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Eating for memory

We’ve all been told that carrots are good for our eyes, spinach will give us muscles like Popeye and milk is good for our bones. Mom used these statements as a tactic to get us to eat healthy.

But what about foods that boost memory? Did mom ever tell you what foods to eat to remember an algebra formula or a slew of historical facts? It’s likely she just told you to get a good night’s sleep, eat a healthy breakfast and, of course, study.

Researchers have found that certain foods are linked to memory skills and may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease, too. It’s important to note that some studies outlined here were small or done on animals, so their validity isn’t 100 percent definitive. Whatever you want to remember, here are some food items that may help.

Blueberries: One recent small study found that a dose of wild blueberry juice daily improved the recall of older adults with memory problems. Blueberries also offer antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.

Fish: Researchers at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago found that people who ate fish at least once a week were 60 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than those who rarely or never ate fish. The team credited the n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in fish, which are chemically similar to substances in the brain. And these substances promote learning and memory storage.

Vegetables: Eating three or four servings a day of vegetables has been found to slow the decline of age-related mental function.

Coffee: That morning cup of coffee may give you more than a caffeine jolt. Researchers found that drinking moderate amounts of java during middle age may reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

Extra virgin olive oil: Rachel Ray’s beloved EVOO may be more beneficial than you realize. Binding of ADDLs—amyloid beta-derived diffusible ligands—to nerve cell synapses is thought to be a crucial first step in the initiation of Alzheimer’s disease. Oleocanthal, a naturally occurring compound in EVOO, was found in a laboratory study to alter ADDL structure in a way that deters their binding to synapses, hence fighting the effect of ADDLs involved in causing Alzheimer’s disease.