Brain and memory-boosting foods

If you have poor memory and concentration, it’s not just age: it’s also lack of sleep, stress, lifestyle and genetics. And food habits also play a crucial role.

Nourishing the brain by providing it with adequate blood supply and the nutrients necessary for the delicate neural pathways is as important as nourishing the body. There are a number of studies that connect brain health with the food we eat: the most effective foods that boost memory are also the most important ingredients in the Mediterranean diet, and in particular those rich in nutrients that promote a good functioning of gray matter.


Broccoli and cabbage

savoy cabbage memory
Eating Savoy cabbage, broccoli and Brussels sprouts when they’re in season, helps boosting memory © Getty Images


Cruciferous vegetables are effective in boosting memory and verbal memory because they’re high in vitamin C, which keeps blood vessels flexible, and folic acid (a substance of which spinach is rich). Like other group B vitamins, the latter reduces the levels of homocysteine in the blood, a substance linked to a higher risk of cognitive deficits and Alzheimer’s disease.


Whole cereals

whole cereals memory
Whole cereals prevent the odds of developing the Alzehimer’s disease © Ingimage

Not only do whole cereals supply energy to our gray cells in the form of glucose, they also contain vitamin B1, which is necessary to produce acetylcholine, a substance that stores new information, and vitamin E. The latter is a powerful antioxidant that, along with vitamin B12 could help improve the copper metabolism and reduce the odds of developing the Alzheimer’s disease. For vegetarians: vitamin B12 is mostly found in animal-derived products and is also found in supplement form.


Blueberries, mulberries and black currant

blueberries memory
Blueberries stimulate short-term memory © Getty Images


They contain anthocyanin, antioxidant substances that keep blood vessels flexible and enhance blood flow circulation towards the brain. Blueberries, according to recent scientific research, would be particularly effective in boosting short-term memory.



tomatoes memory
Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, a substance that is able to optimise brain functions © Getty Images


Their secret is lycopene, an anti-cancer and antioxidant substance that optimises brain functions. To better benefit from their properties prepare a sauce: by cooking tomatoes you can completely absorb this substance.


Walnuts and fish

walnuts fish memory
The omega-3 fatty acids are fundamental for our nervous system’s health © Ingimage


These two ingredients have the omega-3 fatty acids in common, which are fundamental to make our nervous system healthy. And particularly DHA, the fatty acid we have in our brain that helps boost healthy young adults’ memory. It is found in algae and oily fish such as salmon and sardines. Walnuts – it’s no surprise their shape is similar to that of the two cerebral hemispheres – are high in omega-3 and omega-6, as well as vitamin E and B: add a fistful of chopped up walnuts in a salad and you will benefit from their healthy properties.


Pumpkin seeds

pumkin seeds memory
Pumpkin seeds are good and boost memory and thinking ability © Ingimage


A cocktail of omega-3 and 6, vitamin A and E and mostly zinc, which plays a crucial role in boosting memory and thinking ability.


Green tea

green tea memory
Fresh leaves of Japanese green tea © Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Probably thanks to the polyphenols it contains, according to international research, it has neuroprotective and anti-cancer properties. Two or more cups a day would half the incident rate of cognitive problems in people over 70.


Dark chocolate (at least 60%)

chocolate memory
Dark chocolate is healthy for your brain © Ingimage


Since chocolate is rich in flavonols, including it in a well-balanced diet can tackle the cognitive decline, improve brain functions, make the thinking process faster and improve short-term and long-term memory.



eggs memory
Eggs are another food that you can’t do without if you want your brain to stay young © Getty Images


They contain choline, a substance that builds the neuron’s cell membranes to transmit nerve impulses. The yolk is rich in vitamin E and by eating eggs you absorb more antioxidants.



water memory
Drink enough water, even at school: drinking little water reduces memory and attention © Getty Images


You need to drink at least one litre a day. Old people use to drink too little water. This reduces memory, reaction time, arithmetical efficiency and slows down the cognitive process.

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