What are the best foods for memory?

  • Your brain function is directly related to the foods you put in your body.
  • Several specific foods are directly linked to improved memory.
  • Moderation is key to adding any foods to your diet.

The types of food you put in your body directly impact your brain function and memory. The older we get, the harder it is to remember everything we need to do. Our lives tend to be filled with sticky notes and lists to help us remember.

Fortunately, we can improve our memory and our brainpower by adding these 10 foods to our diet.

In a medically reviewed article by Kathy W. Warwick, R.D., CDE, we have identified several nutritious foods we can add to our diets to improve our memory and help us function at a higher level.


Here are the 10 best foods to improve your memory

Fatty fish

If you’re familiar with the term “brain food,” you likely have heard about the benefits of fatty fish. 

According to an article published in the National Library of Medicine, about 60% of your brain is comprised of fat, and around 30% of your brain fat is made from omega-3 fatty acids.

Fatty fish that is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids are:

  • Salmon
  • Trout
  • Albacore tuna
  • Herring
  • Sardines

Several studies also point to the connection between omega-3 fatty acids and the slowing of age-related mental declines and fighting off Alzheimer’s disease.

Another study found that people who regularly consume fish tend to have more gray matter in their brains, containing the majority of the cells that control memory, decision making, and emotion.

If you’re looking to improve your memory, consuming more fatty fish is one of the top foods you should add to your diet. 

Shellfish and crustaceans

Vitamin B-12 has been linked to preventing memory loss, and shellfish and crustaceans are a great source of this vitamin. 

Shellfish and crustaceans that are high in vitamin B-12 are:

  • Oysters
  • Mussels
  • Shrimp
  • Clams
  • Crayfish
  • Lobster

Keep in mind, some of these foods are high in cholesterol, so don’t go overboard, or you may have other health issues associated with high cholesterol.


Walnuts, also containing omega-3 fatty acids, are well known for positively impacting heart health, but more research is pointing to their ability to improve your brain function. 

Walnuts make a great alternative to our usual mid-day snacks that may be less than healthy. Walnuts can be added to vegetable stir-fry, salads, and oatmeal to complement your regular meals with a significant boost in nutrients.



Those who make coffee a morning staple will be happy to know that coffee can be great for your brain function. Due to the caffeine and antioxidants in coffee, research shows the benefits of consuming this beverage are:

Increased concentration: A study published in the National Library Library of Medicine concluded caffeine consumption contributed to improved alertness and attention.

Sharpened alertness: Adenosine is a chemical messenger in your brain that tells your body you’re sleepy. Caffeine blocks this message which can increase your alertness.

Happier mood:Another study in the National Library of Medicine found that dopamine, a chemical that makes you happy, is increased with caffeine consumption.

Olive oil

Memory can be improved by controlling and reducing cholesterol levels and consuming antioxidants. Olive oil is an excellent source of monounsaturated fat which can lower LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol). 

For the best option, go with extra-virgin olive oil because it is the least processed and contains higher levels of antioxidants.


Deep colored berries, such as blueberries, contain anti-inflammatory and antioxidants like anthocyanins that can improve brain function. Brain aging and other degenerative brain diseases are slowed by antioxidants, according to this study.

Other studies show that the antioxidants in blueberries can improve communication between your brain cells, contributing to improved memory.


Eggs contain several brain health nutrients such as choline, vitamins B12 and B6, and folate. We found a series of studies that show choline includes compounds that help regulate mood and memory.

While many trending diets suggest only eating egg whites, it’s important to note that egg yolks contain the highest choline concentration. 


Other studies show that people deficient in folate, vitamin B12, and B6 may experience more depression and increased mental decline, leading to dementia and Alzheimers. Thus, while eggs themselves have not been linked to improved brain health, the nutrients found in eggs are.

Sesame seeds

Tyrosine, an amino acid, is highly concentrated in sesame seeds. The benefit of consuming tyrosine increases dopamine production, which keeps your memory sharp and your brain alert.

Other beneficial nutrients found in sesame seeds include vitamin B6, zinc, and magnesium, all of which contribute to improved memory function.

Dark chocolate

Dark chocolate is described as having a 70% or greater cocoa concentration, a stark contrast to milk chocolate which varies between 10 to 50% cocoa in it. 

Cocoa and dark chocolate tout several brain-improving compounds known as caffeine, antioxidants, and flavonoids. 

These studies show that flavonoids in chocolate help with learning and memory and may also slow down mental declines associated with age.


This powerful and nutrient-rich vegetable is high in vitamin K and antioxidants. Broccoli made the list because an increase in vitamin K in older adults has been linked to improved memory and brain function.

Key points to consider

As with any health change, always consult your doctor before making any significant changes to your diet. Moderation is one of the key elements to adding items to your diet. However, consuming too much of any one item can also have adverse effects, so it’s essential to get a balance of nutrients in your daily diet.


Ryan Luke|Ryan Luke is a father of three, husband, financial coach, full-time police lieutenant, and personal finance blogger at ArrestYourDebt.com