Feeling Forgetful? Top 10 Foods To Improve Your Memory

Written by Lisa Guy, N.D.

We tend to view forgetfulness as a normal part of the aging process, but there are ways to slow down time's effects on your mind. Below are 10 foods and supplements that can help kick your memory into gear — you may even remember where you put your favorite pair of socks!

1. Oily fish

Salmon, sardines, and other oily fish are rich in DHA (docosahexaenoicacid), a type of omega-3 fatty acid that's essential for optimum brain performance and memory. These healthy brain fats keep the lining of brain cells flexible so memory messages can pass easily between cells. Eating fish three times a week and taking a high-quality fish oil supplement will help enhance your memory.

2. Coconut oil

Coconut oil is the perfect brain fuel, as it is abundant in medium-chain fatty acids, which are a fabulous energy source for the brain. Consuming coconut oil will help improve the functioning of the brain and can help boost memory. Buy cold-pressed organic coconut oil and take around 20 milliliters daily; you can add it to smoothies or mix it into yogurt. Coconut oil is also a healthy oil to use for cooking, as it won’t turn to a harmful trans fat at high temperatures.

3. Eggs

Eating eggs regularly can help improve your memory. Eggs are one of the best sources of choline, which is an important nutrient used to produce acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved in memory. Choline is found in the myelin sheath, which insulates nerve fibers throughout the brain to facilitate rapid transmission of electrical impulses.

4. Walnuts

Snacking on walnuts can help boost your memory. Walnuts are thought of as brain food, not only because they’re shaped like a brain, but because they’re an excellent source of alpha-linolenic acid, a type of omega-3 fat that the body uses to make DHA. Walnuts also contain an antioxidant called ellagic acid, which helps protect the brain from free radical damage.

5. Brahmi

Brahmi (Bacopa monniera) is an important herb in Ayurvedic medicine renowned for being a powerful brain tonic. Brahmi has a reputation for helping improve circulation of the brain and enhancing both short and long-term memory. Brahmi is also an adaptogenic herb, which helps the body cope more effectively with stress. Memory can be negatively affected when you’re stressed.

6. Green tea

The Chinese have long believed that drinking green tea is good for your memory. Researchers have subsequently discovered that green tea naturally contains high levels of the chemical EGCG (epigallocatechin-3 gallate), which is a potent antioxidant. EGCG is beneficial for combating age-related degenerative illnesses and can improve cognitive function and memory, according to research published in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research. Enjoying around three cups of organic green tea daily is an excellent way to give your memory a boost.

7. Ginkgo

Known as the "brain herb," gingko is commonly used by herbalists for its ability to enhance memory, because it improves blood circulation to the brain by dilating blood vessels and reducing the stickiness of the blood. Ginkgo also appears to increase energy production within the brain by increasing brain cells' glucose uptake and improving the transmission of nerve signals.

8. Rosemary

The essential oil in rosemary is often used in aromatherapy to boost mental performance and memory. Rosemary may also help improve memory by relieving anxiety and lowering cortisol levels. Try adding rosemary essential oil to massage oils, creams, or oil burners, or cook with the fresh herb.

9. L-tyrosine 

L-tyrosine is an amino acid that the brain uses to produce dopamine, the brain chemical responsible for mental alertness and memory. L-tyrosine is found in many protein-rich foods, like chicken, turkey, fish, almonds, yogurt, cheese, and pumpkin seeds.

10. Berries

Here’s a simple and delicious way to improve your memory: Eat more berries! According to a paper published recently in Annals of Neurology, women who consume large amounts of berries have a slower rate of age-related memory loss. Berries have high levels of magic ingredients called anthocyanidins and flavanoids, which are each associated with lower rates of cognitive decline. You don’t need to eat a truckload of berries to enjoy the benefits. Apparently, positive effects were seen in women who ate just ½ cup of blueberries or one cup of strawberries a week.

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