As we grow older, inevitably our minds change. Synapses don’t fire like they once did and you may find that you’re unable to recall information as sharply as you used to. Some are tempted to turn to some miracle pill or supplement to help keep their minds sharp. However, the solution to a better memory could be as simple as altering your diet! There are a variety of delicious anti-aging foods that improve memory, some of which you may already be eating. By incorporating more of these brain-healthy foods into your diet, you could see significant improvement in the way your mind works. In the words of Hippocrates, “Let food be thy medicine and thy medicine be food.”
How Can Food Help Boost Brain Power?
Foods that are rich in antioxidants, good fats, vitamins, and minerals provide energy and can aid in warding off brain diseases. Antioxidants help keep our bodies and brains free of toxins, while healthy fats and vitamins actually help boost our cognitive ability. When we eat healthy, whole, and nutrient dense foods, we’re actually benefiting our minds and bodies at the same time. By supplying your brain with foods that improve memory, you can significantly decrease the negative cognitive effects of aging.
12 Foods that Improve Memory
While there are many foods that improve memory in some respect, these are the best types of foods to incorporate regularly into your diet to improve memory.
This delicious fruit is quickly gaining near superfood status. Its creamy insides are packed full of healthy fats as well as essential vitamins and minerals. The vitamin K and folate found in avocados help encourage good blood flow to the brain and protect against clots. In addition, they also benefit cognition, improving memory and concentration. Avocados are also good sources of vitamins B and C. Lastly, they have the highest protein and lowest sugar of any fruit! Whether you like to add it to a salad, throw it on a sandwich, or spread it artfully over toast, avocados are one of the best foods that improve memory.
Whether because of their odd shape, dirty skin, or bruised color, many people seem to avoid beets at all costs. However, these root vegetables are high in cancer-fighting antioxidants and are natural inflammation reducers. The nitrates found in beets help boost blood flow to the brain, aiding in performance and concentration. Beets help prove that even some of the ugliest vegetables are too good for you to pass up.
Much more palatable than the aforementioned beet, blueberries are well known for being one of the best antioxidant foods around. They’re high in vitamins C and K, fiber, and their high levels of gallic acid help protect the brain from degeneration and stress.
There’s a reason every parent tells their kids to eat their broccoli. High levels of vitamin K and folate help keep your memory sharp. Broccoli is a wonderful source of vitamin C, too! In fact, just one cup of broccoli provides 150% the daily recommended amount of vitamin C.
Coconut oil is all the rage these days and for good reason. It’s another source of healthy saturated fat. It also works as an anti-inflammatory and can also help prevent memory loss. When a recipe calls for olive oil or butter, try replacing it 1:1 with coconut oil instead! It’s higher smoke point actually makes it the better oil to use for high heat cooking, as it won’t burn as quickly as some other oils will.
Don’t worry, not all brain foods need to be fruits or vegetables. Dark chocolate is full of flavonols, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It can also help lower blood pressure and improve blood flow to the brain, giving you a mental boost. However, not all dark chocolates are created equal. In general, opt for a minimally processed dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa or cacao. To learn more, check out our recent blog article about the benefits of chocolate.
The yolk of the egg isn’t as bad as it’s been made out to be in the past. Aside from carrying the bulk amount of protein in an egg, the yolk also has a high level of choline, which helps fetal brain development in pregnant women. It also breaks down bethane, a chemical that produces hormones related to happiness!
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Filled with powerful antioxidants known as polyphenols, EVOO can help not only improve both learning and memory but also fight against age- and disease-related changes in the brain. In addition, EVOO also helps ward off ADDLs, which are proteins that are toxic to the brain and can cause Alzheimer’s.
New research shows that eating plenty of leafy greens, including spinach, kale, swiss chard, and romaine, can help fight off dementia. Leafy greens are loaded with vitamins A and K, as well as many micronutrients to keep our bodies functioning properly. They are anti-inflammatory and help grow strong bones.
Seafood lovers, rejoice! Wild-caught salmon is one of the most nutritious foods that improve memory. It’s chock full of omega-3 fatty acids that keep our brains running strong and our memories sharp. Eating salmon before an important meeting or a big test can help keep you focused and productive.
In addition to boosting the immune system, turmeric boosts your brain’s oxygen intake. This helps keep you alert and able to process information. To learn more, check out this recent article on the benefits of turmeric and curcumin.
Did you know that munching on a healthy serving of walnuts can keep you from, well, going nuts? Walnuts have been shown to improve cognitive health. They have high levels of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that improve mental alertness. The vitamin E found in walnuts can also help ward off Alzheimer’s.
Consult an Anti-Aging Specialist
While incorporating these foods that improve memory into your diet can certainly help decrease the effects of aging, there’s much more you can do to help yourself look, feel, and live younger. A doctor specializing in anti-aging medicine can help you tailor your diet, exercise, and lifestyle to help you halt or possibly even reverse the effects of aging.
Lorraine Maita, MD is an award winning physician, speaker, and author of “Vibrance for Life: How to Live Younger and Healthier.” She can make you slim, sharp, sexy and supercharged. She is an expert in anti-aging medicine, bioidentical hormone replacement, weight loss, medical nutrition, supplements, and executive health. Dr. Maita was the medical director for 3 Fortune 100 companies and has a private practice specializing in Functional, Integrative, Personalized and Anti-Aging Medicine in Summit and Basking Ridge, NJ. She educates virtually at www.vibranceforlife.com. She is also an advisory team member for Change Your Attitude, Change Your Life on WOR Radio, the #1 talk radio station in the NY Metropolitan area. Get started on the path to being a healthier, younger you by scheduling your appointment today!