6 Surprising Memory-Boosting Foods

April 30, 2021
Exams & Revision


Do you know what foods boost your memory? You’ll be very surprised when you find out…

Woman choosing between healthy or unhealthy food illustration Free Vector
Memory-boosting foods. Illustration by Freepik


Research shows that what we eat affects our brain power. There are certain types of food that will change the molecular structure of your brain (wow), which in turn improves your cognitive functions. 

In psychology, cognition refers to the mental processes like knowledge, problem solving and of course, memory! So without further ado, here are the 6 memory-boosting foods you should incorporate into your diet.

1. Something smells fishy

Right, so fish has been on the menu for years and is often widely considered a superfood. Particularly fatty fish and seafood, which is high in omega-3 — an essential nutrient involved in learning and memory function.

Our brains are made up of 60% fat, so we need to keep it functioning optimally. To do this, we need to eat more omega-3, which is responsible for building brain and nerve cells. 

2. Eat your greens

You know when your parents are always telling you to “eat your greens”, but you still ignore them? Well, I hate to break it to you, but they’re right. According to Harvard Health, the best brain-boosting foods are leafy greens. This includes: kale, spinach and broccoli are high folate (folic acid).

Folic acid has been proven to prevent memory decline in ageing populations, like dementia and Alzheimer's. So if you want to ace that exam, you should add a daily dose of green veg next to those nuggets.

3. A cup of joe to go

Many of us rely on caffeine to stay alert and energised, especially in the classroom. Research shows that coffee and green tea — which are high in caffeine — help support the Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), an important structure for learning and memory. 

BDNF is associated highly with the hypothalamus and hippocampus — key memory areas! So eating foods high in this component means it converts into metabolic energy that improves cognitive function. In layman’s terms: it helps to keep the cogs turning allowing you to retain information as you learn. A large coffee to go, please?

4. It’s no yolk

Eggs, whether poached, scrambled or boiled, are another memory-boosting food. One study compared the effects of eating egg whites vs. egg yolks on a group of 9-14 year olds. They found that children who ate egg yolks had higher test scores in tasks that measured short-term memory. 

5. Can’t stop the beet

Beetroot is widely considered a health food that lowers blood pressure and improves performance in exercise. The latest research has found that beets also improve memory function because it is high in nitrate; a chemical that supports cerebral blood flow.

We suggest drinking a glass of beetroot juice or chopping them up in a salad — brain power!

Chocolate bar cartoon icon illustration. Free Vector
70% Chocolate improves memory function. Illustration by Freepik.

6. Crazy for cocoa

Dark chocolate is high in flavonoids, which contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Now, there are added benefits that support neuroplasticity (aka, the brain’s ability to grow synaptic connections).

This study found that 48g of 70% cocoa dark chocolate increased memory function just 30-minutes after eating it. Finally! We now have permission to eat chocolate because it’s healthy and good for memory. 

Before you go…

Next time you go to study or revise for an exam, consider snacking on these foods to boost your memory. Your brain needs energy to focus, but make sure you choose the best snacks that help to grow it!

Featured image credit: Freepik

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Naida Allen

Naida is a witty wordsmith with a love for writing and reading. She is a Content Writer and Social Media Executive at Tutor House — the top UK provider of online and in-person tuition. She specialises in topics relating to mental & physical wellbeing and career advice.

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