Certain foods can have amazing effects on the brain, including the parts responsible for your memory (the amygdala, hippocampus, cerebellum and prefrontal cortex)1
. But what are they and how do they work?
How food can support your memory
It’s all down to vitamins, antioxidants and amino acids2
, which regulate the flow of blood and ward off toxins. Not only can they help your memory in the short-term, these nutrients can benefit you in later life too. Let’s take a look...
7 memory-supporting foods to add to your diet
Studies show that walnuts have high amounts of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). ALA is an Omega-3 fatty acid which has been directly linked to brain health. As a result, researchers now believe that eating a handful of walnuts a day can slow or prevent the progression of Alzheimer’s disease3
Along with its many nutrients and antioxidants, broccoli is full of vitamin K – known to enhance cognitive function4
. It’s also high in glucosinolates, sulphur-containing compounds which can slow the breakdown of acetylcholine – the neurotransmitter responsible for keeping your memory fresh5
. Broccoli is low in calories so feel free to pile it on.
Experts at Harvard University recommend eating fish twice a week, and it’s not hard to see why6
. Oily fish like canned tuna and salmon are full of healthy fats and those all-important Omega-3 fatty acids. One of these is DHA, which can lower the risk of age-related memory loss conditions7
Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory that’s high in antioxidants, along with the compound curcumin. Curcumin is another natural ingredient that may help to slow the progression Alzheimer’s by removing harmful amyloid plaque buildup. Prevention aside, research has also found that turmeric may boost memory8
. The amount you’ll need for cooking will never push your RDA too high but be careful if you’re taking turmeric supplements.
5. Dark chocolate
You may think dark chocolate is an unusual food to recommend, but actually it’s high in fibre and antioxidants. A 2018 study from Loma Linda University in California even says that eating it can raise the brain frequency gamma9
. What does that mean? Well, gamma waves are responsible for our brain’s most complicated processes, including memory recall. Remember, dark chocolate is still a treat and should fall within your RDA.
Spinach is associated with brawn, but there’s plenty of evidence to suggest the leafy green vegetable can be good for your memory too. As well as being high in vitamin K10
, research shows the antioxidants in spinach can ward off free radicals – toxins that contribute to Alzheimer’s and decreased brain function in later life11
. A cupful a day is a good measure for your RDA.
Preserving your memory isn’t just vitamin K’s job; vitamin C plays a vital role, too. Where can you find high levels of vitamin C? Oranges, of course. Like many foods on this list, oranges are essential for fighting off the free radicals mentioned earlier12
. Oranges can prevent mental decline in the future, so aim for one or two daily.
Don’t forget, our supplements range
is filled with vitamin tablets that are specifically tailored to maintain normal brain and cognitive function
Last updated: 29 April 2020