You brain needs a contact supply of energy to function properly. It consumes 20% of your daily calorie intake, which is a lot for only one organ.
So, you need to constantly feed it with the right food to keep it nice and sharp. If you fail to do that, you will surely notice a decline in your cognitive abilities.
It has long been known that so-called brain foods affect your brain in positive ways.
They help you sharpen your focus, as well as enhance your memory and attention span.
I have put together a list of 33 of the most powerful brain foods that I believe you should include in your diet.
These are the brain foods that numerous studies have proven to really work, which is why I eat them on a regular basis:
Eating meat is important because it allows you to get your necessary dose of protein and fat, two elements which help keep your brain healthy.
In fact, a recent study points to the fact that the meat was the main factor that allowed our ancestors to develop their brains.
Of course, not all meat is healthy for the brain. In particular, this is what you should be eating:
Oily fish – fish has been considered the ultimate brain food. Oily fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, including DHA, which is vital for brain health.
Scientists believe that omega-3 fats are important for strengthening the brain’s ability to transmit signals between brain cells.
They help sharpen your brain and improve your memory and focus.
In 2012, UCLA researchers proved that diets lacking omega-3 fatty acids accelerate brain aging. People who ate less fish exhibited lower brain volume and cognitive skills.
Among the best fish you can eat are:
- Black Cod
For best results, you should eat oily fish at least two times per week.
Shellfish and mollusks – this category is a great alternative to the oily fish, as it is also quite rich in omega-3 fats (although nothing is as rich as oily fish).
Shellfish and mollusks are also a great source of healthy protein. They are also a good option if you’re looking to lose weight, because they are very low-calorie.
You can eat things like:
Feel free to switch to this protein group from time to time if you get sick of eating fish.
Grass-fed meat, poultry, and pork – in a book entitled Grain Brain by David Perlmutter, this author states that we should eat more grass-fed meat. Here’s why:
When animals are fed with grains such as corn or soybeans, they don’t develop enough healthy omega-3 fatty acids and their meat ends up lacking vital nutrients.
Grass-fed meat is also extremely important for getting your necessary dose of protein, an element which your body then uses to build and repair tissue.
It an important competent of almost every cell of your body, including red blood cells, which are vital for delivering oxygen to every part of your body – including your brain.
So, focus on eating grass-fed meat, such as:
Vegetables are super important for your brain because they provide you with nutrients that help you store more fat in the brain, increase blood flow to the brain, and think more clearly.
Here is a list of the best vegetables you should include in your diet:
Tomato – tomatoes are a great brain food you can easily add to your menu. They are high in carotenoids, nutrients that help safeguard fat in your body. Remember that your brain is made mostly of fat.
These carotenoids help eliminate free radicals and prevent brain swelling, while also stimulating brain growth.
Cucumber – cucumbers play an important role in brain health. They are a great source of flavonols, which help improve memory and protect your nerve cells from age-related decline.
They are also rich in vitamin K, B vitamins, copper, potassium, vitamin C, and manganese.
Not to mention the fact that they’re 95% water, which will keep your body well hydrated, an important element of normal brain function.
Zucchini – zucchinis contain several nutrients that are highly valuable for the brain. They are a good source of potassium, which increases blood flow to the brain and improves cognition, concentration, and neural activity.
They also include folate, which helps prevent Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline.
Eggplant – eggplants contain nasunin, a potent antioxidant and free radical scavenger that protects cell membranes from damage and helps them store fat.
This foods allows the brain fight off free radicals, while letting good nutrients in and kicking waste out.
Broccoli – this veggie, which is a great source of vitamin K and lignans, helps us improve memory and strengthen our cognitive abilities.
Research has shown that students who eat broccoli perform better on memory tests.
Spinach – people who eat regularly spinach manage to keep their brain alert, even in old age.
This is because this vegetable contains nitrates that help increase blood flow to the brain and improve mental performance.
One cup of raw spinach has 15% of your daily intake of vitamin E. If you cook it, this amount increases to 25%.
Beets – scientists from Wake Forest University found that eating beets increases blood flow to your brain. As a result, your mental performance also improves.
Garlic – as you grow older, garlic might prevent brain function loss and help improve your memory, cognitive functions and longevity.
A new study has found that garlic contains FruArg, an element which protects the brain from age-related diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Lentils – these legumes are rich in folate, a type of B vitamin that helps boost your brainpower. It is also super important for regulating your amino acid levels, which can affect brain function.
Lentils are also a good source of iron, which helps bring more oxygen to your brain.
Green salads (leafy greens) – research has shown that people who consume leafy green salads have similar cognitive skills to someone 11 years younger than them.
These greens can keep your brain healthier for a longer amount of time because of the important nutrients contained in these vegetables.
They’re rich in B vitamins, such as folic acid, B6 and B12, which are essential for the brain. According to Oxford University, they help improve brain function and reduce the risk of atrophy and brain shrinkage.
Green salads are also rich in an amino acid called l-tyrosine, which helps improve memory, learning abilities and problem solving skills.
Among the leafy greens that you should eat are:
- Romaine lettuce
Try to eat at least one serving per day.
Fruits stimulate the brain in a way that improves your memory and allows you to think more quickly.
Of course, not all fruits are created equal, as some provide you with many more benefits.
Here’s a list of the best ones to include in your diet:
Blueberries – this fruit is often considered to be one of the best brain foods out there. They are rich in fiber, vitamins, antioxidants and phytonutrients.
Blueberries help maintain communication between brain cells. As a result, you experience improved memory, learning and reasoning skills.
They also prevent brain swelling and stimulate new brain cell production.
Strawberries – this powerful brain food is a great alternative to blueberries. They help prevent the aging process of the brain, as well as memory loss.
Strawberries can help with improving memory, learning and reasoning skills.
Blackcurrants – scientists from Plant & Food Research, in a collaborative effort with Northumbria University, found that blackcurrants help improve accuracy, attention and mood, while simultaneously decreasing mental fatigue.
It turns out the best blackcurrants come from New Zealand, but that’s no reason for you to worry if you live somewhere else in the world. Any blackcurrant will provide you with lots of brain benefits.
Avocados – this fruit is a great source of fiber, vitamins and healthy fats. They stimulate the generation of a neurotransmitter called dopamine, which keeps your brain focused.
According to a review published in “Nature Reviews Neuroscience,” avocados can improve both memory and concentration.
Coconut oil – this cooking oil provides a good amount of saturated fat, which can help increase cholesterol levels and combat dementia. It prevents brain swelling and helps keep this important organ healthy.
Coconut oil can also help increase your cholesterol, which is a good thing for your brain.
Lemons – lemons have the highest concentration of negatively-charged ions. This helps increase the amount of oxygen in the brain, causing you to become more alert, more mentally energetic, and less drowsy.
The best option is to squeeze a whole lemon into a glass of water early in the morning, which is enough lemon for the day.
Nuts & Seeds
To make your brain sharper, you should add nuts and seeds to your diet.
They provide you with important omega-3 fatty acids, as well as vitamins that improve your memory and concentration.
These are the nuts and seeds that you should be eating:
Walnuts – Scientists at Tufts University in Boston found that diets rich in walnuts improve brain performance.
Walnuts are also rich in vitamin E, which is great at protecting the brain from free radicals and many types of dementia.
Additionally, walnuts increase melatonin levels, which can help you get relief from sleeplessness and insomnia.
Flaxseed – this seed is the best source of ALA, a healthy fat that improves the functionality of the cerebral cortex, which is responsible for processing sensory information to the brain, like touch and smell.
The best way to eat it is to add some to your salad or to mix it into a smoothie.
Sunflower Seeds – Sunflower seeds are a great mix of protein, healthy fats and vitamin B, and they provide you with tons of energy.
They are also high in vitamin E, which helps protect the brain, and zinc, which help improve memory and cognitive skills.
Pumpkin Seeds – this seed is a good alternative to sunflower seeds. Again, they are rich in protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B and zinc.
So, adding pumpkin seeds to your diet is a great way to keep your brain sharp and healthy.
Chia Seeds – these seeds are a good source of both healthy protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which are necessary for both your body and mind.
Chia seeds help hydrate the body and regulate blood sugar levels, while providing you with a good source of antioxidants and fibers.
They are great for keeping your body and mind healthy.
Animal products are a great source of protein, fats and other nutrients that help improve your mental abilities.
These are the 4 products I’d recommend:
Eggs – Swiss researchers believe that eating protein-rich foods for breakfast, such as eggs, helps improve cognitive performance.
Eggs are also rich in choline, a precursor to acetylcholine which is responsible for helping you remember things.
Cheese – eating cheese is essential for brain health. A new research study claims that people who eat this food regularly score higher in mental ability than those who never or rarely eat it.
This is because of the high concentration of healthy omega-3 fatty acids found in cheese.
Yogurt – this dairy product is also rich in omega-3 healthy fats, which are vital for normal brain function.
Scientists also discovered that yogurt is rich in probiotics, which affect brain function.
They tested 3 groups of 12 women. One of the groups was given yogurt with probiotics, one group a yogurt-like dairy product, and one group nothing.
After 4 weeks, the women that ate the real yogurt showed increased connectivity in the periaqueductal gray region and the pre-frontal cortex, which affects cognition.
Bee Pollen – this is a great natural energizer that contains 40% protein and is rich in folic acid, an amino acid which increases your brain’s stamina and alertness, and fights off fatigue.
Adding bee pollen to your daily diet is a great way to boost your energy level and brainpower at the same time.
The easiest way to consume it is to add it your yogurt or salad.
Adding these seasonings to your diet will really make a huge difference in how your brain works:
Curry – turmeric, which is the spice that gives curry its color, contains a chemical called curcumin, which helps boost memory and stimulate the process of creating new brain cells.
Curry also helps repair current brain cells and prevent brain swelling.
Celery – celery contains luteolin, which helps prevent age-related memory loss and the inflammation of the brain.
Rosemary – this herb can help you improve your memory and concentration.
The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties in rosemary prevent any radical damage to the brain.
Rosemary reverses nerve cell damage by stimulating nerve growth factor synthesis.
Maca – this food is known to increase mental energy and focus. Maca helps you increase your stamina, so it is a great way to boost your energy if you occasionally feel tired.
Other great benefits are that it cures anxiety, depression and all kinds of mood swings. And, as we all know, happy people are more productive.
Usually, desserts high in sugar are not good for the brain. However, there is one exception you should know about:
Dark chocolate – this food helps improve blood flow to the brain, and, as a result, improves cognitive function and memory.
The caffeine and theobromine in dark chocolate can help improve brain function for a short period of time.
Cocoa, which a huge part of dark chocolate, is the most powerful antioxidant out there, containing 15 times more antioxidants than blueberries and 20 times more than green tea.
Remember that in order for the chocolate to be considered dark, it should have at least 70% cocoa.
Eating healthy brain foods will make you smarter. After a while, you’ll notice that you have better memory, you’re thinking faster and you can focus better.
This can really make a difference in how well you perform at work.
It will be easier for you to execute tasks more quickly, and you won’t feel as drained by the end of the day. So, stick with your diet and see the difference.
What brain foods should you incorporate into your daily diet? Which ones do you refuse to consider? Let me know in the comments below.