We’ve all had one of those days where it feels like our heads just aren’t screwed on straight. But if you feel yourself experiencing brain fog and forgetting important tasks day after day, it might be time to switch up which foods line your fridge and pantry.
That’s right. Forget brain teasers. To boost your memory and nourish your noggin, you can start off by loading up on our suggested brain foods below. After you add these foods that improve your memory to your diet, those forgetful days will be a thing of the past.
A heart-healthy fat that’s as good for you as it is satisfying? Where do we sign up? Walnuts are tasty tossed on a salad, eaten on their own, or blended into a delicious Zero Belly smoothie.
Even better, their high antioxidant levels are correlated with improved mental capacity later in life. University of California researchers published a study in The Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging which found that adults with higher walnut consumption performed significantly better on a series of six cognitive tests.
One of the healthiest breakfasts out there and a great alternative to traditional wheat flour, oats can do everything from helping lower your blood pressure to increase your cognitive ability, starting at an early age. In fact, research conducted at Tufts University suggests that children who consume oatmeal for breakfast may have better short-term memories than those who eat less nutritious, faster-digested food.
Almonds are a powerhouse food when it comes to your health. Packed with protein, fiber, and heart-healthy fat, they’re a great way to keep full while losing weight. Luckily, they’re also an excellent food for your brain, too. The results of a study published in the Brain Research Bulletin suggest that eating almonds can both help preserve your current memory level and reduce your risk of future memory lapses.
If you’re someone who can’t say no to guacamole, you’re in luck: that very habit might just be keeping your mind agile as you age. Researchers at the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University discovered that avocado can help protect your brain by upping lutein levels and improving cognitive function, meaning those happy memories you’re making can stick around as long as you do.
5. Whole Grain Bread
Don’t give up on carbs completely just because you’re trying to slim down—your brain might just need some whole grains to thrive. Research published in the Annals of Neurology suggests that high saturated fat diets may harm cognitive function by increasing the amount of plaque in the brain. On the other hand, diets rich in whole grains are known to help reduce plaque buildup by lowering total LDL cholesterol. A B vitamin found in whole grains, known as niacin, has been found to decrease LDL levels and increase HDL when taken in doses above your vitamin requirement, according to a guide to lowering your cholesterol by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Adding some beans to your diet won’t just keep you full, it may also help improve your memory over time.
Not only can beans help stave off the brain fog that comes from being hungry, but the antioxidants present in black beans and folate they contain can also help keep your brain vital and efficiently storing memories as you get older.
In addition to being great inexpensive sources of protein, black beans contain a hefty dose of magnesium. Scientists have found that magnesium—at least in animal studies—can help reverse some of the detrimental effects of Alzheimer’s disease for mice. And, as the old rhyme says, beans are also good for your heart; a healthier blood flow means a healthier brain.
Whether you like to drink a cup as a way to wind down in the afternoon or as a morning pick-me-up without quite the buzz of coffee, tea is an excellent addition to any diet, particularly for those who want to stave off cognitive decline. The results of a Norweigan study reveal that individuals who consume flavonoid-rich beverages, like tea, have improved cognition later in life
8. Sesame Seeds
If you’re looking to add some crunch to your favorite salad or give a bit of intrigue to that go-to stir-fry, look no further than the trusty sesame seed. Sesame seeds are a great way to add a bit of healthy fat to your food without blowing your calorie budget, and, even better, they can majorly improve your memory, as well. In fact, one NeuroReport study reveals that two compounds found in sesame seeds—aresesamolin and sesamolin—can help scavenge free radicals, potentially keeping your body and brain healthy well into later life.
One of the easiest ways to convince even the most fruit- and vegetable-phobic individuals to add some healthy food to their diet, tomatoes add a burst of flavor to any meal while helping protect those treasured memories you’ve made over the years.
Tomatoes are a great source of lycopene, which researchers from the [University Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences] have discovered may play a role in memory retention while staving off degenerative disease.
10. Whole Eggs
Older people who suffer from vitamin D deficiency show faster rates of cognitive decline than those with adequate vitamin D levels, according to new research from the University of California Davis Alzheimer’s Disease Center and Rutgers University.
The good news is that getting your daily dose of D is as easy as cracking open some eggs. Three large eggs—what you’d use to make a morning omelet—will provide 33 percent of the day’s intake. Just make sure you eat the yolk—that’s where all of the brain-protective nutrients are hiding out!