It is greatly overlooked how much the foods we eat on a daily basis affects our cognitive function. Living a healthy lifestyle, like improving nutrition and engaging in an active lifestyle, can increase our cognitive function and keep our brains active and functioning properly. Some group B Vitamins, such as folic acid, cyanocobalamine and pyridoxine, as well as antioxidants like vitamin C, E, and Beta Carotene are essential for correct brain function (Requejo, 2003). Likewise, being deficient in these nutrients and having a diet high in saturated fatty acids and cholesterol, has been shown to intensify cognitive decline.
Furthermore, Omega-3 fatty acids, specifically DHA, has been shown to help the brain function properly and efficiently. Studies have shown that long-term consumption of adequate DHA is linked to improved memory, improved learning ability and reduced rates of cognitive decline (Wolfram, 2017).
So what can we eat to boost memory?
Not only do they taste delicious but they are high in the nutrients that are essential for healthy cognitive function. Avocados contain vitamin K and folate, as well as Vitamin B and Vitamin C. As stated above, these key nutrients are crucial in keeping he brain functioning normally. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps get rid of free radicals, while folate helps prevent blood clots.
It is widely known that blueberries are high in antioxidants, like vitamin C and Vitamin K. As we know, these vitamins fight blood clots and free radicals. Similarly other dark berries, like blackberries and cherries have similar beneficial properties to boost memory function.
Fish such as salmon, Bluefin tuna and sardines, are high in omega-3 fatty acids and DHA. As previously stated, a diet with adequate DHA levels can help improve memory and improve cognitive function. If you are vegetarian or vegan, you can consume Omega-3 fatty acids by eating algae, ground flax seeds, walnuts or chia seeds. Our bodies will naturally convert the Omega-3 fatty acids to DHA to support our brain.
Many vegetables, especially cruciferous veggies, like broccoli, cabbage and dark leafy greens, help improve memory. They contain high amounts of antioxidants, vitamin K and anti-inflammatory properties to help keep your brain working efficiently.
Requejo, A. M., Ortega, R. M., Robles, F., Navia, B., Faci, M., & Aparicio, A. (2003). Influence of nutrition on cognitive function in a group of elderly, independently living people. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 57(S1). doi:10.1038/sj.ejcn.1601816
Wolfram, T. (n.d.). Brain Health and Fish. Retrieved April 03, 2018, from https://www.eatright.org/health/wellness/healthy-aging/brain-health-and-fish