Best foods to boost brain function
The foods we eat can have a big impact on the structure and health of our brains. Eating a brain-boosting diet can support both short- and long-term brain function.
Below are 12 best foods to boost brain function and memory:
Oily fish are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s help build membranes around each cell in the body, including the brain cells. They can, therefore, improve the structure of brain cells called neurons.
Dark chocolate contains cocoa, also known as cacao. Cacao contains flavonoids, a type of antioxidant.
Antioxidants are especially important for brain health, as the brain is highly susceptible to oxidative stress, which contributes to age-related cognitive decline and brain diseases.
A 2014 review notes that the antioxidant compounds in berries have many positive effects on the brain, including:
- improving communication between brain cells
- reducing inflammation throughout the body
- increasing plasticity, which helps brain cells form new connections, boosting learning and memory
- reducing or delaying age-related neurodegenerative diseases and cognitive decline
Nuts and seeds
Eating more nuts and seeds may be good for the brain, as these foods contain omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants.
Eating whole grains is another way to benefit from the effects of vitamin E, with these grains being a good source of the vitamin.
Whole-grain foods include:
- brown rice
- bulgur wheat
- whole-grain bread
- whole-grain pasta
Beyond boosting alertness, a 2018 study suggests that caffeine may also increase the brain’s capacity for processing information.
A source of healthful unsaturated fat, avocados may support the brain.
Other sources of healthful unsaturated fats include:
- almonds, cashews, and peanuts
- flaxseed and chia seeds
- soybean, sunflower, and canola oils
- walnuts and Brazil nuts
Peanuts are a legume with an excellent nutritional profile. They contain plenty of unsaturated fats and protein to keep a person’s energy levels up throughout the day.
Peanuts also provide key vitamins and minerals to keep the brain healthy, including high levels of vitamin E and resveratrol.
Enjoyed by many for breakfast, eggs can be an effective brain food.
They are a good source of the following B vitamins:
- vitamin B-6
- vitamin B-12
- folic acid
Broccoli also contains vitamin C and flavonoids, and these antioxidants can further boost a person’s brain health.
Leafy greens, including kale, may support brain health.
Like broccoli, kale contains glucosinolates, and leafy greens also contain other key antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. This is why many consider kale to be a superfood.
Soy products contain polyphenols called isoflavones, including daidzein and genistein. These chemicals act as antioxidants, providing a range of health benefits throughout the body.