The relationship between food and memory has received more coverage lately. Unfortunately, we still don’t understand the entire dynamic. However, plenty of studies have shed light on how everything works.
That’s our topic for today.
Our lives are stressful today. We need to pay bills, sustain ourselves, and maintain our families. The pandemic made everything worse in merely a year.
Stress wrecks our memory. Any help can be a life-changer. Well, your diet and memory might be a secret weapon.
How are food and memory related?
The link between nutrition and memory relies on our brain’s sensitivity to outside factors. Our bodily health and lifestyle can improve or disrupt our cognitive processes. The brain incurs high metabolic requirements. That’s because of the energy necessary to produce neurons.
When we evaluate how food and learning (and overall memory) work, we must focus on the hippocampus.
The hippocampus and memory
The hippocampus is responsible for relational memory. It’s the most complex memory system. It relates to memorizing facts and events. The complexity comes from having to link dates, individuals, locations, and more.
Many mental processes converge on the hippocampus. It’s responsible for building coherent representations from multiple information sources. Furthermore, is one of the two structures that create new neurons.
Nutrition and the hippocampus
The link between food and this structure makes up the basis of studying how our diet and memory interact. Studies in rats have provided evidence for this thesis. Nutrition plays a role in neurogenesis.
Nutritional intake can benefit or harm our hippocampal structure. For instance, omega-3 might reduce Alzheimer’s in rodents. However, refined sugar and alcohol can hinder our hippocampal function.
How to improve your memory with proper nutrition
We can use that link between food and memory to strengthen our brains. It adds even more benefits to adopting a healthier diet. Experts have created entire diet programs dedicated to boosting our memory.
However, we don’t need to take food and learning so strictly. A balanced diet is typically enough to provide all the benefits we want. That goes from good weight to stronger memory.
Bad cholesterol and fats
LDL (or bad cholesterol) and saturated fats are the main enemies. These elements can promote beta-amyloid plaque formation in your brain. They’re protein clusters: among the main damage sources in Alzheimer’s patients.
Apolipoprotein E: the connection between food and memory?
APOE is one of the most interesting elements. This gene links directly with your cholesterol levels. Simultaneously, its e4 variation incurs in greater risk of Alzheimer’s. The connection requires more research, but it could relate to the mentioned protein plaques.
What food should you focus on for better memory?
Diets like the Mediterranean program aim to improve your memory. The best ally is omega-3 fatty acids, which seem to lower beta-amyloid protein levels. Fruits and vegetables are also ideal. Whole grains and olive oil can also provide some benefits.
Interestingly, alcohol could be a surprise ally. When taken moderately, alcohol can boost good cholesterol levels. It also helps us regulate blood sugar.
11 brain-boosting foods to get started
If you don’t know where to start, Healthline has a fantastic list of memory-friendly foods. The goal is to focus on boosting our alertness and brain health. That means omega-3 fatty acids are a priority.
However, antioxidants are also crucial. Likewise, anti-inflammatory properties can also benefit our memories. Some micronutrients, like zinc, iron, and magnesium can improve learning and reduce brain fog.
As such, consider adding these foods to your diet:
- Fatty fish.
- Pumpkin seeds.
- Dark chocolate.
- Green tea.
The holistic takeaway
Your nutrition and learning capacity share an intimate link. That’s another reason why prioritizing a good diet is an outstanding goal. However, you shouldn’t rely solely on what you eat.
When learning how to improve your memory, multiple factors come into play. Physical activity is crucial for multiple reasons. It helps you reduce stress and anxiety, improving your mood. Keeping stress levels low is critical for better learning capacity.