Our memories shape who we are, and having a sharp and reliable memory is a gift we all cherish. As we get older, age-related changes can affect our memory.
The answer is yes. There is a relationship between diet and memory. Foods like fatty fish, blueberries, turmeric, and broccoli, among others, can help improve memory.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
When it comes to memory-boosting foods, omega-3 fatty acids take center stage. These incredible healthy fats help support brain health and enhance cognitive function.
Incorporating fatty fish like salmon, trout, tuna, herring, and sardines into your diet can provide you with a rich source of omega-3s. Flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts are excellent plant-based sources of these beneficial fatty acids.
Berries are tasty treats but also pack a powerful punch with numerous health benefits for the brain. Berries have antioxidants, vitamins, and flavonoids that offer protection against oxidative stress and inflammation, which can negatively impact brain health.
Blueberries, in particular, deliver plant compounds with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Some antioxidants in blueberries accumulate in the brain and help improve communication between brain cells.
Turmeric is a yellow spice that contains the active ingredient curcumin. This ingredient can cross the blood-brain barrier and is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound with the following benefits:
- Improved memory in Alzheimer’s disease patients
- Eases depression
- Help new brain cells grow
Brocolli contains powerful plant compounds, is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, and is high in vitamin K. These components give broccoli the following benefits:
- Improved memory and cognitive status
- Protect the brain against damage
Kale, similar to broccoli, contains glucosinolates, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals and is thus considered a superfood.
Pumpkin seeds are antioxidants that protect the brain against free radical damage. They’re also an excellent source of magnesium, iron, zinc, and copper and have the following benefits:
- Zinc: Plays a role in nerve signaling. Neurological conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease, depression, and Parkinson’s disease, have been linked to zinc deficiency.
- Magnesium: This is necessary for learning and memory. Neurological diseases, including migraine, depression, and epilepsy, have been linked to low magnesium.
- Copper: Helps control nerve signals. Low levels of copper can increase your risk of Alzheimer’s.
- Iron: Symptoms of iron deficiency can include brain fog and impaired brain function.
Dark chocolate, made of 70% or higher cocoa, contains flavonoids, caffeine, and antioxidants, which are brain-boosting compounds. Flavonoids are antioxidants that enhance memory and help slow down age-related mental decline.
Nuts contain several nutrients, such as healthy fats, antioxidants, and vitamin E, that can lower the risk of cognitive decline in older adults, lead to sharper memory, and protect against free-radical damage. Walnuts, in particular, contain anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids.
Vitamin C helps to prevent mental decline and protect against conditions such as major depressive disorder, anxiety, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer’s disease. You can get all the vitamin C you need in one medium orange daily.
High levels of vitamin C can improve focus, memory, attention, and decision speed in tasks. Other sources high in vitamin C include bell peppers, guava, kiwi, tomatoes, and strawberries.
Eggs contain vitamins B6 and B12, folate, and choline, all nutrients linked to brain health. Choline has links to better memory and mental function.
B vitamins help slow the progression of mental decline in older adults. Folate can help minimize age-related cognitive degeneration. And vitamin B12 is involved in synthesizing brain chemicals and regulating sugar levels in the brain.
Whole grains are a good source of vitamin E, an antioxidant that supports brain health. Incorporate these into your diet by swapping refined pasta and white rice with whole grain alternatives like:
- Brown rice
- Bulgur wheat
- Whole-grain bread
- Whole-grain pasta
Avocados are healthy unsaturated fats that support the brain. These fats can lower your risk of cognitive decline. Other sources of unsaturated fats include:
- Almonds, cashews, and peanuts
- Flaxseed and chia seeds
- Soybean, sunflower, and canola oils
- Walnuts and brazil nuts
Distinctive Dining at Fox Trail Memory Care
Nourishing your mind is just as important as your body. No food can instantly transform your memory. However, incorporating memory-boosting foods into your diet can make a meaningful difference.
Contact Fox Trail Memory Care in Park Ridge to learn how we can benefit a loved one with memory problems, or schedule a tour of our community to see our services and how our meal plans made from healthy fresh ingredients can support a loved one’s health and well-being.