7 Foods Great For Your Brain & Memory
As we dive into the new year and resolve to make healthy changes in diet, there are a few foods everyone should consider adding to boost memory and brain function.
1. Fatty fish
Fatty fish like salmon, albacore tuna, trout, herring, and sardines are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. About 30% of the brain is composed of omega-3 fatty acids, which is used to build brain and nerve cells. These fats support learning, memory, slow age-related mental decline, and ward off depression. Research also suggests that eating fish regularly increases gray matter in the brain, which is a substance that contains nerve cells that control memory, decision making, and emotion.
The caffeine and antioxidants contained in coffee help support brain health. Caffeine also delivers the following benefits:
Increase alertness by blocking adenosine, a chemical messenger that causes drowsiness
Improve mood by boosting feel-good neurotransmitters like dopamine
Sharpen concentration by improving attention and alertness
Blueberries contain anthocyanins, which is a group of plant compounds with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Consuming blueberries helps reduce stress and inflammation, and improve communication between brain cells.
4. Pumpkin seeds
Pumpkin seeds are rich in magnesium iron, zinc, and copper. These nutrients support nerve signaling, learning, memory, and brain function.
5. Dark chocolate
Chocolate with at least 70% cocoa contains flavonoids, caffeine, and antioxidants. Flavonoids are used by areas of the brain responsible for learning and memory, helping slow age-related mental decline.
Chocolate is also an effective mood booster, increasing positive feelings.
Eating nuts helps improve heart-health markers, which is linked to a healthy brain. One study showed that regular consumption of nuts is related to a lower risk of cognitive decline in older adults. The antioxidants, vitamin E, and healthy fats in nuts may explain the health benefits for the brain.
Eggs are rich in vitamins B6 and B12, choline, and folate — nutrients tied to brain health. Choline is used to create a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine that helps regulate mood and memory. Research showed that higher intakes of choline is linked to better memory and mental function.
Folate and B12 help slow the progression of mental decline in adults with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.