The food that steals your memories

It’s no secret that what you eat affects your body and your brain. But did you know certain foods could actually be stealing your memories?

It’s true. All of the wonderful memories you’ve built up over a lifetime could be wiped clean because of a few bad food choices…

Researchers from the Medical University of South Carolina recently learned that mice fed a junk food diet based on those tempting saucy, trans-fat-filled fast-food burgers for a few months experienced dramatic memory loss.

They were unable to tell the difference between certain objects and lost their spatial memory, which made it really hard for them to navigate through a maze. Basically, their brain function went down the tubes. And research shows the connection between a junk food diet and poor brain function doesn’t just apply to mice. It can happen to you too…

A 2014 study showed that young and middle-aged men who ate the most food containing trans-fats performed worse on memory tests than men who ate less trans-fats.

And a study conducted earlier this year by researchers in Australia also found that healthy young people who ate sweet, fatty junk food diets struggled with learning and memory more than their peers who ate a healthy diet.

But I have good news. Just because a long-term junk food binge has taken a toll on your memory, doesn’t mean you have to live with a mediocre memory forever.

In their study, researchers from the Medical University of South Carolina also found that changing your diet can reverse the memory loss that accompanies a few too many Big Macs. Mice who returned to normal, healthy diet for eight weeks after eating junk food for 16 weeks were able to restore their memory to full function.

So if you want to keep your memory sharp as you age, you should shun the fast-food drive thru and instead turn to brain-boosting foods that will help keep your mind and memory strong, like:

  • Salmon
  • Blueberries
  • Olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Dark chocolate
  • Kale
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Avocado
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Rosemary
  • Turmeric
  • Cinnamon

And besides eating well, you should also exercise daily. Exercise has been shown time and time again to improve your memory and thinking skills.  So get yourself moving for at least 30 minutes per day.

  1. Sims-Robinson, et al. “Dietary Reversal Ameliorates Short- and Long-Term Memory Deficits Induced by High-fat Diet Early in Life.” PLOS ONE (2016).
  2. “Western-style diet linked to state-dependent memory inhibition.”ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 13, 2016.
  3. “15 Brain Foods to Boost Focus and Memory.” Dr. Axe. Retrieved October 13, 2016.
  4. “Regular exercise changes the brain to improve memory, thinking skills.” Harvard Medical School- Harvard Health Publications. Retrieved October 13, 2016.
Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine,, and