Did you know that some food can actually help you think better?
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 plays a major role in brain health.
The best menu for boosting memory and brain function encourages good blood flow to the brain — much like what you’d eat to nourish and protect your heart. A recent study found that the Mediterranean Diet helps in keeping aging brains sharp: a growing body of evidence links foods like those in the Mediterranean Diet with better cognitive function, memory and alertness.
Here’s how to eat your way to success during this upcoming finals week.
Eat your veggies.
Getting adequate vegetables, especially cruciferous ones like broccoli, cabbage and dark leafy greens, may help improve memory. Try a raw kale salad or substitute collard greens for the tortilla in your next sandwich wrap.
This recipe for broccoli stir-fry is an excellent option for lunch or dinner.
Load up on berries and cherries.
Dark berries like blackberries, blueberries and cherries are a rich source of anthocyanins and other flavonoids that boost 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.
Try this recipe for a delicious blackberry and blueberry smoothie.
Get enough essential omega-3 fatty acids.
Essential for good brain health, omega-3 fatty acids, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in particular, may help improve memory for healthy young adults. DHA is the most abundant fatty acid in the brain, therefore increasing levels of DHA in the blood will help the brain operate more efficiently. Seafood, algae and fatty fish like salmon, tuna, sardines and herring are some of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Substitute fish for meat a couple of times each week to get a healthy dose. Grill, bake or broil fish for ultimate flavor and health.
Try this recipe to enjoy seared salmon tacos with sriracha ranch sauce, snack on sardines or enjoy seared tuna on salad greens for dinner. If you don’t eat fish, you can get DHA from fish oil supplements.
Work in walnuts.
Well known for a positive impact on heart health, walnuts also may improve working memory. Walnuts are also one of the best plant-based sources of alpha-linoleic acid, another omega-3 fatty acid. Snack on a handful of walnuts to satisfy midday hunger, add them to oatmeal or salad for crunch or mix them into a vegetable stir-fry for extra protein.
photo by Martha Stewart
Try this recipe for oatmeal bars with walnuts and dates and take them on-the-go to your tests and study sessions.
Remember, these foods are not just good for the brain! They also sustain a healthy heart and all parts of the body to support lifelong good health.