The Relationship between Memory and Food

Updated: Jun 16

What we eat has a direct influence on our intellectual performance. Memory, concentration, or learning, cognitive functions can be boosted by the content of our food. Indeed, memory and concentration problems can occur at any age and manifest themselves in different ways because food has a substantial relationship to memory and our brain in general.





For instance, our food may be the first factor behind learning difficulties; memory lapses, reduced concentration, etc. And nutrition can play a significant role in maintaining and even improving these functions. Memory and the level of attention are generally affected by our foods. Our meals are involved in the brain's functioning, and it has a significant impact on its performance throughout the day.



There Is A Powerful Link Between Diet, Brain Function, And Memory.


Numerous studies have shown that foods have an impact on memory and concentration. Indeed, certain foods can considerably improve cognitive functions and are therefore strongly recommended when certain disorders occur. Specific nutritional intakes, mainly omega 3 and polyphenols, contribute to an excellent functioning of the brain and thus promote our memory capacities. Conversely, foods that are packed with saturated fats and sugars (obesogenic foods) may disrupt certain memory capacities from an early age and are believed to represent a significant risk in the development of Alzheimer's disease.


The Impact of Food and Nutrients on Our Body





Researchers have studied the effects of foods on our body and found out that our brain is mainly made up of fat. Thus, studies have been able to establish a link between the consumption of good fats such as olive or walnut oil associated with omega 3, and the reduction of cognitive disorders in old age. This vegetable fat indeed plays an essential role in protecting neurons and helping create new connections. Besides, people who consume little omega 3 may weaken their neurons, and consuming too much saturated fat may cause degeneration.

The good fat is found in particular in fish such as salmon, trout, mackerel, sardines, tuna, or herring, but also olive, linseed, walnut, and rapeseed oils. A diet that is good for memory and concentration requires including lots of fruits and vegetables. These products contain antioxidants which will have a beneficial effect on memory. This is because the process of degeneration will be halted, and consuming a large amount of fruit and vegetables rich in antioxidants can, in some cases, even reverse the process for people with memory loss.

When we ingest vitamin B, our body will produce acetylcholine, which is a neurotransmitter essential for learning and memory. Therefore, it is essential to include vitamin B in your diet, especially vitamins B1, B6, B9, and B12. These elements can be found in many foods such as eggs, salmon, pork, potatoes, chicken, organ meats, spinach, fish, and much more.

Most of the time, certain types of foods can cause memory problems, as concentration problems. However, in some cases, certain problems can occur at any age, although they are different.


How to Enhance Our Memory with Food?


Scientists and researchers have studied the impact of food on our memory and have clearly shown that eating breakfast in the morning reduces memory lapses and drops in concentration. Generally speaking, the richer the food is in carbohydrates, the more marked these effects are. So, make sure to choose the foods that naturally contain carbohydrates that are high in fiber and reduce fatty or high-in-added sugars.


  • You should consume more cereals, whole fruits, egg, cheese, milk, yogurt, chicken, peanut butter, etc.

  • Try to avoid or limit: bread, croissant, muffin, jam, fruit juice, bacon, sausage, maple syrup, etc...

Example:

1 kiwi, 1 cottage cheese, 1 pineapple compote, and 1 whole-grain bagel.


Reduce and distribute energy intake




Low-calorie meals can cause less drowsiness than fatty meals, high-carbohydrate meals. Consuming too many carbohydrates at noon can cause a sedative effect linked to the production of serotonin. At noon, you should therefore avoid sweet desserts, potatoes, white rice, or even corn. The best is to divide your daily food intake into 3 meals, if possible at regular times. Nutritionists also recommend having an afternoon snack.

A sample snack:

  • 1 fruit and a piece of 20% fat cheese

  • 1 cereal and nut bar, and a soy drink


Choose foods rich in omega-3, B vitamins, and iron


Humans have around 100 billion neurons. They can connect thanks to a sheath that surrounds them, called myelin. As this is mainly composed of fat, it is recommended to consume omega-3 fatty acids to strengthen the structure of neurons7-8.

  • Favorite foods: oily fish, nuts, linseed oil, rapeseed oil, wheat bran, etc ...

  • Try to avoid or to limit: cold meats, butter, sauces, poultry skin, cheese, etc...


B vitamins (especially B1, B6, B9, and B12) play an essential role in memorization.

Ingredients that are rich in B Vitamins: salmon, liver, spinach, eggs, offal, pistachios...

Iron deficiency affects intellectual performance. Red meats, green vegetables, quinoa, and shellfish are great sources of iron.

Maintain healthy life hygiene for a powerful memory:


  1. Sleep well to remember better

Studies have clearly shown that memorizing new information takes place during sleep. During this phase, the "consolidation" of memory takes place, which allows the development of new skills and the retention of information. The choice to make a sleepless night to revise more is therefore largely debatable. Rather, it is advisable to sleep

  1. Adopt A Special Meal Plan?

Adopting a specific diet will provide your brain with all the nutrients it needs for optimal performance. Thus, this will help prevent any type of memory loss and concentration problems or alleviate different health issues related to memory. By offering your brain all the nutrients it needs, you will be able to improve your cognitive functions.


Follow a specific diet and plan for a powerful memory


Memory and concentration problems can occur at any age and manifest themselves in different ways: learning difficulties, memory lapses, reduced concentration, etc. Nutrition and food, in general, can have a great role when it comes to improving the different functions of our body. The memory and concentration diet aims to ensure an optimal supply of nutrients involved in the brain's functioning to ensure its good performance throughout the day.


The most important focal points of a diet meant to improve memory and concentration diet:


There are more than 40 nutrients that are involved in the process of the functioning of the brain. And in this regard, it is also important to ensure an adequate intake of macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates, and fats) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). And some dietary measures can help you put in place to make our memory and our concentration more efficient and to maintain our energy throughout the day. And here are some benefits of a specific diet that is meant to improve our memory:

  • Distribute carbohydrate intake throughout the day

  • Increase the consumption of Omega-3

  • Ensure a good intake of vitamins and minerals

  • Maintain good hydration

  • Benefits of diet and foods for memory and concentration

  • Maintain and improve cognitive functions

  • Ensure an adequate intake of nutrients that are involved in the functioning of the brain

  • Improve memory and concentration throughout the day

  • Reduce memory and concentration problems

  • Achieve and maintain a healthy weight


THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET, THE BEST CHOICE FOR CONCENTRATION AND MEMORY:



Following a specific diet to improve memory and focus is pretty straightforward overall, and it is substantial to maintain a very good functioning of your memory. But to follow this diet, there are specific rules that you should follow. Indeed, it is necessary to refer to foods rich in nutrients and low in sugars and lipids. Thus, the ideal is to be based on the Mediterranean diet. The latter is composed of balanced meals, both rich in omega 3 and lean protein.

Using seasonal products, your diet will include a large number of fruits and vegetables and whole grains. You will have to reduce your consumption of red meat sharply, and animal proteins will be mainly provided by fish, as well as white meat or eggs.

When making foods, the use of fat is allowed, but forget about the use of cream and butter, and use olive oil as much as possible.

To adapt to your health constraints, we have the option of adopting this diet with diabetic menus or menus without salt.



GENERAL RULES OF THIS DIET PLAN


To start your day off right and stimulate your brain and memory the moment you wake up, it is important to have a full breakfast. Studies have indeed shown the positive impact that a high-carbohydrate breakfast can have on memory and concentration. Thus, you should avoid foods containing too much added sugars and favor those rich in carbohydrates and fiber. So, avoid white bread, pastries, jam and fruit juice.

To maintain a balanced and high intellectual performance throughout the day, some studies recommend having a small snack during the afternoon. So, opt for foods that include nutrients that are good for memory and concentration. For example, you can choose a piece of fruit with a handful of almonds, or compote with pumpkin seeds, or a little wholemeal bread with yogurt.

Our bodies are made up largely of water, so make sure to drink throughout the day, on average 1.5 to 2 liters per day. Not getting enough hydration can affect your ability to concentrate. Furthermore, studies have found that the Mediterranean diet can prevent and treat cerebral degeneration. Here are some recommended tips that you should follow while adopting the Mediterranean diet:


Make Sure To Include Indispensable Fatty Acids and Proteins

Many Mediterranean foods are essential to maintain a healthy life and a strong memory because of the valuable nutrients. This is, for example, the case of omega-3 fatty acids that the diet must provide because they are very little synthesized. The best suppliers are recruited from fatty fish, vegetable oils, oilseeds, algae ... In the omega-3 family, DHA is a principal constituent of brain cells. It plays a role in the fluidity of membranes, the communication between neurons. It is needed during aging to prevent age-related cognitive decline. The brain also needs proteins (fish, eggs, legumes) to manufacture, via essential amino acids, some of its neurotransmitters.


Essential calcium and vitamins

Calcium (lean dairy products, goat's and sheep's cheeses) and vitamin D are other important nutrients that you need to include in our diet for the role it plays in improving the function of the brain and boosting the memory. In particular, vitamin D receptors are found in two key areas of the brain, the cortex and the hippocampus, which are heavily involved in cognitive functions. However, various studies have shown that low vitamin D levels are associated with cognitive deficits and Alzheimer's disease. In addition, grapes - and therefore wine (one glass a day is enough) - contain a lot of resveratrol, a powerful antioxidant with neuroprotective activity proven in animals in the case of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease. Finally, vitamin B12, available in organ meats and meat, actively participates in the functioning of the brain and nervous system.



The top 5 friendly foods for memory boost and brain health:


Sardine

It is at the same time an excellent source of omega-3, calcium (provided it is eaten with the bones), good fatty acids, which "oil" the cogs of the brain and intervene in the memorization process. It also provides vitamin B12 and iron, which, when lacking (as is often the case in women), reduces memory capacity. So, it will be great if you can include sardine in your diet once or twice per week.


Liver

It wins the prize for richness in vitamin B12. However, the brain absolutely needs it because it allows the production of neurotransmitters involved in memory and concentration. It is sufficient to eat liver once per week, and you are free to choose whatever type of meat liver you want to eat, whether chicken liver, beef liver or lamb liver.


The right oils

There are some types of oils that are recommended to improve the function of the brain in general. Indeed, rapeseed oil and walnuts oil, which are full of omega-3, are particularly recommended to be consumed raw. To cook, we should better use coconut oil (whose triglycerides, called medium-chain) and especially olive oil, which, according to a study, has shown interesting virtues on performance.


Tea

Researchers have noticed that thirty to forty minutes after the ingestion of tea, an increase in concentration, clarity of mind, but also, via an electroencephalogram, an increase in theta brain waves, directly involved in attention, vigilance, and memory.


Blueberries

A small quantity of berry is perfect for the eyes (and it's true). A study on seniors has shown that it is also of great benefit for our memory. The very high level of polyphenols contributes to preventing the decline of "working" memory, episodic memory loss, and verbal recognition.


Note: To recapitulate, we can say that the brain is a muscle that needs a constant source of energy to work well. For this, a healthy diet is necessary to maintain the proper functioning of memory. This article will help you discover the best foods and vitamins that you need to incorporate into your daily life to boost your memory sustainably. And here are two recipes that will boost your memory and that will protect you from Alzheimer:


Recipe: Lemon Garlic Fettuccini with Sardines

Prep Time: 10 Minutes| Cooking Time: 15 Minutes| Servings: 4





INGREDIENTS :

  • 8 ounces of whole-wheat fettuccine

  • 4 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, divided

  • 4 Minced garlic cloves

  • 1 Cup of fresh whole-wheat breadcrumbs

  • ¼ cup of lemon juice

  • 1 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper

  • ½ teaspoon of salt

  • 2 cans of 4 ounces of skinless and boneless sardines, preferably in flaked tomato sauce

  • ½ cup of chopped fresh parsley

  • ¼ cup of finely shredded Parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Start by bringing a large pot with water to a boil; then cook the pasta until everything becomes tender for about 8 to 10 minutes

  2. In the meantime, heat about 2 tablespoons of oil in a nonstick skillet over a medium heat

  3. Add in the garlic and cook while stirring for about 25 seconds; then transfer the garlic and the oil to a large bowl

  4. Heat the remaining quantity of oil to the pan over a medium-high heat

  5. Add in the breadcrumbs and cook until everything becomes crispy for about 5 to 6 minutes; then transfer to a platter

  6. Whisk the lemon juice, pepper and salt into the garlic oil

  7. Add in the pasta to the bowl together with the sardines, the parsley and the parmesan

  8. Stir for a few seconds; then gently stir to combine

  9. Sprinkle with the breadcrumbs; then serve and enjoy your dish!


Nutrition Information

Calories: 480, Fat: 21.4g, Carbohydrates: 53.5g, Dietary Fiber: 8.5g, Protein: 22.6g



Recipe: Arctic Char with Kale

Prep Time: 10 Minutes| Cooking Time: 20 Minutes| Servings: 2-4





INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 large thinly sliced shallot

  • 1 cup of reduced-sodium chicken broth

  • ¼ cup of water

  • 1 and 1/2 pounds of coarsely chopped kale

  • 1 pound of skinned arctic char or of salmon fillet, cut into about 4 portions

  • ¼ teaspoon of salt

  • ¼ teaspoon of freshly ground pepper

  • ¼ cup of reduced-fat sour cream

  • 2 teaspoons of prepared horseradish

  • 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh dill, or about 1 teaspoon of dried dill

  • 4 to 5 lemon wedges for garnishing

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat; then cook the shallot while stirring for about 2 minutes

  2. Add in the broth, the water, and the kale and cook while stirring until everything is wilted for about 1 minute

  3. Add in the remaining kale and cook for about 8 minutes until it becomes soft for about 2 minutes

  4. Add in