognitive function with aging and protect the brain from free radical damage.

No. 6. Choline. Commonly found in eggs, choline helps with the communication systems for cells. Choline may also support the brain during aging and help prevent changes in brain chemistry that result in cognitive decline and failure.

No. 7. Magnesium. Supplements and foods containing this essential mineral are often recommended for those who experience concussions. Magnesium-rich foods include avocado, soybeans, bananas, and dark chocolate.

No. 8. Blueberries. These colorful berries are known to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties because they boast a high concentration of health-promoting anthocyanins. Moderate blueberry consumption could offer neurocognitive benefits such as increased neural signaling in the brain centers, researchers say.