Worried about declining memory and brain health? Feed your brain memory food to help improve your cognition.
You exercise your body and your mind with regular workouts and challenges like sudoku and crossword puzzles. You learn memory tips and tricks to improve recall, and teach your brain new things all in an effort to boost mental fitness. But don’t forget what your brain really needs to help keep memory strong — memory food.
Memory Boost: How Food Supports Your Brain
Your entire body needs the right nutrients to keep it healthy, and your brain is no exception. Your brain benefits from a variety of nutrients, including fats, proteins, vitamins, and sugars, to help keep it sharp, offer protection against cell damage, and help it function properly. What’s more, the right foods also can provide the perfect fuel to improve memory.
Here are the nutrients that can give your brain a memory boost:
- Unsaturated fatty acids. These healthy fats can help reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease, and are found in foods like olive and sesame oil, avocados, peanuts, walnuts, and pecans.
- Omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids also help protect your brain from dementia and improve your memory. They’re found in fatty fish that swim in cold water, like trout, mackerel, and salmon.
- Brightly colored fruits. Give yourself a memory boost with dark berries that help keep blood vessels in the brain clear and protect brain cells from damage. Eat fruits like blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries. Blueberries and similar foods have been shown to actually reverse age-related memory shortfalls in humans and animals. Oranges, cherries, plums, and red grapes are also great memory food.
- Leafy and colorful vegetables. Vegetables also protect the brain from damage and deteriorating memory, so eat lots of bright greens in the form of broccoli, spinach, kale, sprouts, bell peppers, and asparagus. Eggplant, corn, and even onions are also good memory food veggies.
- Essential vitamins. Vitamin E, C, B12, and folic acid are belong in a brain-healthy diet to improve memory. A diet rich in a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, as well as legumes (like beans), can provide you with plenty of vitamins for a good memory boost. But you may also want to consider taking a supplement to make sure you get all of the vitamins you need.
- Glucose. Your body needs glucose for energy, and studies have shown that a little bit of natural sugar can help boost memory and cognitive function — just don’t feast on high-fat cakes or processed foods, which can slow down the energy glucose offers your brain.
- Whole grains. Eat whole-wheat breads, pastas, and brown rice to give your brain energy to improve memory and also maintain heart health.
Since unhealthy fats and cholesterol can clog your brain, slow it down, and affect your memory, keep foods containing them to a minimum.
Feeding your brain fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats can keep your mind sharp and your memory strong.
By Diana Rodriguez
Medically reviewed by Pat F. Bass III, MD, MPH