10 Foods for Better Memory

by in Healthy Tips, January 31, 2011

blueberries
Forgot something? Try adding these 10 foods to your diet — all have been shown to help better your memory.

1) Green Tea
Several studies have found that drinking green tea helped improve cognitive function. This doesn’t mean more is better — go for one (or two) cups of tea at most per day.

2) Red Wine
Research has credited the antioxidant resveratrol found in red wine with slowing down the progression of dementia (age-related memory loss.) Subjects consume low-to-moderate amounts of red wine in studies, so aim for a maximum of one serving of alcohol per day for women and two per day for men.

3) Blueberries
Numerous studies have linked blueberries to improved memory and cognitive function. Studies on lab rats have shown that a certain plant compound found in blueberries called anthocyanins helps reverse some of the age-related memory loss.

4) Fortified Whole Grain Cereal
Fortified whole grain cereals contain folic acid, a B-vitamin that’s been linked in several studies to improved memory. Not sure if your cereal contains folic acid? Check the label. Other good sources: lentils, grapefruit, spinach and oatmeal.

5) Cruciferous Vegetables
The antioxidants found in cruciferous veggies like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and collard greens helped women in a 25-year study conducted at Harvard Medical School to retain memory function.

6) Coffee
Research has shown that a cup of joe helps you think more clearly. Stick to plain, brewed coffee with 1-percent or nonfat milk and forgo the fancy, high-calorie varieties.

7) Salmon
Omega-3 fats found in fatty fish like salmon and tuna have been found to directly affect memory. A study conducted at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago found that folks who ate the fish at least once a week had a 10 percent slower decline in memory than those without salmon in their diet.

8) Gum
A study conducted at Northwestern University found that gum chewing resulted in increased blood flow to the brain and improved cognitive performance.

9) Chocolate
As if we needed another excuse to eat chocolate, research shows that the flavanols found in cocoa also increase the blood flow to the brain and improve cognitive function. Stick to one ounce of dark chocolate at most per day (the dark varieties have more flavanols.)

10) Turmeric
Add some spice to your life! A study found that folks who reported consuming turmeric from occasionally to very often performed better on memory tests. Turmeric gives curry powder its yellow color and contains inflammation-fighting antioxidants. It tastes great in these chicken lettuce cups.

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. See Toby’s full bio »

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