12 Best Foods for Memory

If you feel a bit forgetful, it could be due to a number of reasons. Lifestyle, genetics, physical activity and environmental factors can play into it; however, diet also plays a significant role on brain health as energy has a huge impact on your brain. 

The human brain actually uses more energy than any other organ, using up to 20 percent of the total energy haul within the body. Certain nutrients are necessary to keep the brain fueled to maintain concentration and to support memory. 

You can keep your brain in optimal working condition by eating brain-healthy foods that can help boost memory. 

Foods that can help your memory.


Berries are abundant in flavonoid antioxidants, making them extra-healthy for the brain and memory, according to research.

Antioxidant compounds found in berries are great for reducing inflammation and oxidative stress. The antioxidants found in most berries include catechin, quercetin, caffeic acid and anthocyanin.

Antioxidants found in berries offer many brain-benefits, including:

  • Increased memory, due to increased plasticity that helps brain cells to form new connections
  • Improved communication between brain cells
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Reduced or delayed cognitive decline and neurodegenerative diseases

Berries that are proven to boost brain health include:

  • Blueberries
  • Blackberries
  • Blackcurrants
  • Mulberries
  • Strawberries

Dark Chocolate

Like antioxidant-rich berries, dark chocolate is chock-full of antioxidants. Cacao, the main ingredient in dark chocolate (which contains higher percentages than its milk chocolate counterpart), contains flavonoids.

Cognitive decline and brain diseases are significant contributing factors to memory loss, due to oxidative stress. This is why antioxidants, including flavonoids, are important for the body.

According to one review, flavonoids found in cacao may encourage growth in both neurons and blood vessels in parts of the brain that are associated with memory and learning, in addition to many other brain-boosting effects of dark chocolate.

Oily Fish

Omega-3 fatty acids are helpful for building membranes around brain cells by improving their structures. Omega-3s are found in oily fish, such as mackerel, salmon, tuna, sardines and herring.

One study found people who consumed higher levels of 0mega-3s to have a greater amount of blood flow to their brains in addition to a higher level of cognition.

Whole Grains

Whole grains are a great way to reap the benefits of vitamin E, which is another antioxidant that fiths the effects of oxidative stress caused by free radicals.

Interestingly, vitamin E is also linked with a reduced risk of memory-related disorders like Alzheimer’s disease.

Antioxidant rich whole grains include:

  • Whole grain pasta and bread
  • Oatmeal
  • Bulgur wheat
  • Brown rice
  • Barley


Many people drink coffee to wake up and to be better able to focus. The caffeine in coffee is the reason for these benefits because it blocks a specific substance in the brain known as adenosine that makes people feel sleepy.

In addition to boosting alertness however, caffeine also has the capacity to boost a person’s capacity to process information. One 2018 study found that brain entropy is increased, which enables the brain to process more information.

If that is not enough reason to drink coffee for brain health, the caffeine found in coffee also has a boatload of antioxidants, which can support brain health as a person ages. Lifelong caffeine consumption is linked with a reduction in the risk of stroke, cognitive decline and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds like almonds, hazelnuts and sunflower seeds are also filled with Omega-3s and antioxidants, including vitamin E. Vitamin E is associated with increased cognitive performance and an ability to delay or prevent cognitive decline based on clinical trials.  Furthermore, because oxidative stress caused by free radicals is a risk as a person ages and because vitamin E protects from oxidative stress, foods like nuts and seeds that fight against oxidative stress are beneficial. Additionally, one study found that a higher intake of nuts was linked to increased brain function in older age.


Eggs are great fuel for the brain, offering an excellent source of vitamins B-6 and B-12 as well as folic acid. These vitamins are known to prevent shrinkage of the brain in addition to preventing cognitive decline.


Avocados are filled with healthy, monounsaturated fats. Monounsaturated fats are known to reduce blood pressure, which is helpful if you want to improve brain health and memory.

Reducing high blood pressure by eating foods that support lowered blood pressure can reduce the risk of cognitive decline.

Broccoli and Other Leafy Greens

Broccoli is an excellent source of dietary fiber that is good for the brain due to compounds known as glucosinolates. These produce isothiocyanates when broken down, which are known to reduce both oxidative stress and the risk of neurodegenerative diseases.

Vitamin C and flavonoids are also found in broccoli, further boosting brain health.

Other leafy greens that contain various nutrients that support brain health include collards, kale and spinach. These vegetables are filled with brain- and memory-boosting folate, beta carotene and vitamin K. Vitamin K has been found to improve memory by encouraging the formation of fat inside of brain cells.

Soy Products

Soybeans, which soy products are derived from, are rich on polyphenols, a particular group of antioxidants. Improved cognitive abilities and a reduced risk of dementia are associated with soy products. Isoflavones are also found in soy products, which are antioxidants that offer many benefits throughout the body.

Certain Fruits

Fruits such as kiwi, bell peppers, oranges, strawberries, oranges and strawberries are filled with high levels of vitamin C, which helps to prevent brain cells from damage. Adequate levels of vitamin C may also prevent Alzheimer’s disease, which is a neurodegenerative disease that affects memory.


The deep yellow spice that is a primary ingredient in curry has many brain benefits, including curcumin. Curcumin has the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, entering directly into the cells in the brain, acting primarily as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compound that can benefit memory.

Many foods can help improve memory and brain help. You can easily support your brain and memory by including these foods in your diet!

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Stevie Compango, CNSC, CPT

Stevie is Certified Nutrition Specialist and Certified Personal Trainer for the past 10 years. He specializes in mobility and chronic pain management. His methods have helped thousands of clients improve the quality of their life through movement.

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