You probably won’t find it all that surprising to know that what you eat can have significant effects on your cognition. What you eat can particularly affect your episodic memory. Some studies, have shown that a low intake of omega-3 fatty acids can be a contributing factor to both depression and memory loss. On the other hand, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables have been shown to prevent, and in some cases even reverse stress related cognitive defects. Higher fish and vegetable consumption has also been significantly associated with a slower rate of age-related cognitive decline.
The immune system is also strongly influenced by what we eat, choosing plenty of fruits & vegetables containing Vitamin C is a good way to strengthen and protect your functioning.
The Mediterranean diet —rich in vegetables, legumes, fruit, nuts, whole-grains, fish and moderate amounts of alcohol (particularly red wine) and low in meat, poultry and dairy products— is often used as the prime example of a heart healthy diet, and studies suggest it can also be beneficial to your cognitive health.
One of the reasons that this diet is healthy for both your heart and head is that it contains low levels of saturated fats, and also is packed full of vitamins and minerals. Diets like this reduce your risk of high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity – which are all known to contribute to memory loss.
Watch the video to learn more about how episodic memory impacts your life
Tips to improve episodic memory with healthy eating
- Make a food plan – At the start of each week plan out what you are going to eat for each meal. Knowing this in advance means that you can prepare well, by buying everything you will need in advance.
- Sunday meal prep – A good way to spend some time on a Sunday, is to prepare some food for the week ahead. This is a great way to save time, and will mean you spend less of your evenings having to cook your meals. Have a look online for some great meal prep tips.
- Omega-3 fatty acids – The reason that fish such as tuna and salmon are often called ‘brain food’ is because they contain omega-3 fatty acids, which have been proven to reduce cognitive decline, as well as having positive effects on memory performance. Although fish is a great source of omega-3, there are alternatives if you are vegetarian or if fish isn’t to your taste.
- Chocolate can be good for you! – eating healthily doesn’t mean having to go without chocolate. Dark chocolate is loaded with organic compounds that function as antioxidants. These can help your cardiovascular system feed your nerve cells and help to protect them. A square of dark chocolate a day can be good for you.
- Spice up your life – Spices like cinnamon can help maintain and preserve your memory. Try adding some to your coffee, smoothies, or pasta.
- Nuts – Nuts and seeds also have loads of health benefits. Particularly if you’re vegetarian or vegan they can be a fantastic source of protein. They can also have really positive effects on your cognition. For example, pumpkin seeds are very high in zinc and vitamin E, which have both been shown to have positive effects on memory.
- Green vegetables – We don’t need to be told how beneficial leafy green vegetables are for our health. But for those of you who are averse to eating all of your greens there are alternative ways to gain the benefits while still enjoying your food.
- Caffeine isn’t all bad – the caffeine that is in coffee and tea has been proved to have positive cognitive benefits. Try them now and then without milk, as dairy products can mitigate these positive effects. Avoid sugar in your coffee and tea as well.
You can also access the full Healthy Habits programme for FREE below:
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Download the MyCognition HOME app now and you will get an additional free license for a member of your family or cared one.
If living or working in London, you can have a free MyCognition PRO license through the NHS Good Thinking programme at https://www.good-thinking.uk/resources/mycognition/
The apps are available on any iOS or Android devices.
MyCognition apps are regulated by the MHRA as a CE medical device with NHS-digital and ORCHA approval. Both apps also include a dedicated e-learning programme on how to build and maintain Healthy Habits.
Please contact us if you wish to use MyCognition PRO or MyCognition ED for your organisation at a discounted price.