Diet and Memory: Is There a Connection?

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Updated on Dec 11, 2013

Grade Level: 9th to 12th; Type: Social Science

This experiment will evaluate if memory can be improved by altering diet to include foods that are believed to improve brain function.

  • Does diet have any effect on memory?

Some fruits, vegetables, grains and fish are believed to be able to improve the health of your brain. A diet that is rich in these foods may improve your ability to remember and may even protect against diseases like Alzheimer’s. In this experiment, you will evaluate whether or not a diet that is supplemented with these brain-enhancing foods can help improve memory.

  • "Memory-boosting” food (e.g., cruciferous vegetables, leafy green vegetables, red/purple fruits and vegetables, onions, fish, and food rich in folic acid)
  • Approximately 30 test subjects
  • Computer
  • Printer
  • Notebook for analyzing results

  1. Research food that is believed to improve memory.
  2. Create several memory tests to give participants. Example tests include the following: Read a list of 25 items. After 10 minutes, ask participants to write down as many of these items as they can remember; Show a picture containing many items. Allow participants to study it for 1 minute. After an hour, ask test subjects to list items that they observed in the picture; Ask test subjects to describe the weather from each day over the past week.
  3. Ask test subjects to take your memory tests. Record the results from each test.
  4. Ask half of your test subjects to change their diet for approximately 3 weeks to include an increased amount of memory-enhancing food. Ask this group to keep a food diary so that you have an idea of how well each test subject adhered to their “new” diet. The other half of your test subjects should follow their usual diet.
  5. After 3 weeks ask all of your test subjects to repeat the memory tests. Change each test slightly so that they are not the same as they were before. Analyze the new tests. How much of an effect (if any) does food/diet appear to have on memory? Do those who altered their diets perform better on your memory tests compared to the group that continued their normal diet?

Terms/Concepts: Diet and memory, memory-enhancing food

Reference: TodayHealth. “Forgetful? Eat Memory-Boosting Food.”

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