If you are looking for the best vitamins and minerals for better memory you have come to the right place. Having a good memory is essential to succeed in exams and it can even help you in your work or day-to-day activities. If you have always had good memory but seem to be experiencing a decline over the years, it could be because of smoking or excess alcohol intake as well as normal aging. Medication such as antidepressants, anti-anxiety pills, antihistamines and tranquilizers used for sleep disorders can also lead to loss of memory. Sometimes, a traumatic incident such as an accident or a tragic phase in life can cause stress which in turn may affect brain function and lead to poor memory. Another common precursor to poor memory is nutritional deficiency. Whatever the reason behind your memory related problems-whether acquired after a surgery, or an accident, or due to an inherent nutritional deficiency, the following list of best Vitamins and Minerals for better memory will help boost your cognitive ability and improve brain function.
1. The B group Vitamins (B Complex)
B group vitamins are water-soluble vitamins that aid in various functions of the human body. There are 8 vitamins in this group. B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, and B12. They play a crucial role in keeping us healthy by performing functions such as breakdown of food into individual nutrients to keeping brain alert and active.
- Vitamin B1 found in whole grains, peanuts, dark leafy greens, and fermented food products such as yogurt and molasses aids cell reproduction that directly affects the grey area (learning and cognitive) of the brain.
- B2 found in almonds, milk, rice, eggs, spinach, soybeans and Brussels sprouts performs the function of antioxidants and aids reproduction of blood cells. This helps better distribution of oxygen not only to the brain but also to all parts of the body.
- B3 found in yeast, milk, red meat, beans and green vegetables helps improve the good cholesterol in the body. It is not directly responsible to boost memory but absence of bad cholesterol promotes a feeling of wellbeing.
- B5, small quantities of which is present in all fresh fruits, vegetables and lean meat, helps produce sex and stress related hormones. As mentioned earlier, stress leads to lapse in memory. Consumption of fresh and organic produce helps keep the stress hormone balance and prevent undue memory loss.
- B6, B9 and B12 play important role in amino acid regulation as well as production of serotonin, melatonin and epinephrine. Serotonin is a compound present in the RBC that acts as a neurotransmitter. Low brain cell production of serotonin leads to various problems like disturbed sleep, loss of memory, and sometimes depression. Serotonin is not found in food but is produced from tryptophan, which is a protein. However, the absorption of tryptophan is tricky. Eat a complete meal with fresh and dark greens, protein, and complex carbohydrates to induce absorption of tryptophan into the brain, which in turn helps boost production of serotonin with the help of B6, B9 and B12. These vitamins are present in poultry, fatty fish like salmon and tuna, sunflower and safflower seeds, shellfish, beef, pork, leafy greens such as broccoli, spinach, and kale, brown rice, carrots, and cheese.
- Vitamin B7 is responsible for the health of hair, nails and skin. Although it doesn’t directly affect the brain function, it is important to keep the body healthy and stress free.
2. Vitamin C
- Vitamin C found in all citrus fruits and vegetables like broccoli is an antioxidant that helps boost memory by neutralizing free radicals that damage the cells in the body as well as the brain. The antioxidants help keep the brain cells healthy and active and help boost functions like memory, concentration, skill in math and other cognitive ability.
- Citrus fruits rich in Vitamin C include lemons, oranges, and kiwi fruit. Vegetables of squash family, bell peppers especially yellow, and dark leafy greens are also rich in vitamin C. Although not a citrus, guava fruit is rich in vitamin C. Other reliable sources of vitamin C are berries, cooked tomatoes, papaya, green beans and broccoli.
- Vitamin C is also an antidepressant because it also aids the production of serotonin from tryptophan.
3. Vitamin E
- Vitamin E is important because it reduces the damage caused by a stroke. Vitamin E is essential for preventing the spread of free radicals in the body.
- Foods rich in Vitamin E are Leafy greens, nuts, sunflower seeds, avocado, shellfish, fish, olive oil, tomatoes, Palm oil, bran, barley, oats, and rice.
- Since vitamin E is fat soluble, it can be best absorbed by combining the mentioned foods with a healthy source of fat like vegetable oil rich in Omega-3 fatty acids.
4. Minerals essential for good memory and cognitive function
- Zinc is found in mushrooms, oysters, red meat, poultry, beans, nuts, grains, and dairy. Zinc helps with mental function and improves the cognitive ability. It is required for better learning ability and prevention of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Food sources of Magnesium include spinach, fish, squash and pumpkin seeds, beans and lentils, brown whole grains such as wheat and brown rice, avocadoes, bananas, dry figs and dark chocolate. Magnesium is important for short-term memory as well as learning ability.
- Foods rich in Iodine are Cranberries, Yogurt, Navy Beans, raw cheese, potatoes, kelp and other edible seaweeds. Low levels of Iodine leads to memory impairment, allergies and dry skin along with gout.
Eating a well-balanced meal is important for a healthy life including but not limited to good memory. The important factor is to include fresh and organic produce as much as possible into your daily diet. Eat salads for vitamins and sufficient protein for muscle health as well as tryptophan. Include complex carbohydrates in your meal for absorption of protein into blood and tryptophan into the brain. Also include dairy like milk, yogurt and cheese for a variety of benefits like calcium, minerals and vitamins. You can also rely on supplements for they boost the levels of essential vitamins and minerals faster than consuming plenty of food. If a blood test concludes that you are already deficient in said vitamins and minerals, consult a good doctor for a prescription of adequate and appropriate dosage of supplements. Make sure you also get in adequate exercise so as to boost brain function. All these will set you on your way to a better brain function and improve memory.