Where Did I Leave My Keys?

How Cell Memory Works

Where Did I Leave My Keys?

Do you ever wish it were easier to simply remember a person’s name? Or, maybe you just wish you could recall where you left your keys. Or, wouldn’t it be fun to rack up a few points at trivia night? Good news – healthy foods can help improve all of that!

Did you know that, in addition to being a function of your mind, memory is also a function of your body? According to a recent MIT study, it’s possible that memories are stored in brain cells themselves.1 These cells can stimulate groups of neurons in order to recall a memory, and the neurons then form new synapses. The more complex the process is, the greater the length of time we can retain that memory. Memories might also be stored outside of the brain in cells located throughout the rest of our bodies.2

The body stores all types of “memories”, some of them simple and others highly complex. Many of them are critical to our survival. Consider this quote from ScienceDaily:

“The cells in our bodies can divide as often as once every 24 hours, creating a new, identical copy. DNA binding proteins called transcription factors are required for maintaining cell identity. They ensure that daughter cells have the same function as their mother cell, so that for example muscle cells can contract or pancreatic cells can produce insulin.” 3

This process occurs all over the body for different purposes. For example, how does your body “know” how to fight disease? Cells within the immune system called memory T cells can “learn” and “remember” how to fight an infection.4 This important communication process within T cells occurs through proteins and other chemicals passing from cell to cell.5

So, your mind and body are constantly working to keep your memory primed to help you remember where you left your keys, as well as how to stay healthy. By simply choosing healthy foods, you can help boost your ability to remember all things, the big ones and the small ones.

Here are a few memory-fueling foods. And the good news is they taste great, too!

6 Foods That Aid Recall and Support the Immune System

Foods that contain Vitamin E. Vitamin E is an antioxidant found in olive oil, avocados, sunflower seeds, peanuts, and almonds. Vitamin E seems to be more effective in food form rather than as a supplement, and it may help protect the neurons in the brain.6 It also boosts the immune system to fight off viruses and is vital to communication between cells.

Fish. Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish support the healthy functioning of the neurons in the brain.

Leafy greens. Broccoli, spinach, and kale help to break down an amino acid called homocysteine. High levels of homocysteine are thought to trigger the death of nerve cells in the brain.7 Broccoli is also high in Vitamins A and C, which are useful for fighting off the flu. And spinach is “loaded with Lutein, Folate, and Beta-Carotene…nutrients [that] have been linked with preventing dementia.”8 Serve up a simple spinach salad tonight, and sprinkle it with an olive oil-based dressing and sunflower seeds. It’s an easy and tasty summertime side! Pair it with a piece of broiled salmon, and you have an ideal memory-boosting meal.

Garlic. It not only helps fight infections, but garlic also lowers blood pressure. Bonus: you will keep the vampires at bay!

Berries. Blueberries, strawberries, and aḉai berries, “help get rid of toxic proteins that are associated with age-related memory loss.”9 Blueberries are also thought to be a memory booster.

Whole grains. High blood pressure reduces blood flow to the brain. Oatmeal, along with other whole grains and seeds, is connected to a heart-healthy diet and lower blood pressure. Here are a few great morning oatmeal recipes. For a power breakfast, sprinkle a few of those memory-boosting blueberries on your oatmeal!

And, of course, exercise is always a good idea. Exercise specifically increases blood flow to the brain and keeps those nutrients flowing throughout the body.

Want More?

Healthy foods, healthy minds, healthy cells. If the idea of cell memory has stirred up your appetite for more information, here are some links where you can feed your curiosity:

Do you have any suggestions for keeping your mind and your immune system in tip-top shape? Connect with us on Facebook and share. We’d love to hear from you.

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References:
1. Retrieved from https://www.extremetech.com/extreme/123485-mit-discovers-the-location-of-memories-individual-neurons
2. Retrieved from https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/could-memory-traces-exist-in-cell-bodies/
Karolinska Institutet. “Cell memory mechanism discovered.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 August 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130815161545.htm>.
3. Retrieved from http://www.tcells.org/scientific/memory/
4. Retrieved from https://www.livescience.com/32798-how-are-memories-stored-in-the-brain.html
5. Retrieved from http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20434658,00.html#oil-based-salad-dressings
6. Retrieved from http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20434658,00.html#dark-green-leafy-vegetables-0
7. Retrieved from http://www.health.com/food/10-foods-that-boost-concentration
8. Retrieved from http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20434658,00.html#berries-12