15 Indian Food to Increase Memory Power

indian food to increase memory power

Indian food to increase memory power – in this post, we’ll look at 15 best Indian brain foods to boost your recollection ability, word recall and cognitive function.

If you’re forgetting things, it could be due to not getting enough sleep or other reasons, such as physical activity, lifestyle, genetics, and your environment. However, it’s without a question that your diet also plays a key role in how your brain works.

The best Indian food to increase memory and concentration promotes healthy blood flow to the brain, much like the foods you’d eat to nourish and support your heart.

Eating a balanced diet that includes some of the following 15 Indian foods for brain health could help to keep your focus, memory and cognition as sharp as they can be.

#1 Amla

Amla is a fruit that’s a traditional part of Indian culture. And your brain loves it.

Just one piece of amla fruit can help improve your blood flow to the hippocampus, an area of the brain that regulates your memory and cognitive function. People who eat Amla regularly report feeling less brain fog.

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Part of the reason why amla helps the brain is thanks to its vitamin C content. Vitamin C is an antioxidant – a powerful one at that. It protects your brain cells from ‘rusting out’ due to stress, aging, or toxins. (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 the brain from cognitive decline. (2)

#2 Eggs

Eggs are a nutrient powerhouse. Many nutrients in eggs boost your brain function, but perhaps the most notable one is choline, which your brain uses to repair its neurons. Choline is also needed to form certain chemicals in the brain that regulate memory.

Now, it’d be unfair to talk just about choline here, because eggs have a whole palette of brain boosting nutrients. Most notably:

  • 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. Lutein fights oxidative stress which is linked to aging.

Folate, on the other hand, reduces your homocysteine levels. Homocysteine is a byproduct of eating meat. Too much homocysteine can irritate your blood vessels – potentially impairing blood flow to the brain.

 

Related: How to Boost Your Brain Cell Growth Naturally

 

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)

#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, one is that it boosts your serotonin aka the happy brain chemical. This can help alleviate ‘the blues’.

Turmeric also improves memory and protects your brain cells from inflammation and oxidative stress. Why is this important? Because 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, neurons are born, 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.

 RELATED: How to Boost Neurogenesis

What does turmeric have with all of this?

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)

#4 Beets

As we age, our brain blood flow declines.

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

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

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

Nitric oxide dilates and ‘loosens’ your blood vessels – making them wider. The improved blood flow that results from this will help keep your memory sharp.

Beets aren’t just for older people, though. If you’re a younger adult, beets can be effective at lifting brain fog.

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)

#5 Oily Fish

I think we’ve all heard the doctor say “eat more fish” at one point or another. 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’re feeding your brain and helping it 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 Indian foods for memory. 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)

#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, who doesn’t love the taste of good dark chocolate??

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, due to high amounts of sugar in it.

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)

#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 your brain.

Kale contains antioxidants that fight free radicals. Antioxidants in kale donate electrons to these unstable free radicals to stabilize them.

In addition to this, kale contains compounds that increase blood flow and oxygen supply to your brain cells, which helps with thought processing and 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)

#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)

#9 Ginger

Ginger is a culinary wonder that has the ability to liven up a dish, and has long been used traditionally for the treatment of various ailments.

But the latest neuroscience data shows some surprising benefits of this spice on brain health. It contains powerful anti-inflammatory compounds that can quench oxidative stress in your brain – helping to offset memory decline.

The Research

A study from 2012 recruited 60 middle-aged women and 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)

#10 Pasture-Raised Chicken

Pasture raised chicken is a tasty and nutritious Indian brain food. 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 controls 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)

#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 damage.

Lycopene can activate certain genes in your body which regulate inflammation and brain cell growth.

People who suffer from cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s seem to have low lycopene levels in their blood. Suggesting that lycopene might play a role in preventing certain neurological issues.

The Research

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

#12 Black Lentils

Black lentils, and lentils in general, belong among the best vegan foods for memory.

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

The Research

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

#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, and what you’re left with 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 critical for optimal health.

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

In other words, a healthier gut means a healthier brain, too.

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 the mood of these patients – reducing their anxiety and depression symptoms. (14)

#14 Almonds

If there’s only one reason why almonds are great Indian brain food. It’s because they’re high in vitamin E. This fat-soluble antioxidant helps to fend off oxidative stress in the brain, which is a major culprit of various conditions.

Specifically, eating almonds and other foods that are rich in vitamin E may help support your memory, cognitive function and brain health as you age.

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 supplemented vitamin E showed “less cognitive decline with age.”  (15)

Another study reported that vitamin E may protect our brain from the terrible Alzheimer’s disease. (16)


#15 Beans

Beans are similar to lentils in a sense that they’re packed with fiber. Many of us are missing out on the benefits that fiber gives – and not just for digestion but also brain health.

Fiber helps the body slow down the digestion of food, providing you with sustained and long-lasting energy. This is completely the opposite of eating refined carbs that only spike blood sugar levels and cause brain fog.

As we’ve seen, fiber also stimulates the growth of friendly gut bacteria. Which are beneficial to our cognitive well-being. 

For these reasons, I think it would be remiss of us not to include beans on this list of 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) Simply put, fibrous foods such as beans can support your brain health by improving your gut microbiome.

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 and concentration.

I’m curious, did we miss some of your favorite Indian brain food? If so, be sure to let us know in the comments below!

 

Further Reading: Can Prebiotics Support Your Brain Health?

 

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)
About Valentino M. 79 Articles
Valentino is a nutritionist, author, spiritual practitioner, and health coach. He's been researching nutrition and brain health since 2015, and has launched Valentino's Naturals to help people maximize their cognitive performance. When he isn't writing, Valentino loves to travel around Europe, spend time recharging in nature, and research topics within his field of expertise. More...

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