A huge part of supporting brain health has more to do with diet than most think. In fact, with the brain made up of nearly 60% fat, it’s essential to boost brain health with the essential fatty acids we need for our brains to stay in tip-top shape. (1)
So, if you feel like you could use a little brain boost and are tired of walking around with brain fog, read on to learn about seven of the best brain foods to add to your diet. And, the best part is that not only are these foods ideal for brain health, but they are excellent for overall health as well.
Best Brain Boosting Foods
#1 Coconut Oil: Coconut oil is one of those superfoods everyone seems to be talking about, and it has a pretty good reputation for supporting brain health. Coconut oil has even been studied for use in those with Alzheimer’s, and Dr. Mary Newport is most well-known for using coconut oil for her husband, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. This all has to do with the role of ketones and how they power brain cells. (2) Not only may coconut oil be great for brain health, but it is also great for the immune system. Try using coconut oil as your primary cooking oil, and add some to your smoothies.
#2 Wild-Caught Salmon: Salmon is rich in essential fatty acids, which are fatty acids we must obtain from food. Omega-3’s are essential for brain health and also hold impressive anti-inflammatory health benefits. (3) Stick to wild-caught salmon to avoid your exposure to contaminants found in farm-raised fish, and enjoy a serving about two times per week. Sardines are also another great source of omega-3’s, so feel free to add these to your diet as well.
#3 Avocados: Avocados are another rich source of healthy fat to power your brain and support overall health. These are also rich in dietary fiber and magnesium making them a healthy food choice all around. Try adding avocado to your omelets, smoothies, on top of a veggie or turkey burger, or enjoyed with a pinch of pink Himalayan sea salt and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
#4 Walnuts: Walnuts are an ideal plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids to help support brain health. They are also rich in vitamin E, which has been found to reduce cognitive decline with age. (4) Enjoy a handful of walnuts with a piece of fruit for a healthy snack or added on top of a salad for added crunch.
#5 Chia & Flax Seeds: Looking for another plant-based way to pack in more brain-boosting omega-3’s? Chia and flax seeds are the ideal way to sprinkle some omegas into your diet by sprinkling them over a bowl of oatmeal, making homemade chia pudding, or simply blending them into your smoothie. You can even make chia and flax eggs using one tablespoon of either chia or flax and three tablespoons of warm water. Let the mixture sit to “gel up” and use as an egg replacer.
#6 Pomegranate Juice: The antioxidant benefits of pomegranates make pomegranate juice a great brain-boosting beverage. Antioxidants can help protect the brain from free radical damage. (5) When adding pomegranate juice to your diet, be sure to stick to one that is free from added sugar.
#7 Berries: Berries make the ideal fruit as they are rich in antioxidants, which are essential for reducing inflammation as well as oxidative stress. Studies have found that berries may be able to help reduce age-related cognitive decline as well as improve the communication between brain cells. (6) Try adding strawberries, blackberries, or blueberries to your diet to help reduce inflammation, and give your brain a boost!
#8 Eggs: As it turns out, this breakfast staple may be a great way to support brain health. Eggs are rich in B-vitamins such as vitamin B-6, B-12, and folic acidwhich have all been found to help delay cognitive decline. (7) Not only that, but B vitamins are great for energy support, so adding eggs to your breakfast is a great nourishing way to start your day. Try making a veggie omelet with a side of berries, or make a few hard-boiled eggs and enjoy them with a few slices of avocado and a berry smoothie.
#9 Dark Chocolate: Here’s another reason to enjoy a piece of dark chocolate. The trick here is to enjoy unsweetened dark chocolate that contains at least 70% cacao. Studies have found that dark chocolate may be able to help boost brain plasticity which is important for things like learning and the flavonoid content may also help reduce memory issues. (8)
#10 Dark Leafy Greens: As if we didn’t have enough reasons to add dark leafy greens to our diet, brain health is on the top of the list! Dark leafy greens like kale contain important antioxidants making them the ideal superfood to reduce free radical damage and inflammation, a key part of protecting brain health and preventing cognitive decline. Try adding a handful of dark leafy greens to a smoothie or enjoy a salad with arugula and kale.
The Bottom Line
We can’t downplay just how big of role nutrition has when it comes to supporting brain health. We have the ability to fuel our body’s with what they need to function at our best, including optimal brain health. Fueling your diet with nutritious healthy fats and foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids is the ideal way to protect your brain and give your brain the fuel it needs for not only optimal cognitive function but to help prevent age-related cognitive decline.
Ideally, try adding a healthy fat into each meal to help support better brain and overall health.
About The Author
Rebecca Jacobs N.C is a Certified Holistic Nutrition Consultant, specializing in digestive and women's health. She doesn't believe in dieting but rather making lifestyle changes, and believes that healthy eating must be delicious. Rebecca is also a recipe developer and creates healthier alternatives to traditionally unhealthy foods.