What do popular TV characters Sheldon Cooper, Dr. House and Lexie Grey have in common? They all possess photographic memory, i.e. the uncanny ability to memorize data, images, and sounds with extreme precision.
The bad news is that only a very few people have the rare gift of photographic memory. The rest of us have no option but to adopt various memory improving techniques like making acronyms, developing visual and acoustic links, and eating the right kinds of food. Over the past few years, research has revealed that certain foods can stimulate cognitive functions and improve memory. Just like other parts of the body, the brain also requires nutrients, and some nutrients are more beneficial than others.
Five Types of Brain Food That Will Improve Your Memory
1. Binge on berries
All forms of berries contain certain compounds known as anthocyanins and polyphenols which can potentially improve short-term memory. In fact, research conducted at Harvard in 2012 revealed that berries also delay the onset of memory loss usually associated with ageing. Therefore, besides boosting your memory for your next exam, berries will also keep your mind alert and active in the long run. To ensure a stellar performance on your test, have a cup of blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, and/or raspberries with your breakfast every morning. If you aren't a big fan of raw fruits, add some berries to pancakes or muffins or make a fruit smoothie.
2. Go green with kale, broccoli, and spinach
Never enjoyed eating green leafy vegetables? Would you like them better if you knew that they could boost your memory? As it so happens, these vegetables are rich in folic acid and Vitamin K, both of which enhance cognitive functions and brainpower. A study conducted at Tufts University proved that people with high levels of folic acid in their blood had better retention ability than others. The problem with green leafy vegetables is that students don't always enjoy eating them. Having said as much, you can always try out innovative ways of cooking spinach or broccoli. For instance, bake a batch of kale chips, try making scrambled eggs with spinach, toss baby spinach leaves with a bit of balsamic vinegar and olive oil for a quick salad, or melt your favorite cheese over steamed broccoli.
3. Fantastic fish
Some varieties of fish like salmon, sardines, trout and mackerel contain high amounts of essential fatty acids or EFAs. One particular kind of EFA known as omega-3 fatty acid facilitates faster communication between neurons within the brain. By doing so, it increases a neuron's productivity and consequently, your mind can make links and associations in a more precise manner. If you are rather bored of the same old ways of cooking salmon, try making salmon burritos with grilled vegetables or braise some salmon in oriental flavors. Similarly, you can combine sardines with noodles or make a wholesome sardine soup. Look for innovative recipes online!
4. Go nuts
In the world of healthy foods, nuts are quite the rock stars! Nuts like almonds, walnuts, cashews, etc. are rich sources of Vitamin E and unsaturated fats. While Vitamin E irons out any glitches in your brain's cognitive pathway, unsaturated fatty acids prevent the deposition of cholesterol along the arteries thereby ensuring that your brain gets proper oxygen supply. So, it's about time you replace your bag of chips with a packet of nuts. Roasted and salted nuts make for a healthy snack between meals; be sure to buy some on your next visit to the grocery store.
5. Love Mexican food?
Black beans, which are commonly found in Latin American cuisine, contain a compound known as thiamine which is required for the synthesis of acetylcholine. This neurotransmitter plays a crucial role in the part of the brain usually associated with memory and retention ability. In terms of cooking black beans, one can't really go wrong with a burrito or an enchilada or the traditional favorite, black beans and rice.
Eating the right kind of food is an easy way to improve your memory. If you supplement your long study sessions with generous potions of these foods, not only will you perform better in your tests, you will also delay the onset of ageing related memory loss in the long run.