The 8 Best Foods to Improve Memory and Cognitive Function

Many people want to fight fatigue, boost performance at work, enhance their memory, and sharpen their minds. After all, intelligence, charisma, and ability to focus are key traits of top-performers in many desirable fields, not to mention the benefits of such characteristics in your personal life.

If you’re feeling sluggish in the middle of the afternoon, not performing as well as you’d like in school or work, or just want to get an edge in your cognitive function, combine healthy habits such as regular exercise, ample quality sleep, and regularly challenging your mind with cognitive activities with these brain-healthy foods.

Foods That Improve Memory

foods to imrove memory

  • Broccoli for Vitamin K – Broccoli boasts 2,000 mcg of Vitamin K in every serving, plus sulforaphane, which can help to protect the brain against damage from injury.
  • Oily fish – Fish rich in omega-3 and other fatty acids are known for both their positive effects on blood cholesterol and brain health. Omega-3 fatty acids occur in fish as EHA and DHA, a common ingredient in baby formula. Maintaining healthy DHA levels is essential for cognitive health; low levels of DHA have been associated with Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss.
  • Avocados for Vitamin K and folate – Avocados get a bad rap for their fat content, but they hold many benefits for the brain. Containing both Vitamin K and folate, avocados help to boost memory and concentration and can protect against stroke by helping to prevent blood clots in the brain.
  • Berries for anthocyanins and antioxidants – Berries are among the top superfoods thanks to their antioxidant content, which helps to prevent damage from free radicals throughout the body, but help with stress levels and memory function.
  • Whole grains with low glycemic index – You can’t focus without a consistent, adequate source of energy. After all, your brain requires energy to manage the many complex functions of your body throughout the day (and even while you sleep). The best way to fuel your body is through low-glycemic index foods, as they release glucose slowly and steadily into your bloodstream for more consistent, lasting energy and mental alertness.
  • Dark, leafy greens for B vitaminsB vitamins include Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, folate, and others, all known for their contributions to the body’s energy levels – both physically and cognitively. While there are a variety of foods containing the valuable B vitamins, dark, leafy greens are one of the best sources of Vitamin B6, which can also help the body ward off heart disease and cancer. Other foods rich in B vitamins include cantaloupe, beans, eggs and dairy, and fortified cereals, among others.
  • Pumpkin seeds for zinc – Getting your recommended daily intake of zinc can help you fight off colds and viruses, plus it’s also known for memory-enhancing benefits. Just a handful of pumpkin seeds daily will help you reach your daily intake goal for zinc.
  • Nuts for Vitamin E – Vitamin E is one of several nutrients found to have positive effects on memory in the elderly, who are at greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or dementia or suffering from general cognitive decline associated with aging. Otherwise-healthy adults should aim for 15mg of Vitamin E intake each day, which you can get from foods like nuts, olive oil, sunflower seeds, and avocados.

Of course, food alone isn’t fully responsible for how well your brain functions. Intentional nutritional changes can certainly help, but these dietary habits should be combined with other brain-enhancing activities such as problem-solving activities, taking courses, and anything that stimulates your mind, as well as regular physical activity to maximize the benefits of brain health throughout your life.

Image via Pixabay by andreas_eatbetter

by Jennifer McGregor

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