How to improve your memory through diet

Blueberries have been shown to improve cognition in rats—but what about in people?

Transcript

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

For example, 11 years ago, blueberries gained notoriety for their ability to improve memory—among elderly rats. Now it’s always difficult to extrapolate between species, but I told people it might translate over, and not just work in rats, but work for their pet hamsters, too.

But we finally, this year, have human data. The first human trial to assess the potential benefit of blueberry supplementation on neurocognitive function. What do you think they found? Blueberries improve memory in humans. Is this fact? Or is this fiction?

Let’s look at the study. Blueberries improve memory in humans! Fact.

And it turns out the healthful properties may survive processing into products like blueberry jam. But best to store it in the fridge—even before it’s opened.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Sources

Acknowledgements

Image thanks to Wally Hartshorn via flickr

Topics

  • animal studies
  • anthocyanins
  • berries
  • blueberries
  • brain health
  • cognition
  • memory
  • processed foods
  • View Transcript
  • Sources Cited
  • Acknowledgements
  • Topics

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

For example, 11 years ago, blueberries gained notoriety for their ability to improve memory—among elderly rats. Now it’s always difficult to extrapolate between species, but I told people it might translate over, and not just work in rats, but work for their pet hamsters, too.

But we finally, this year, have human data. The first human trial to assess the potential benefit of blueberry supplementation on neurocognitive function. What do you think they found? Blueberries improve memory in humans. Is this fact? Or is this fiction?

Let’s look at the study. Blueberries improve memory in humans! Fact.

And it turns out the healthful properties may survive processing into products like blueberry jam. But best to store it in the fridge—even before it’s opened.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image thanks to Wally Hartshorn via flickr

  • animal studies
  • anthocyanins
  • berries
  • blueberries
  • brain health
  • cognition
  • memory
  • processed foods
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Do you need some help with memory improvement? This site has lots of free advice, techniques, and tools for improving your memory. Even hundreds of free online brain games!

A great place to start is my Get a Better Memory page. It provides you an introduction to the best memory techniques as well as ways to improve the health of your brain.

A powerful memory can help you succeed in school, in your job, and in life. It helps you learn faster, and fast learners are always in demand. And they make more money.

If you’re willing to make a few lifestyle changes and learn powerful memory techniques, you really can improve your memory. My goal is to explain every strategy that can help.

Not only can you learn memorization techniques on this site, but you’ll also learn how to improve your memory through diet, exercise, sleep, meditation, and other ways. Plus, I’ll point out other tools and resources along the way that you may find helpful.

Be sure to stay up-to-date with changes and additions to this site by subscribing to my Memory Tips blog. I’m continually adding new information and resources to help give you a more powerful brain.

Fix Your Brain & Learn Memory Tricks

How to improve your memory through diet

Memory improvement can be achieved in two ways: 1) by improving the health of your brain, and 2) using memory skills. These are easier to do than you might think, but you have to make the effort.

This website provides you with lots of strategies, advice, and tools that can help you get a better memory.

There is no single road to improving your memory. That means it’s important to include many different brain enhancing habits in your daily routine.

Memory improvement shouldn’t be a burden, but it does require a little time and effort on your part. Of course, I would argue that a more powerful brain is well worth the effort!

Here are just a few of the great memory improvement tips concepts explained on this site:

Brain Games Training. Keeping your memory sharp can be fun. There are over 200 free online brain games on this site you can play anytime. No registering, no loggin in. Just go to the game page and start playing.

These games improve memory, attention, concentration, and more. I’ve even added a free version of Dual N-Back, the only brain game proven to raise IQ!

Memory Techniques. The Memory Systems, a group of memory techniques based on visualization, is the real miracle that most people have never heard of.

A quick example: To memorize that “Atlanta” is the capital of Georgia, imagine an ant landing on George Washington’s head. “Ant Land On + George” = Atlanta, Georgia!

These visualization methods can be used to memorize lists, vocabulary, reading material, people’s names, math formulas, or any other type of information.

Proven Study Methods. Memory techniques are only part of the learning puzzle. To learn even faster and remember more, use the best study skills. These proven methods help students of all ages remember better.

Maybe It’s a Sleep Problem. It’s amazing how poor sleep can hurt your memory. If you have trouble sleeping at night or simply are not getting enough hours of sleep, it could be causing your memory problems. Check out the Sleep and Memory page for great tips on getting more sleep and better sleep.

Fish Oil – The New Memory Fix. Do you or someone you know have problems concentrating? An Omega-3 deficiency sometimes causes this problem, because modern diets often don’t provide enough of this nutrient.

In one study in Britain, school children with poor concentration and memory who received Fish Oil vitamins showed a big improvement in behavior and school performance. Read more about the many benefits of fish oil supplements.

Grow New Brain Cells. Amazingly, it is possible to grow new brain cells (neurons) in the memory center of your brain. According to research, intense aerobic exercise (such as running, biking, etc.) stimulates the growth of cells in the brain’s hippocampus.

As you can see from the partial list above, there are many different ways you can begin to build a stronger memory.

Want to see more?

Click the blue buttons along the left side of this page, or go straight to my Get a Better Memory page for a detailed list of memory improvement tips steps.

You don’t have to be satisfied with a poor memory. Don’t accept that you can’t remember things.

Instead, do something about it! Become that fast learner who enjoys all the success.

It’s my goal to help as many people as possible improve their memory. So if you like my Memory Improvement Tips website, please let others know through Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and other social networks.

Thanks for spreading the word!

Douglas Jobes
Author, Memory-Improvement-Tips.com

Published: 2/10/2007
Last Updated: 06/19/2021

Boost your memory by including super foods in your daily diet, along with brain exercises.

Lifestyle changes for better health include exercise and a balanced diet. Consider this thought: We exercise our bodies in gymnasiums, or at home to help us stay sharp; however, we don’t always consider that our brain cells diminish over time. Brain cells naturally degenerate as we age, yet we generally don’t give our brain the attention and workout it needs until a medical diagnosis or noticeable forgetfulness occurs. We can help our brains through diet as well as exercise.

Just as nutrients are necessary to keep our bodies tuned up, the same is true for our brain. After all, the body and mind is a whole unit. Brain cells need to be stimulated to become, and remain sharp through the life span. Nutrients are necessary to prevent cell damage to the brain and can help improve memory, in addition to exercising and implementing a variety of brain games.

Michigan State University Extension recommends including these nutrients in your diet daily to boost your memory :

  • Egg yolks – The yolk of an egg contains chlorine; rich in vitamin B (in order to keep cholesterol levels down, eat egg yolks in moderation).
  • Glucose – Fiber helps glucose absorb into the body. You need glucose to supply your body (and brain) with energy.
  • Folic acid – Contained in kale, greens, spinach and arugula.
  • Whole grains – Bran, quinoa, oatmeal and brown rice.
  • Berries – Blueberries, blackberries, raisins and cranberries.
  • Beets – Cooked, fresh or juiced.
  • Rosemary – Have a test coming up? Sharpens your senses, excellent for concentration.
  • Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) – Fish rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, recommended to be ate three times a week.
  • Colorful vegetables – Broccoli, eggplant, peas, asparagus, bell peppers (of any color).
  • Vitamins E, C and B12 – From nuts and seeds.

While you’re doing brain games like crosswords, Sudoku, guided imagery or meditation, add the foods above and notice a marked change in memory. Be consistent with brain exercises along with eating a balanced diet of brain foods – often called super foods.

Don’t get dehydrated! Regardless of climate, season or geographic location, your brain needs water. Drink six to eight, eight ounce glasses of water daily. Get your body and mind in motion. Start your day with a glass of water, drink it throughout your day; and end your day with water – hydrate!

Start today with conscious efforts toward revving up your memory. You’ll notice differences as you put into practice intervention and preventative measures.

This article was published by Michigan State University Extension. For more information, visit https://extension.msu.edu. To have a digest of information delivered straight to your email inbox, visit https://extension.msu.edu/newsletters. To contact an expert in your area, visit https://extension.msu.edu/experts, or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464).

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Exercise May Boost Memory Through Brain Blood Flow and New Brain Cells

March 13, 2007 — Want a sharper memory? Lace up your sneakers. Exercise may boost memory, and a new study shows how.

The researchers found that exercise boosts blood flow to a brain area involved in memory — even in people who aren’t in top shape.

Three months of exercise was all it took for people with low levels of aerobic fitness to increase blood flow to that part of their brain and improve their scores on memory tests, the study shows.

Additional tests on mice show new brain cells growing in the same memory-related brain area after two weeks of exercise.

Add it all up, and you’ve got a good reason to get moving, says researcher Scott Small, MD, of Columbia University in New York.

“I, like many physicians, already encourage my patients to get active and this adds yet another reason to the long list of reasons why exercise is good for overall health,” Small says in a Columbia news release.

Studying Exercise and Memory

The new study appears in the early online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

First, Small’s team put running wheels in the cages of 23 mice. For comparison, another 23 mice had no access to running wheels.

As expected, the mice with the running wheels in their cages took full advantage of their exercise gear. They ran on the wheels without any training or encouragement.

Two weeks later, the scientists gave the mice a dye shot to mark new brain cells in the memory-related brain area. After four more weeks, the scientists checked the mice’s brains.

The exercising mice had more evidence of new brain cells and more blood flow in the memory-related brain area. The mice with no running wheels in their cages had no new brain cells and no increased blood flow in that brain area.

Continued

From the Couch to the Treadmill

Next, the researchers focused on people. They recruited 11 healthy volunteers aged 21-45 (average age: 33) with below-average levels of aerobic fitness.

First, participants completed memory tests and an aerobic fitness test. They also got brain scans using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Next, participants shed their sedentary ways. The researchers assigned them to work out for an hour, four times weekly for three months, at Columbia University’s fitness center.

The workout routine: Warm up for five minutes at a low intensity on a stationary bike or treadmill, stretch for five minutes, do 40 minutes of aerobic training (on a stationary bike, treadmill, stair machine, or elliptical trainer), and cool down and stretch for 10 minutes.

Work Out, Boost Memory

After three months of exercise, participants repeated the memory tests, aerobic fitness tests, and MRI brain scan.

Those follow-up tests showed an increase in blood flow to the memory-related brain area, better scores on the memory tests, and improvements in aerobic fitness.

The researchers didn’t use a dye test to check for new brain cells in the exercisers’ brains. So the study doesn’t prove that exercise boosted human brain cell production, though exercise apparently had that effect on mice.

The next step is to figure out what exercise regimen is most beneficial for memory, Small notes. He suggests that doctors may one day be able to prescribe specific types of exercise to improve memory.

Meanwhile, be sure to check in with your doctor before starting a new exercise program, especially if you’ve been physically inactive for a while.

Sources

SOURCES: Pereira, A. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, March 12-16, 2007; early online edition. News release, Columbia University.

Episode #1 of the course 10 ways to improve your memory by Jordan Harry

So, you want to learn how to improve your memory? You’ve picked the right course!

I’m Jordan Harry, Co-Founder of StudyFast. I work alongside my Co-Founder, Oyinkro, to bring to life StudyFast’s mission of making reading and memory training accessible to all. This is our brand new course on improving your memory health.

Why is memory important? Well, memory shapes our perception and reality. It makes up the stories we tell ourselves about our lives and who we’re connected with. It also allows us to go about our daily routines, making decisions based on knowledge and previous experiences. In other words, our memories are crucial to us as human beings and how we operate.

It’s interesting then that sometimes we have forgetful moments. Maybe you’re in the supermarket and forget something you need, or you have a presentation to give at work and can’t remember your words. Taking control of your brain health, and therefore memory will significantly improve these moments and many more.

I’ve personally practised these ideas and have seen considerable improvements in memorising and recalling information, and I want to help you achieve this.

During this course, I will teach you ten habits to improve your memory, with practical tips on how to embed these ideas into your everyday life. So, let’s get started.

Brain Foods to Boost Your Memory

Your brain is the control centre of your body. It’s in charge of keeping your heart beating and lungs breathing, allowing you to move, feel and think. Food plays a vital role in keeping your brain healthy, so the first step to improved memory is to become more conscious of the foods you are eating, ensuring your brain is working at peak performance.

When you eat a heart-healthy diet, you reduce your risk for high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity, all of which contribute to memory loss. A balanced diet enriched with omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, and antioxidants support brain health and memory.

This is why the Mediterranean diet is so popular. It is full of foods that are high in healthy unsaturated fats such as olive oil, fish and nuts, and is linked to lower rates of brain disease, including dementia and Alzheimers.

Making small changes to your diet to ensure you incorporate a balanced range of nutrients is a crucial first step. Think about what you’re regularly eating and include some of the suggested foods below into your diet to see the effects on your health.

Five foods to incorporate into your daily diet:

1. Green, leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach and broccoli are rich in brain-healthy nutrients, including vitamin K, lutein, folate, and beta carotene. Research suggests these plant-based foods may help slow cognitive decline.

2. Oily fish such as salmon, trout and sardines are abundant sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which can’t be made by the body, meaning humans must obtain them through food. If you don’t eat fish, you could consider plant sources such as flaxseeds, avocados and walnuts or an omega-3 supplement instead.

3. Blueberries, and other deeply coloured berries, are packed with antioxidants and are effective in improving or delaying short-term memory loss.

4. Walnuts contain brain-boosting nutrients such as Vitamin E and are excellent sources of protein and healthy fats, as well as improving memory.

5. Eggs are a good source of B vitamins and choline, rich in egg yolk and essential for the memory-boosting brain chemical acetylcholine. Higher intakes of choline are linked to better memory and mental function. If you are vegan or don’t eat eggs, look for fortified foods such as plant milks and breakfast cereals, soya, nuts and seeds.

As you can see, the food you eat has a role to play in keeping your brain functioning and is a critical factor for improving your memory. It’s important to reflect on your eating habits to see where you can make small changes. It’s not about going on a diet but simply adding some alternatives to ensure you have balance. Go on, give it a try!

Next lesson, we’ll be talking about the impact of reducing automatic negative thoughts, also known as ANTs.

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Amy Morin, LCSW, is the Editor-in-Chief of Verywell Mind. She’s also a psychotherapist, the author of the bestselling book “13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do,” and the host of The Verywell Mind Podcast.

Is it really possible to improve your memory? If you’ve ever found yourself forgetting where you left your keys or blanking out information on important tests then you have probably wished that your memory was a bit better. Fortunately, there are plenty of things that you can do to help improve your memory.

Obviously, utilizing some sort of reminder system can help. Setting up an online calendar that sends reminders to your phone helps you keep track of all those appointments and meetings. Creating daily to-do lists can ensure that you don’t forget important tasks that need to be completed.

But what about all the important information that you need to actually cement into your long-term memory? It will take some effort and even involve tweaking or dramatically changing your normal study routine, but there are a number of strategies you can utilize to get more out of your memory.

Before your next big exam, be sure to check out some of these tried and tested techniques for improving memory. These 11 research-proven strategies can effectively improve memory, enhance recall, and increase retention of information.

Focus Your Attention

How to improve your memory through diet

Attention is one of the major components of memory. In order for information to move from your short-term memory into your long-term memory, you need to actively attend to this information. Try to study in a place free of distractions such as television, music, and other diversions.

Getting rid of distractions might be a challenge, especially if you are surrounded by boisterous roommates or noisy children.

Set aside a short period of time to be alone.

Ask your roommates to give you some space or ask your partner to take the kids for an hour so you can focus on your work.

Published October 11, 2019

Reviewed March 2021

How to improve your memory through diet

If you’re feeling forgetful, it could be due to a lack of sleep or a number of other reasons, including genetics, level of physical activity and lifestyle and environmental factors. However, there’s no doubt that diet also plays a role in brain health.

The best menu for supporting memory and brain function encourages good blood flow to the brain — much like what you’d eat to nourish and protect your heart. Research is finding the Mediterranean Diet may help keep aging brains sharp, and a growing body of evidence links foods such as those in the Mediterranean diet with better cognitive function, memory and alertness.

Strengthen Recall by Adding These Foods to the Rotation

Eat your veggies. You’re not likely to forget this message. Getting adequate vegetables, especially cruciferous ones including broccoli, cabbage and dark leafy greens, may help improve memory. Try a kale salad or substitute collard greens for a tortilla in your next sandwich wrap. Broccoli stir-fry also is an excellent option for lunch or dinner.

Be sweet on berries and cherries. Berries — especially dark ones such as blackberries, blueberries and cherries — are a rich source of anthocyanins and other flavonoids that may support memory function. Enjoy a handful of berries for a snack, mixed into cereal or baked into an antioxidant-rich dessert. You can reap these benefits from fresh, frozen or dried berries and cherries.

Get adequate omega-3 fatty acids. Essential for good brain health, omega-3 fatty acids, docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, in particular, may help improve memory. Seafood, algae and fatty fish — including salmon, bluefin tuna, sardines and herring — are some of the best sources of the omega-3 fatty acid, DHA. Substitute fish for other meats once or twice a week to get a healthy dose. Grill, bake or broil fish for ultimate flavor and nutrition. Try salmon tacos with red cabbage slaw, snack on sardines or enjoy seared tuna on salad greens for dinner. If you don’t eat fish, discuss other food options or supplementation with your doctor or registered dietitian nutritionist. You can get DHA omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil, seaweed or microalgae supplements.

Work in walnuts. Well known for a positive impact on heart health, walnuts also may improve cognitive function. Snack on a handful of walnuts to satisfy midday hunger, add them to oatmeal or a salad for crunch or mix them into a vegetable stir-fry for extra protein.

While there’s no guarantee that these foods will help you remember where you put your keys tomorrow, over time they can support lifelong good health.

Marisa Moore, MBA, RDN, LD, is an Atlanta-based registered dietitian nutritionist.

How to improve your memory through diet

Changes to your body and brain are normal as you age. However, there are some things you can do to help slow any decline in memory and lower your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias. Here are five things I recommend to my patients in order of importance:

1. Exercise regularly.

The first thing I tell my patients is to keep exercising. Exercise has many known benefits, and it appears that regular physical activity benefits the brain. Multiple research studies show that people who are physically active are less likely to experience a decline in their mental function and have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

We believe these benefits are a result of increased blood flow to your brain during exercise. It also tends to counter some of the natural reduction in brain connections that occur during aging, in effect reversing some of the problems.

Aim to exercise several times per week for 30–60 minutes. You can walk, swim, play tennis or any other moderate aerobic activity that increases your heart rate.

2. Get plenty of sleep.

Sleep plays an important role in your brain health. There are some theories that sleep helps clear abnormal proteins in your brain and consolidates memories, which boosts your overall memory and brain health.

It is important that you try to get seven to eight consecutive hours of sleep per night, not fragmented sleep of two- or three-hour increments. Consecutive sleep gives your brain the time to consolidate and store your memories effectively. Sleep apnea is harmful to your brain’s health and may be the reason why you may struggle to get consecutive hours of sleep. Talk with your health care provider if you or a family member suspects you have sleep apnea.

3. Eat a Mediterranean diet.

Your diet plays a large role in your brain health. I recommend my patients consider following a Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes plant-based foods, whole grains, fish and healthy fats, such as olive oil. It incorporates much less red meat and salt than a typical American diet.

Studies show people who closely follow a Mediterranean diet are less likely to have Alzheimer’s disease than people who don’t follow the diet. Further research is needed to determine which parts of the diet have the biggest impact on your brain function. However, we do know that omega fatty acids found in extra-virgin olive oil and other healthy fats are vital for your cells to function correctly, appears to decrease your risk of coronary artery disease, and increases mental focus and slow cognitive decline in older adults.

4. Stay mentally active.

Your brain is similar to a muscle — you need to use it or you lose it. There are many things that you can do to keep your brain in shape, such as doing crossword puzzles or Sudoku, reading, playing cards or putting together a jigsaw puzzle. Consider it cross-training your brain. So incorporate different activities to increase the effectiveness.

I don’t recommend any of the paid brain-training programs available today. These programs often make promises that they can’t keep or focus on memorization skills that aren’t useful in everyday life. Your brain can get just as good of a workout through reading or challenging yourself with puzzles. Finally, don’t watch too much television, as that is a passive activity and does little to stimulate your brain.

5. Remain socially involved.

Social interaction helps ward off depression and stress, both of which can contribute to memory loss. Look for opportunities to connect with loved ones, friends and others, especially if you live alone. There is research that links solitary confinement to brain atrophy, so remaining socially active may have the opposite effect and strengthen the health of your brain.