We know that food can improve our health and performance, but did you know that certain foods can help to improve your memory? Read on to find out more.
The Mystery of Sacrifice or Man is What He Eats is a famous work by the German philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach, which gave us one of the best-known adages on food. Science has proved countless times how food can improve our health and performance. But when it comes to the human brain, one question gets asked time and time again: can food improve our memory?
Today, although science has made great strides, we still do not know for certain how memory works from a physiological point of view. But it is certain that the areas of the brain that affect memory are the amygdala, striatum, hippocampus, and mammillary bodies. They function as compartments, ready to store short-term and long-term information, as appropriate. For this reason, finding the best food for memory means selecting food that takes care of our brain.
But how can food improve memory? We know that we tend to lose memory with age, so we must choose foods that help slow down brain ageing. In a nutshell, the perfect memory enhancers are foods rich in antioxidants, which stimulate cognitive ability. Although we often use different names for similar substances, there aren’t that many that actually help our brains. Two that do are vitamins C and B12.
Contrary to popular belief, citrus fruits do not contain the largest amount of vitamin C, which is one of the most powerful antioxidants available in food. Oranges, for example, only contain 44 mg per 100 grams. Grape juice (not wine!) leads the ranking, with 340 mg per 100 grams, followed by chilli peppers (229), currants (200) and red and yellow peppers (166).
Vitamin B12 contributes to the proper functioning of the nervous system and brain, and is therefore considered a memory enhancer food. It is most prominent in foods such as liver, fish and shellfish.
Vitamin K has also been shown to contribute significantly to brain health, even if indirectly. In fact, it ensures the correct functioning of the circulatory system. A lot of it can be found in broccoli, which is also rich in vitamin C, but generally all green leafy vegetables are excellent sources of vitamin K.
Foods that enhance memory also include lettuce, spinach and cabbage. Eat up, because these foods are also rich in other substances that make them among the best food for memory: folate, lutein and beta-carotene.