Improve your memory with your diet

We all want a strong memory, whether we’re studying for an exam, preparing for a big presentation, or adjusting to the stages of life. If you’re looking to improve your memory, brain-healthy foods are a great option! Eating a healthy diet is an important step in improving brain health. MercyOne Registered Dietitian Stephanie Small has recommendations on what to add to your diet for stronger memory and better brain health.

Which foods are good for my memory and how do I eat them?

You can add a few different foods to your diet to improve your memory. Make sure you include variety to create balanced meals.

  1. Green vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber. You can of course incorporate veggies into your salads, but there are other meals if you don’t want a salad! Foods like shredded zucchini can be incorporated into meatloaf, chili, or even homemade cupcakes.
  2. fishes is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 is important for brain and heart health. Some of the best fish are salmon, sardines and tuna.
  3. Berry are a source of fiber and antioxidants that support the brain’s memory function. Cherries, blackberries and blueberries are a great snack when you are hungry or a delicious dessert. If you want to create a special treat, add a little whipped cream!
  4. walnuts are a healthy source of fats and omega-3. They’re known for being heart healthy, but they can help with cognitive function too! Small said, “A handful of plain walnuts or mixed with trail mix makes a snack for me.”
  5. cumin contains antioxidants and improves the taste of some of your everyday meals! You can add cumin to tacos, chili, and more.
  6. eggs are a nutrient-rich source of protein. Add eggs to your breakfast or as a delicious topping on a burger. “I just enjoy a simple scrambled egg or scrambled egg with yellow cherry tomatoes, zucchini and green pepper,” Small said.

Which foods can harm my brain?

Low nutritional foods can affect your mood and memory. A brain-healthy diet avoids foods high in sugar and low in nutritional value. Heavily processed foods and sugary drinks should be saved as the occasional sweet treat. The bulk of your diet should consist of the foods listed above. Foods that should be kept to a minimum include:

  1. energy drinks
  2. Packaged dessert products (like Twinkies)
  3. Sugary coffees
  4. fast food dishes
  5. Soft drinks

What do you eat on the morning of a test or presentation?

Breakfast before an exam or presentation can be critical to exam success. “A balanced meal can be just the fuel you need to stay focused,” Small said.

The USDA’s MyPlate provides a great guide to planning the balanced meal you need. It suggests servings of vegetables, fruits, grains, protein, and dairy. Try this my plate website for more information.

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