HomeFood & Nutrition15 Best Foods to Improve Your Memory and Brain Function

15 Best Foods to Improve Your Memory and Brain Function

A healthy brain is just as important as a healthy body. When your brain is healthy, you’re able to think faster, better organized, stay focused, and much more. That’s why, it is important to keep your brain fit and healthy.

Just like our body, our brain needs some important nutrients to function properly. Here we bring you a list of foods that will keep your memory sharp and help your brain to function at its full capacity.

1. Fatty fish

Fatty fish like salmon and tuna are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are very essential for the proper development and function of the brain. They play a role in sharpening memory and improving mood, as well as protecting your brain against decline.

According to a research conducted at the University of Pittsburgh, young adults ages 18 to 25 who increased their omega-3 intake for six months performed better on their working memory test [1].

Omega-3s are not produced by the body and must be obtained from food or supplements. Learn more about omega-3 fatty acids.

2. Almonds

Like fatty fish, almonds are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids. They are also rich in antioxidants, including vitamin E.

Antioxidants support healthy brain cell communication through the neurotransmitter and increase blood circulation, especially throughout the vast network of small blood vessels of the brain, allowing you to improve cognitive function and boost your memory.

3. Avocados

Avocados contain high amounts of monounsaturated fats, a type of good fat that helps promote healthy blood flow to the brain, which keeps your brain functioning at its peak. Avocados are also a good source of vitamin E, which protect the body and brain from free radical damage.

4. Egg yolks

Egg yolks are rich in choline, an important micronutrient that your body uses to create acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate memory and mood.

Adequate intake of choline is 550 mg per day for men and 425 mg per day for women. A 100-gram serving of cooked egg yolk contains 654 mg of choline [2].

Egg yolk also contain vitamin B12, which is essential for proper brain and nerve development.

5. Broccoli

Broccoli is rich in vitamin K, which is known to improve brain power and cognitive skills.

A few studies in older adults have linked a higher vitamin K intake to better cognitive performance [3, 4].

Broccoli is also high in vitamin C, B vitamins, calcium, iron, and fiber. These nutrients protect against free radicals, keep steady blood flowing, and remove heavy metals that can damage the brain.

6. Green tea

Green tea is a top-notch brain health drink due to two compounds found exclusively in green tea – EGCG and L-theanine.

The EGCG in green tea works synergistically with caffeine and L-theanine to improve memory, attention, and learning.

Studies in traditionally tea drinking countries, like China and Japan, found that seniors who regularly drank green tea scored better on attention, memory, and information processing than those who don’t.

EGCG also increases brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that stimulates new brain cell production and protects the brain from neurodegenerative diseases [5].

7. Walnuts

Not only does a walnut look like a brain but eating walnuts can really improve your brain health.

Walnuts are great sources of omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin E, and folate, which have been shown to improve mental alertness and brain power.

One study on adults in the U.S. found that eating walnuts improved reaction time, learning, and memory recall [6].

8. Whole grains

Whole grains contain complex carbohydrates that support normal brain function. The complex carbs provide energy that regulates mood and behavior as well as aid in learning and memory.

Whole grains are also rich in fiber and many of the B vitamins that reduce inflammation of the brain, potentially preserving your memory.

9. Apples

Apples are a leading source of quercetin, an antioxidant plant chemical that helps protect your brain cells.

According to researchers at Cornell University, quercetin defends your brain cells from free radical attacks, which can damage the outer lining of delicate neurons and eventually lead to cognitive decline.

To get the most out of your apples, be sure to eat them with their skins on since that’s where you’ll find most of their quercetin.

10. Blueberries

Blueberries are one of the most antioxidant-rich foods containing vitamin C, vitamin K and gallic acid. Researchers found that a diet that includes blueberries significantly improves learning capacity and memory function in older adults [7].

Blueberries are perhaps the best brain food of all because they increase the potential of neuron signals, protect the brain against oxidative stress, and reduce the effect of age-related memory conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

11. Grapes

Regular consumption of grapes has been shown to improve concentration, memory and spatial recall. The polyphenols present in them also aid in preventing dementia and Alzheimer’s as well.

12. Dark chocolate

The flavonoids in chocolate may help protect the brain. Studies have suggested that eating chocolate could boost both memory and mood [8]. However, not all chocolate will do, you need to buy a good quality dark chocolate that has more than 60 percent of cocoa.

13. Eggplant

Many studies suggest that nasunin, an anthocyanin found in the eggplant skin, is a powerful antioxidant that protects brain cell membranes from free radical damage.

One research has also shown that anthocyanins help prevent neuroinflammation and facilitate blood flow to the brain [9]. This could help improve memory and prevent age-related mental disorders.

14. Olive oil

Olive oil has long been linked to many health benefits, including improved cognitive function.

In a 2011 study, extra virgin olive oil was found to improve learning and memory in mice. Researchers think the benefits were due to polyphenols in the oil [10].

The oil also helps fight against amyloid beta-derived diffusible ligands (ADDLs), proteins that are toxic to the brain and induce Alzheimer’s.

15. Pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin seeds are rich in many micronutrients that are important for brain function, including copper, magnesium and zinc.

Magnesium is essential for brain connections that facilitate learning, memory, and attention; copper helps control nerve signals; and zinc is crucial for improving memory and overall brain function.

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