Erica Korpi
Special to the Bonanza

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February 14, 2013
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Tahoe health: Make these 10 smart foods part of your diet

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. - Have you ever walked into a room and forgot why you are there? This happened to me the other day, to which a peer exclaimed, "you are too young for this to be happening!"

We had a laugh about it but later I started thinking about memory; short and long term and how it declines over time. I found myself researching preventative methods and learned about a brain fitness program that includes methods ranging from meditation and visualization to proper sleep and massage.

What was most surprising, however, was discovering what a vital role diets play in our memory functions. In this week's article, I want to share with you the top ten organic foods that keep the brain "in shape."

By making these smart foods part of your daily diet, your overall brain health will increase well into later years.

FISH: Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines and herring, are rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids. Getting omega-3's from fish at least twice a week not only protects the brain but stabilizes mood and fights off depression.

BLUEBERRIES: Blueberries protect the brain from oxidative stress. Studies have shown that they significantly improved the learning capacity and motor skills.

AVOCADOS: Avocados are right up there with blueberries for promoting brain health. They contain monounsaturated fat, which contributes to healthy blood flow and can lower your blood pressure.

CITRUS: Fruits and colorful vegetables are high on the list of brain foods because of their antioxidant properties can protect the brain from the free radical damage.

NUTS AND SEEDS: Both are excellent sources of vitamin E which promotes healthy blood vessels. Simply adding an ounce of walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and flax seeds into your diet daily is really easy!

BEANS: Beans (and peas) give you lots of fiber and protein, and they're also a rich dietary source of B-complex vitamins. These anti-stress vitamins are important for a healthy nervous system. Our brain has a need for fuel, so beans provide a steady stream of energy for the day, consume at least half a cup a day.

COFFEE AND TEA: Caffeinated coffee or freshly brewed black tea in moderation can enhance memory, focus and mood. Tea, especially green and white varieties have high levels of antioxidants known as catechins, which promotes healthy blood flow.

DARK CHOCOLATE: I love that this one made the list! Polyphenols in dark chocolate have powerful antioxidant properties which enhance mental capacities and also stimulate the production of endorphins to help improve your mood.

SPICES AND HERBS: Herbs and spices help protect the brain cells from the wear and tear of aging. Some of the more potent ones include black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, oregano, basil, rosemary, turmeric, parsley, ginger and vanilla.

WHOLE GRAINS: Which we should already be including into our diets, is also a great source for brain health!

Whenever possible, try to purchase organic or biodynamic food for yourself and family.

Until next time ... have a healthy and positive week!

- Erica Korpi is Director of Stillwater Spa at the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe. She can be reached at

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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Feb 14, 2013 12:40PM Published Feb 14, 2013 12:39PM Copyright 2013 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.