Can Food Help Improve Focus and Memory?
We all know the importance of good nutrition for physical health. However, your dietary or food choices may also impact your cognitive health. If you’re losing focus or struggling with a faded memory, adding certain foods and nutrients to your diet can support your brain health.
Let’s explore the top 6 brain-healthy foods and how you can easily include them in your daily life.
1. Fatty fish
Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, cod, and sardines are among the best for supporting concentration and focus. These fish contain omega-3 fats such as DHA, which are shown to be supportive of overall cognitive function and memory. 1,2
Additional research also showed that omega-3s can support a healthy verbal memory in older adults.2
How to get in your daily dose: Aim for at least two 4-ounce servings of fatty fish per week. You can add tuna to your salad or in a sandwich or bake salmon or cod in the oven for an easy, brain-supporting meal.
If you don’t eat fish, a plant-based algal oil supplement is another great option to get in these same omega-3 fats.
Nuts are rich in monounsaturated fats which similar to the omega-3s are vital for the brain. They are also a source of the minerals zinc and selenium, which help keep your brain healthy.3
How to get in your daily dose: Add a handful of walnuts, almonds, or pistachios to your daily repertoire. You can enjoy them as a snack, mix them with oatmeal or yogurt, or top them on your salad.
Coffee fans rejoice - your daily cup of joe can help keep your brain alert. The two main ingredients in coffee - caffeine and antioxidants, are said to be responsible for these benefits.
Drinking coffee in moderation is associated with several brain benefits such as increased alertness, improved mood, and better concentration.4,5,6
How to get in your daily dose: Consult your medical doctor for individual recommendations regarding coffee and caffeine intake and how much, if any, is best for you. Limit added sugar and cream to keep the calorie content low and the health benefits high.
4. Green leafy veggies
Leafy greens such as lettuce, kale, collard greens, and spinach are all brain-boosting veggies to include in your meal rotation.
Studies have suggested the nutrients in these greens such as vitamin K, lutein, and folate may play a role in supporting healthy brain function throughout life.7
How to get in your daily dose: One of the best things about leafy greens is how easy they are to add to your day. Mix spinach in with your morning eggs, enjoy a kale salad for lunch, or sauteed collard greens for a quick dinner side.
Blueberries are one of the best fruits for brain health. They contain powerful plant compounds called anthocyanins and have been reported to be associated with twith improved communication in the brain. In other words, they can help your brain cells talk to each other!9
In addition, eating blueberries may also support healthy memory as we age.8,9
How to get in your daily dose: Mix into a smoothie or yogurt to make a parfait, or enjoy on its own as a healthy sweet snack.
This deep-yellow spice found in curries and other Indian dishes also boasts a number of brain benefits. The active ingredient curcumin found in turmeric is thought to be responsible for its anti-inflammatory and memory-boosting benefits.
One randomized study involving older adults showed a cognitive decline over 6 months in the placebo group that was not observed in the curcumin treatment group.10It’s important to note that most studies showing these benefits used much higher doses of curcumin that can only be found in supplement form.10
How to get in your daily dose: You can add turmeric to season your food, but adding a daily turmeric supplement with BioPerine may improve absorption.
Help boost your brainpower through nutrition
Including these top 6 foods for brain health can help support your focus, memory, and overall cognitive health now and for years to come.
If you don’t eat enough of these foods, taking quality supplements can help provide peace of mind and conveniently complement these brain-boosting benefits. Naturelo offers several supplements that contain these brain-boosting nutrients such as omega-3s, turmeric, and multivitamins to support your nutritional needs.
- Witte AV, Kerti L, Hermannstädter HM, Fiebach JB, Schreiber SJ, Schuchardt JP, Hahn A, Flöel A. Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids improve brain function and structure in older adults. Cereb Cortex. 2014 Nov;24(11):3059-68. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bht163. Epub 2013 Jun 24. PMID: 23796946.
- Külzow N, Witte AV, Kerti L, Grittner U, Schuchardt JP, Hahn A, Flöel A. Impact of Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation on Memory Functions in Healthy Older Adults. J Alzheimers Dis. 2016;51(3):713-25. doi: 10.3233/JAD-150886. PMID: 26890759.
- Wang, X., Wang, H., Zhang, F., Cui, Y., Zhang, D., & Shen, X. (2022). Threshold effects and interactive effects of total zinc and selenium intake on cognitive function in older adults. Clinical Nutrition ESPEN, 47, 383–390. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clnesp.2021.11.001
- Cappelletti S, Piacentino D, Sani G, Aromatario M. Caffeine: cognitive and physical performance enhancer or psychoactive drug? Curr Neuropharmacol. 2015 Jan;13(1):71-88. doi: 10.2174/1570159X13666141210215655. Erratum in: Curr Neuropharmacol. 2015;13(4):554. Daria, Piacentino [corrected to Piacentino, Daria]. PMID: 26074744; PMCID: PMC4462044.
- Alasmari F. Caffeine induces neurobehavioral effects through modulating neurotransmitters. Saudi Pharm J. 2020 Apr;28(4):445-451. doi: 10.1016/j.jsps.2020.02.005. Epub 2020 Feb 17. PMID: 32273803; PMCID: PMC7132598.
- Pasman WJ, Boessen R, Donner Y, Clabbers N, Boorsma A. Effect of Caffeine on Attention and Alertness Measured in a Home-Setting, Using Web-Based Cognition Tests. JMIR Res Protoc. 2017 Sep 7;6(9):e169. doi: 10.2196/resprot.6727. PMID: 28882811; PMCID: PMC5608989.
- Morris MC, Wang Y, Barnes LL, Bennett DA, Dawson-Hughes B, Booth SL. Nutrients and bioactives in green leafy vegetables and cognitive decline: Prospective study. Neurology. 2018 Jan 16;90(3):e214-e222. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000004815. Epub 2017 Dec 20. PMID: 29263222; PMCID: PMC5772164.
- Miller MG, Hamilton DA, Joseph JA, Shukitt-Hale B. Dietary blueberry improves cognition among older adults in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Eur J Nutr. 2018 Apr;57(3):1169-1180. doi: 10.1007/s00394-017-1400-8. Epub 2017 Mar 10. PMID: 28283823.
- McNamara RK, Kalt W, Shidler MD, McDonald J, Summer SS, Stein AL, Stover AN, Krikorian R. Cognitive response to fish oil, blueberry, and combined supplementation in older adults with subjective cognitive impairment. Neurobiol Aging. 2018 Apr;64:147-156. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2017.12.003. Epub 2017 Dec 12. PMID: 29458842; PMCID: PMC5822748.
- Amalraj A, Pius A, Gopi S, Gopi S. Biological activities of curcuminoids, other biomolecules from turmeric and their derivatives - A review. J Tradit Complement Med. 2016 Jun 15;7(2):205-233. doi: 10.1016/j.jtcme.2016.05.005. PMID: 28417091; PMCID: PMC5388087.