The 5 Best (and Worst) Foods for Memory
By Chris Brown
Keeping your memory sharp can mean better opportunities and a more fulfilling life. A main aspect affecting our brain's ability to remember are the foods and chemicals we put into our bodies. For those who want to supercharge their memories (and prevent degradation), there are a few foods to incorporate into, and remove from, their diets.
The Five Best Memory Foods
In general, eating anti-inflammatory foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids is the best way to improve the efficiency of your memory. Below are the five best to add to remember that fact.
- Fish rich in omega-3 - Regularly eating fish has been linked to an increase in memory-forming gray matter in the brain
- Coffee and high-caffeine tea - At least with short-term memory, caffeine was shown to boost participants' memory in a Johns Hopkins University study which required them to quickly memorize a set of images
- Walnuts - Walnuts' richness in alpha-linolenic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid) links it to improved cognition and memory according to a 2015 UCLA study
- Berries - Berries, particularly blueberries, improve brain cell communication which promotes long-term memory and recall
- Turmeric - This yellow spice, common in curry powders, helps to clear the amyloid brain plaques that impact working memory and are a trademark in Alzheimer's patients
The Five Worst Memory Foods
Inflammation and amyloid brain plaques are the main culprits behind many memory issues, especially as we age. Avoiding these five foods will keep your memory working well into your later years.
- Alcohol - Drinking over one or two drinks of alcohol daily leads to slowed nerve connections in the hippocampus, which prevent short-term memory formation and leads to long-term memory loss over time (as the hippocampus becomes increasingly damaged by alcohol toxicity)
- Microwaved popcorn - Diacetyl, a chemical common in microwaved popcorn, is responsible for building amyloid plaques in the brain that are a known cause of memory diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease
- Processed cheeses and meats - Processed animal products have high levels of saturated fats that clog blood vessels in the brain and cause inflammation which impairs memory
- Fried foods - The inflammatory and blood vessel injuring effects of fried foods are thought to be the cause behind reduced memory scores in those who regularly eat them
- Sugary foods and refined carbohydrates - What sugary foods and refined carbohydrates have in common is that they tend to spike blood sugar and insulin levels which produce brain (and memory) killing brain inflammation
Being cognizant of the foods you consume can pay dividends in memory improvements. In addition to these food choices, remember always to drink water, as a hydrated brain is a smart brain. And a smart brain has a strong memory.
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