15 Indian Food to Increase Memory Power

indian food to increase memory power

If you’re looking to improve your memory, you should make sure to have a nutritious diet in place.

The truth is, if you eat highly inflammatory foods like french fries and pizza, your mental performance will suffer. Eat the right foods, however, and you’ll feel better, look better, and think clearer.

Indian cuisine has some of my favorite foods. They don’t just taste great but they also support your brain health. This post explores 15 Indian food to increase memory power.

#1 Amla

Amla has been used by people as medicine for many years. However, science has only now been confirming what these people knew all along – Amla fruit is particularly good for your brain.

Amla improves your brain blood flow. By doing so, it provides you the nutrients and oxygen for better memory. Amla also contains plenty of vitamin C, which is an antioxidant that protects your nerve cells from inflammation. (1)

The Research

Research from 2007 found that Amla has anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and memory-boosting properties. As a result, it can help promote your cognition and learning, along with potentially protecting you from cognitive decline. (2)

amla, indian food to increase memory power

#2 Eggs

Eggs are a nutrient powerhouse. Besides having choline, which boosts your memory and creativity, eggs are also packed with other brain nutrients, including:

  • Folate (Vitamin B9)
  • Lutein
  • Selenium

Lutein is an antioxidant that many of us know for its eye health benefits. But it’s just as good for your brain. It helps your brain fight oxidative stress which is linked to aging.

Folate, on the other hand, reduces your homocysteine levels. Homocysteine is a byproduct of eating meat. It isn’t usually bad for us, but too much of it can create plaque in your blood vessels – including those in the brain.

The Research

An extensive 2018 review found that lutein in eggs improves your cognition and protects the brain from aging. To quote the study review: “Emerging but consistent research suggests that lutein has the potential to influence cognition across the life-span and that sufficient intakes during mid to late adulthood may help to ward off age-related cognitive decline.” (3)

eggs indian food to increase memory power

#3 Turmeric

Turmeric is one of the healthiest spices in the world, and it originally comes from India.

As it turns out, it’s also one of the best Indian food to increase memory power.

In the long list of turmeric brain benefits, there are a few that stand out.

One is that it boosts your serotonin (the happy brain chemical). It also improves your memory and protects your brain cells from inflammation and oxidative stress.

And as you may know, oxidative stress and inflammation are often linked to cognitive decline, memory loss, and other neurodegenerative diseases.

The Research

Here’s the thing: it wasn’t long ago that people thought our brains only change and grow during childhood. But recent discoveries showed that our brains stay ‘plastic’ even into old age. When you learn something new, new neurons are created, and so are new brain cell connections.

Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) is one of the reasons why this happens. BDNF increases the growth of new neurons in your brain.

On the other hand, disorders such as Alzheimer’s link to low BDNF levels.

What does turmeric have with all of this? See below:

A study led by Ying Xu found that stress and other factors can lead to low BDNF levels, which then leads to cognitive decline and other neurological diseases. However, they found that curcumin in turmeric blocks the negative effects of stress – keeping your BDNF levels high. (4)

turmeric_brain_memory_food

#4 Beets

As people get older, their brain blood flow typically decreases.

This leads to poor oxygen and nutrient supply to brain cells, which ultimately results in poor memory, lack of verbal fluency, and cognitive decline.

Beets fight these symptoms by enhancing blood supply to your brain.

See, they contain nitrates, which are compounds that raise your nitric oxide levels.

Nitric oxide, in turn, dilates your blood vessels – making them wider. Ultimately, this results in improved blood flow in your brain, which helps to increase your memory power.

The Research

A 2010 study with older adults tested the effects of low-nitrate and high-nitrate diet. Elderly people that consumed lots of nitrates (such as those found in beets) had better blood flow in their prefrontal cortex than those that didn’t eat a nitrate-rich diet. (5)

beets as indian food to increase memory power

#5 Oily Fish

I think we all heard the doctor say “eat more fish” at one point in our life. The reason for this is simple: fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as EPA and DHA.

In addition to improving your cardiovascular health, omega-3 fatty acids boost your brain function.

In fact, your brain is largely made up of DHA. So by adding more DHA to your diet, you give your brain the blocks to repair itself and make new neurons.

In addition, omega-3 fatty acids help your brain:

  • Produce feel-good neurotransmitters (serotonin, dopamine, etc.)
  • Improve neuron communication

Salmon or sardines are among the best foods to increase your memory power. They contain plenty of omega-3s which, as we’ve seen, keep your brain sharp.

The Research

A 2018 study review led by Sun GY concluded that DHA may help protect your brain cells throughout life, along with boosting different brain functions. (6)

fish_indian_memory_food

#6 Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate contains flavonoids that are antioxidants by nature, which means they protect your brain cells from damage, lower inflammation, and improve blood flow.

Plus, I think we can agree that dark chocolate tastes pretty darn good.

Just make sure it has at least 75-85% cocoa in it. The more the better. Milk chocolate is low in cocoa and it brings more harm than good.

The Research

A food nutrition paper published by Spanish researcher Dr. Efraín Santiago-Rodríguez tested the effects of dark chocolate on brain waves of healthy people. The study found that dark chocolate increased Alpha and Beta waves in people. While alpha waves increase your relaxation and creativity, beta waves improve your focus and alertness. A win-win combo. (7)

dark chocolate as indian food to increase memory power

#7 Kale & Other Leafy Vegetables

Dark leafy green vegetables like kale are all-around health food. Not only do they reduce inflammation, improve gut health, and bolster the immune system… but they also protect and boost your brain health.

Kale contains antioxidants that fight free radicals. In addition to this, it helps to increase blood flow and oxygen supply to your brain cells, which results in faster thinking and sharper memory.

The Research

A study from Rush University in Chicago found that people who ate 1-2 servings of dark leafy greens per day had the brainpower of a person that was 11 years younger than them, on average. (8)

kale_indian_brain_food

#8 Water

You may wonder why we’ve included water on this list.

The answer is simple; water is essential for all living beings. Your brain and heart are 73% water. If you’re dehydrated, all of your bodily functions will slow down, including your cognition.

If you don’t drink enough water, you may experience brain fog, poor memory, and mood swings.

So before taking any supplement, or looking for the best ‘brain food,’ make sure you’re well-hydrated in the first place!

For everyone, the amount of water they need is different. Generally, 2-3 liter of water per day is the recommended minimum. If you sweat or exercise a lot, you’ll probably need more.

The Research

A review published in 2017 found that dehydration can lead to poor mental performance and mood. Especially in children.  (9)

water

#9 Ginger

Ginger not only adds a great taste to your food, it’s also good for your brain.

See, inflammation and oxidative stress can both speed up the aging process. Many experts believe they are among the main drivers of neurodegenerative diseases.

Ginger is shown to protect your brain by quenching inflammation and oxidative stress.

It’s also shown to directly improve memory and other cognitive functions.

The Research

There was a study from 2012 that included 60 middle-aged women. The researchers tested the effects of ginger on their cognitive function. The results showed that women who consumed ginger had better working memory and reaction time than those who didn’t consume it. (10)

ginger_indian_memory_food

#10 Pasture-Raised Chicken

Naturally raised, organic chicken is very nutritious (and appetizing). It’s a good source of dietary choline, B6 and B12 vitamins, and lean protein.

Choline is essential for creating acetylcholine. This is a brain chemical that regulates your memory.

B vitamins, on the other hand, help to create neurotransmitters like dopamine, which boost your motivation and focus.

The Research

Research shows that choline, the same nutrient found in chicken, can help prevent memory impairments and boost overall cognition. (11)

chicken, indian food to increase memory power

#11 Tomatoes

Tomatoes are a part of many popular Indian dishes, and they’re certainly one of the best Indian food to increase memory power.

  • See, tomatoes contain lycopene. This is a powerful antioxidant that protects your neurons from inflammation and damage.

Okay, by this point we’ve learned about the importance of antioxidants. So what makes lycopene so special?

It turns out, lycopene can activate certain genes in your body which regulate inflammation and brain growth.

Not only that, people with cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s seem to have low lycopene levels in their blood. Suggesting that lycopene might play a role in preventing cognitive decline.

The Research

One of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease is having high amounts of amyloid plaque in the brain. And here’s positive news: A 2017 research led by Sinwoo Hwang suggests that lycopene protects your brain cells from death otherwise caused by beta-amyloids. (12)

tomatoes_lycopene_indian_memory_food

#12 Black Lentils

Black lentils, and lentils in general, belong among the most nutritious foods out there.

They are chock-full of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, all of which are critical for your brain performance and overall health.

The Research

In a study with children, higher intake of fiber was linked with better cognitive performance. The good news is, you can easily increase your fiber intake by adding more lentils to your diet. (13)

black lentils, indian food to increase memory power

#13 Soy Yogurt

If you’re not a fan of dairy, you can still enjoy the probiotic benefits of yogurt by eating its vegan version.

Soy yogurt is, you’ve guessed it, made from soy milk and starter cultures. You add probiotic cultures to soy milk and let it ferment. In a few days, the good bacteria multiply. The finished product is a tasty and creamy beverage filled with beneficial bacteria.

These bacteria colonize your gut, a place where over 90% of your serotonin is made.

Serotonin is your brain’s happy chemical, and it’s critical for optimal health.

What’s more, your gut and your brain communicate through the vagus nerve. This link is also known as ‘ the gut-brain connection’.

So what does all of this mean for you?

It simply means that the healthier your gut is, the better your mental performance may be.

And the best way to achieve a healthy gut is by eating probiotic foods like soy yogurt.

The Research

Certain strains of probiotic bacteria can influence your mood. This was found in a 2019 study which tested the effects of Bifidobacterium breve A-1 on the depression and anxiety of volunteers. This strain of probiotics improved mood of these patients – reducing their anxiety and depression symptoms. (14)

soy_yogurt_indian_brain_food

#14 Almonds

If there’s only one reason why almonds are good for your brain, it’s because they’re high in vitamin E.

See, vitamin E is an antioxidant, a powerful one at that.

Your brain needs it to fight inflammation and free radicals. Getting enough vitamin E may help against memory loss, cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s, as you’ll see below.

The Research

A large study with 2800 older women tested the effects of vitamin E on their brain health. The study found that women who got vitamin E showed “less cognitive decline with age.”  (15)

Another study showed that vitamin E, such as the one found in almonds, may protect your brain from the terrible Alzheimer’s disease. (16)


almonds, indian food to increase memory power

#15 Beans

Beans are similar to lentils in a sense that they’re packed with fiber.

As we explained, fiber supports your general health, including digestion, heart health, and blood flow to the brain.

Fiber reduces your appetite and food cravings. It also provides you with a sustained release of energy, as opposed to simple carbs which spike your blood sugar and cause brain fog.

However, fiber also stimulates the growth of your friendly gut bacteria. The same friendly bacteria that may regulate your mood and cognition. In fact, when these microorganisms are happy, you’re likely to be happy too.

That’s why beans belong among the best Indian food to increase memory power.

The Research

A paper published in March 2018 examined the effects of gut health on the human brain. The paper found that your gut health directly affects your cognition and mood. (17) Therefore, the conclusion is that fiber such as that in beans can enhance your mental state by improving your gut microbiome.

beans, indian food to increase memory power

Conclusion to Indian Food to Increase Memory Power

So there you have it – from tomatoes to turmeric, these were the healthiest Indian food to increase memory power.

I’m curious, what’s your favorite Indian brain food?

Do you think other food should be included on this list?

Let me know in the comments below.

References

References
  1. Current Trends in the Research of Emblica Officinalis (Amla): A Pharmacological Perspective. (source)
  2. Indian Gooseberry – WebMD. (source)
  3. A Comprehensive Review of Eggs, Choline, and Lutein on Cognition Across the Life-span. (source)
  4. Curcumin reverses the effects of chronic stress on behavior, the HPA axis, BDNF expression and phosphorylation of CREB. (source)
  5. Acute effect of a high nitrate diet on brain perfusion in older adults. (source)
  6. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA): An essential nutrient and a nutraceutical for brain health and diseases. (source)
  7. Effects of Dark Chocolate Intake on Brain Electrical Oscillations in Healthy People. (source)
  8. Green leafy vegetables can keep your cognitive functions from declining by 11 years: New Study. (source)
  9. Effects of Dehydration on Brain Functioning: A Life-Span Perspective. (source)
  10. Zingiber officinale Improves Cognitive Function of the Middle-Aged Healthy Women. (source)
  11. Brain foods: the effects of nutrients on brain function. (source)
  12. Inhibitory Effect of Lycopene on Amyloid-β-Induced Apoptosis in Neuronal Cells. (source)
  13. Dietary Fiber Is Positively Associated with Cognitive Control among Prepubertal Children. (source)
  14. Effect of Bifidobacterium breve A-1 on anxiety and depressive symptoms in schizophrenia: A proof-of-concept study. (source)
  15. Vitamin E and cognitive decline in older persons. (source)
  16. Vitamin E and Alzheimer’s Disease—Is It Time for Personalized Medicine? (source)
  17. Interplay Between the Gut-Brain Axis, Obesity and Cognitive Function. (source)

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About Valentino Muza 15 Articles
Valentino is a nutritionist, author, and health coach. He's been researching nutrition and brain health for over 5 years, and has created Valentino's Naturals to help people maximize their mental performance. When he isn't writing, Valentino loves to travel around Europe, spend time in nature, and research topics within his field of expertise. More...

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