Diet and its connection to memory have not been narrowed down to an exact science, but it’s no secret that what you put into your body determines how it runs. Specific foods each come with their own vitamins, nutrients, and chemical compounds that help the body and brain develop in different ways. To keep the brain active, it’s important to stimulate the different pieces of it.
According to dietician and health writer Kerri-Ann Jennings and Harvard Health, a list of foods and drinks that can help fight memory loss include:
- Fatty Fish: “Fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been linked to…better vascular health,” says Harvard Health. Omega-3s build brain and nerve cells essential to learning and memory Jennings says. Fish like salmon, trout and sardines all help replenish the 60% of the brain that is made up of fat.
- Coffee: While coffee and its benefits are speculated by many, it can have positive effects on memory. Along with the many antioxidants coffee provides, Jennings says that the caffeine in coffee provides increased alertness, improved mood and sharpened concentration.
- Nuts: In a sort of ripple effect, Jennings says that eating nuts can improve hart health which then improves brain health. Nuts include several nutrients, antioxidants and Vitamin E which all improve body function. Paired with nuts, Harvard Health says fruits, vegetables and whole grains improve the health of blood vessels and reduce the risk of a memory-damaging stroke.
- Dark Chocolate: According to Jennings, dark chocolate and cocoa powder are rich in antioxidants, caffeine and flavonoids. Flavonoids are a group of plant compounds that gather in areas of the brain associated with learning and memory.
- Eggs: Eggs provide the body and brain with a good source of Vitamins B6 and B12 as well as folate and choline. However, Harvard Health does not suggest eating more than 4 eggs per week.
- Green Tea: Similar to coffee, Jennings says the caffeine in green tea boosts alertness, performance, memory and focus. On top of that, green tea is filled with L-theanine, an amino acid that helps you feel relaxed without feeling tired.
Just like there are foods that help prevent memory loss, an alzheimers.net article by Jennifer Wegerer says there are many foods in the American diet that can actually induce memory loss.
- Processed Cheese: Foods like American cheese, mozzarella sticks, Cheez Whiz and Laughing Cow can build up proteins in the body that have been associated with Alzheimer’s.
- Processed Meats: Smoked meats such as bacon, turkey, and ham from the deli counter contain nitrosamines, which cause the liver to produce fats that are toxic to the brain.
- White foods: Certain food, including pasta, cakes, white sugar, white rice, and white bread cause a spike in insulin production and sends toxins to the brain.