Improving your memory is about making sure to use your brain, and the foods you eat can go a long way in helping your brain work its best for you. There are many different foods out there that can boost your cognitive ability, and just as many foods (and beverages) that you should avoid if you want to stay sharp for years to come.
Over the last decade, the ability for DHA, a protein that is found in fish along with other omega-3 fatty acids, to improve memory and overall brain health has been proven with astounding results. One of the best sources of DHA is fish. Whether you choose salmon, mackerel, tuna or others, please be aware that many fish contain unsafe levels of mercury, a poison that interferes with brain function. Sardines and rainbow trout are also great sources, but these should be checked before consuming as they often have a high salt content.
Other Brain Foods
Aside from omega-3 fatty acids, it is important to consume foods that contain antioxidants and Vitamin E. (See a detailed list here.) Foods that are high in magnesium can also help when it comes to memory loss both now and in the future. Some great choices include blueberries, apples, bananas, avocados, eggs, flaxseed, flaxseed oil, dark green vegetables and more. In fact, these foods should make up the majority of your diet along with whole grains, plenty of water, and tasty treats in moderation.
Avoid Fast Food
While it may seem silly to consider the correlation between fast food and your brain, one certainly exists. Fast food is incredibly high in salt, saturated fats and calories; this combination can lead to coronary artery disease – and quickly, at that. When the arteries become clogged due to the overconsumption of fats, the heart cannot pump as much blood throughout the body. This means that your brain has a decreased oxygen supply, cells start to die, and memory loss becomes a serious issue.
Stay Away from Soda
Most everyone enjoys a soda now and then, but there are far too many of us who choose a sugary soda (or even its diet counterpart) over the healthier beverages that we should be consuming. For the brain to work optimally, it needs a steady stream of glucose, or sugar. When you consume soda after soda, your brain is overwhelmed with refined sugar and cannot function correctly. Similarly, when the sugar is all processed in the body, you might experience what is known as a sugar ‘crash’. Diet sodas do not contain sugar, but the artificial sweeteners in them have been linked to memory loss in various studies.
Eat Whole Eggs
A great addition to your diet is choline, a substance that is found in high concentration in eggs and beef liver. Eggs are the better choice because they contain healthier fats than beef, and the amount of choline they contain is enough to produce a noticeable difference. Being high in cholesterol, whole eggs should be consumed in moderation. Five to six eggs per week is considered a moderate, healthy amount that can provide you with enough choline to boost both your short-term and long-term memory.
Try Dark Chocolate for a Quick Boost
Believe it or not, if you’re feeling particularly forgetful at any time, chocolate may be able to provide you with a quick memory boost. Of course, milk chocolate is packed with sugar and fat so it is best that you stick with dark chocolate. Dark chocolate varieties that contain at least 80% cacao contain antioxidants and other substances that go to work in the body immediately to help boost brain performance. In fact, studies have proven that college students who consumed a regular-sized chocolate bar prior to taking an exam scored better than their peers who did not consume chocolate prior to testing.
Improving your memory is about much more than the foods you eat; it is also about the ones you choose to avoid. There are many unhealthy food choices out there that can actually have a serious impact on your brain, but the good news is that with a few simple lifestyle changes and the incorporation of healthy foods into the diet, these effects can be reduced.
This is an article written for The Best Brain Possible by Pete Galigher.