Want To Boost Your Memory? Try These 5 Things!

You might want to think twice before cutting into the juicy T-Bone steak with those crispy French fries! That's a meal loaded with saturated fat, which is known to raise blood levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, the bad stuff. We know that LDL cholesterol can help in clogging your arteries. “We know that's bad for your heart. There is now a lot of evidence it's also bad for your brain,” says Dr. Francine Grodstein, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and associate epidemiologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital.

Thankfully, there are foods that can help with your memory! Here are five foods that may help!

1. Leafy Greens

Spinach, kale and other leafy green vegetables have many proven health benefits. Research from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago shows that greens may also help delay or reduce cognitive decline and memory loss. “People who consumed one to two servings of green leafy vegetables per day had slower cognitive decline that was the equivalent of being 11 years younger in age (compared to those who didn't),” says lead study author Martha C. Morris, Ph.D. These finding held true even after taking into account for factors like exercise, smoking history, and education.

2. Walnuts

Research from the UCLA School of Medicine showed that eating 13 grams of walnuts (around 3-4 walnuts) a day helped people do better on brain function tests, including a test of memory. “We saw an effect in people who ate just a handful of walnuts per day,” says lead study author-researcher Lenore Arab, Ph.D., a professor of epidemiology at the school. Researchers aren't sure what ingredient is responsible for the advantage. It could be the walnuts' high antioxidant content, vitamins, and minerals, or helpful alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a plant-based omega-3 fat. “For now we just know that walnut eaters in the U.S. population perform better on tests of cognitive function than non-walnut eaters,” she says.

3. Green Tea

I've been a tea drinker for years; English Breakfast or Earl Grey are my teas of choice and both are black teas. But green teas may become one I drink more; they seem to have taken on a new job: memory aid! Researchers at the University of Basel in Switzerland tested its effects by comparing a group of people who drank a beverage made of green tea extract with a group who drank a soft drink without the extract. The participants drank their beverages while undergoing MRI scans and then took tests to measure their short-term memory. The results: Green tea drinkers not only performed better on their tests but their MRIs showed greater connectivity between regions of the brain involved with memory processing. Scientists speculate that a compound called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which acts like an antioxidant in the brain, may be behind the brain boost.

4. Fish!

We've heard it all of our lives; fish is brain food! Rush University scientists did tests of different brain functions on a group of people and then correlated the results with their food records. The conclusion was that consuming more seafood was associated with a slower decline in the subjects' semantic memory, which is involved with the recall of basic facts. And in a different Rush study, scientists autopsied the brains of people and compared the results with food questionnaires completed five years before their deaths. The findings: Those who ate more fish had fewer brain plaques and tangles, the hallmarks of poor memory.

5. Berries

Berries, particularly my favorite, blueberries, are famous for boosting the brain; and for good reason! Their powerful antioxidants seem to help keep the mind in good working order. The Harvard School of Public Health, researchers compared food records and the results of memory tests among women in the long-running Nurses Health Study. They found that women who ate the most blueberries and strawberries over several decades delayed the decline of memory up to two and half years compared with those who did not eat berries.

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