Believe it or not, experts have found that a person’s diet can impact their memory. This means that what we choose to eat could help or potentially weaken our memory. Eating well (also known as nourishment) is one of the five holistic areas of brain health and there is even research that suggests our diet can impact our risk of dementia. So what foods should we eat to improve our memory? The most commonly cited diet to help with memory is a Mediterranean diet, which incorporates a lot of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, fish, and healthier substitutes for butter.
The Mediterranean Diet and Memory
A Mediterranean diet is rich in vegetables, fish, and whole grains, along with daily servings of nuts and olive oil, which research suggests can help fend off age-related cognitive decline (source). Below is a list of what those following this diet would consume on a regular basis:
Veggies and fruits. I know you’ve heard this your whole life, but fresh fruits and veggies are essential brain foods. Getting adequate vegetables, especially ones like broccoli, cabbage, and dark, leafy greens, may help improve memory.
Add more whole grains. Switch to whole-grain bread and cereal, and begin to eat more whole-grain rice and pasta products.
Eat more nuts. Nuts and seeds are good sources of fiber, protein, and healthy fats. Nuts are high in fat (approximately 80% of their calories come from fat), but most of the fat is not saturated.
Eat more fish. Essential fatty acids cannot be made by the body which means they must be obtained through what we eat. The most effective omega-3 fats occur naturally in oily fish. Good plant sources include linseed (flaxseed), soy beans, pumpkin seeds, and walnuts.
Swap out butter. Instead of butter, substitute it with healthier options like olive oil or canola oil, as well as margarine.
The Mediterranean diet is a source of heart and brain healthy foods. While adding more of the items above, this diet also includes reducing your overall intake of red meat. This is where you can substitute fish, as well as chicken, or turkey. Also, limit your consumption of high-fat dairy products and high-fat foods in general.
Adjust your diet today and improve your memory tomorrow!