Clearer thinking, better memory, reduced stress and overall brain health – these are just some of the benefits you can gain from fueling up on brain-healthy nutrients. The foods you eat play a major role in your health and wellness, and there are some nutrients that are particularly nourishing for your brain. We’ve got your noggin covered with the best foods for brain health.
Top Foods for Brain Health
Avocados are packed with vitamin K, vitamin C and folate, which can help support brain function, including memory and concentration. Avocados also contain the ‘good’ kind of fats – monounsaturated fats. Read more about healthy fats in our earlier post Be Fat Fluent: Best Fatty Foods for Your Diet.
Nitrates in beets support blood flow to the brain. Beets also boost energy levels and are full of antioxidants that help protect your body from free radicals and oxidative stress. If you don’t like eating beets, try adding beet juice powder to your smoothies, or opt for our Beet Root Circulation Support Complex.
Blueberries provide a powerful helping of antioxidant vitamins and nutrients that can help protect your brain from oxidative stress and free radicals. Berries contain brain-healthy vitamin C, vitamin K and fiber. Blueberries not in season? No problem. You can get many of the same benefits in Swanson Health’s AuroraBlue® supplements, made with wild-harvested Alaskan blueberries.
- Bone Broth
Bone both is supercharged with beneficial amino acids like proline and glycine, which can help support your immune system, improve memory and support gut health. Glycine functions as a neurotransmitter, and proline (L-proline) is an essential component of collagen and supports healthy connective tissues.
The vitamin K in broccoli helps support cognitive abilities while choline may support memory function. Also, a key compound in broccoli called sulforaphane helps support skin health, cognitive function, and healthy brain tissue.1
- Coconut Oil
Versatile coconut oil can help support brain and memory health. The medium-chain triglycerides in coconut oil break down to supply ketones, which your brain can use for fuel. If you’re not sure how to incorporate coconut oil into your diet, read 50 Ways to Use Coconut Oil to Better Your Life.
- Dark Chocolate & Cocoa
The flavonoids in dark chocolate and cocoa have antioxidant properties, which help to protect your body (and brain) against oxidative stress. Plus, flavonoids may help boost blood flow to the brain. Opt for high-quality dark chocolate that has undergone minimal processing.
- Dark, Leafy Greens
Kale, spinach, romaine, Swiss chard, and other leafy greens are full of vitamin A, vitamin K and magnesium, which can help support brain function, plus offer stress reduction and improve your mood. Recent studies suggest that eating just a serving of leafy greens per day may help support a healthy memory.3
- Egg Yolks
Egg yolks are packed full of choline, a macronutrient that supports liver health and brain function. Choline also supports central nervous system health,2 and some athletes take choline supplements to fight fatigue.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra-virgin olive oil is one of the healthiest foods for your brain. It’s full of polyphenols, which are antioxidants that may boost memory, improve learning and provide anti-aging benefits for your brain.
Nuts, like walnuts and almonds, provide your body with brain-healthy vitamin E and magnesium. Vitamin E has protective qualities against free radicals and oxidative stress. Magnesium helps you produce serotonin, which aids in stress reduction and may help improve your mood.
The brain-boosting essential fatty acids (EFAs) in salmon, like omega-3 fatty acid, can help boost memory and brain performance,4 making this one of the best foods for brain health. You can also get your essential omega-3 fatty acids from our award-winning Plant Based Omega-3 supplement, which was named 2018 Omega-3 Product of the Year by NutraIngredients USA.
Turmeric is great for your gut and for immune function, but one of the lesser-known benefits of turmeric is that it may help support circulation. Better blood circulation can increase your oxygen levels and help you be more alert. Try it in turmeric tea or turmeric supplements, and learn more about turmeric benefits for your body in the article What is Turmeric?
Make healthy choices from this list of brain-boosting foods to get plenty of essential nutrients for enhancing brain function, improving memory and supporting long-term wellness. You can learn more about nutrients that are good for your brain in these articles: 16 Foods That Will Help Support Brain Health and Top Supplements for Focus & Productivity.
See Swanson Health’s A-Z Guide to Modern Wellness here for everyday health tips and wellness information.
1 Sulforaphane Improves Cognitive Function Administered Following Traumatic Brain Injury: U.S. National Library of Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2700200/ (Accessed 12/21/2017)
2 Choline: WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-436-choline.aspx?activeingredientid=436& (Accessed 12/21/2017)
3 Lots of Leafy Greens Might Shield Aging Brains: Health Day. https://consumer.healthday.com/senior-citizen-information-31/misc-aging-news-10/lots-of-leafy-greens-might-shield-aging-brains-study-finds-697909.html (Accessed 12/21/2017)
4 Omega-3 fatty acids. University of Maryland Medical Center. http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/omega3-fatty-acids (Accessed 12/21/2017)
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.