Memory Mondays: Foods to Help Boost Your Memory

There are many reasons you may be feeling forgetful. Maybe you’ve been sleeping less. Perhaps your level of physical activity has been lower than usual. It could also have to do with genetics or lifestyle and environment factors.

However, there’s one critical aspect of your life that plays a major role in your brain health: your diet.

The best foods to boost memory are those that promote steady blood flow to the brain, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Research suggests the Mediterranean Diet aids aging brains, for example. Further evidence has linked foods similar to those in this particular diet with better cognitive function, memory and alertness.

Strengthen your memory by adding these foods into your diet.

– Vegetables, vegetables, vegetables: How many times have we heard this message over the course of our lives? More vegetables equals better health, and that holds true for your brain, as well. With additional vegetables your diet, particularly cruciferous ones like broccoli and dark, leafy greens, your memory stands to improve. Menu options: Kale salad, collard greens in a wrap, broccoli stir-fry.

Berries and cherries: Dark berries like blackberries, blueberries and cherries prove to be a great source of anthocyanins and other flavonoids. These nutrients may expand memory function, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Whether you opt for fresh, frozen or dried fruits, you’ll reap the benefits. Menu options: Handful of berries as a snack, mixed into cereal, baked into a dessert.

Omega-3 fatty acids: Healthy young adults stand to benefit the most from omega-3 fatty acids (especially docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)), which are crucial for brain health. “DHA is the most abundant fatty acid in the brain,” says Andrea Giancoli, RD, registered dietitian and former Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spokesperson. “It makes sense that if you have higher levels of DHA in the blood, then the brain will operate more efficiently.” Try to substitute fish for meat a few times each week. If you don’t eat fish, there are other food or supplemental options available. Consult with your doctor to learn more. Menu options: Salmon tacos with red cabbage slaw, sardines as a snack, seared tune on salad greens.

Walnuts: Walnuts are largely known for their positive heart health effects. But did you know they also may boost your working memory? Menu options: Handful of walnuts as a snack, added to oatmeal or salad, mixed into vegetable stir-fry.

Drinks: Beverage like tea, coffee and even beer have been proven to improve brain health later in life. They even may reduce the risk of dementia, according to researchers with the National University of Singapore. In fact, a regular cup of tea potentially reduces the risk of cognitive decline by 50%, according to the research.

Not only do these foods promote brain health, but they’re also proven to sustain a healthy heart and the rest of your body. Of course, there’s no guarantee that consuming a diet rich in these items will help you remember where you parked. But over time, they can support lifelong health.