It’s pretty easy to argue that the brain is the most important organ in your body. After all, it’s the command center for your central nervous system and grants you the ability to think, speak, remember, and feel emotions.
That’s not even mentioning all the things your brain takes care of behind the scenes. The truth is that there can be no life without a functioning brain. That’s why it’s crucial that you do your best to take good care of your brain.
Make sure to get a proper amount of sleep, quit smoking, socialize often, get plenty of exercise, and stay away from foods high in sugar, fat, and salt. In addition to these changes, you should aim to eat more foods that can help support your brain health.
Here is a list of 18 foods that you can try to incorporate into your diet and why they are beneficial for your brain:
Nuts are typically very good for your brain, but almonds are one of the most beneficial. The main reason is that almonds are rich in vitamin E, which can prevent or delay cognitive decline due to their antioxidant properties.
In addition to vitamin E, almonds contain several B vitamins, potassium, calcium, and fatty acids that can all promote positive brain health, making them a healthy snack any day.
Everyone has heard that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” which might not be far from the truth. The main reason is that apples contain antioxidants that help reduce cellular inflammation.
For brain health, apples are high in the chemical quercetin, which can protect the brain against oxidative stress.
Avocados are a great source of “healthy” fats such as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These fats can help lower your cholesterol and support healthy blood pressure to increase the blood flow to your brain.
Also, avocados are an excellent source of vitamin E, vitamin K, and potassium which helps your brain cells communicate with each other via the nervous system.
Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, cranberries, raspberries, and other berries have all been found to promote positive brain health. In particular, berries can be highly beneficial to aging brains that might be at risk of experiencing mental decline.
The main reason is that berries are an excellent source of antioxidants. These compounds can help combat damage from free radicals. Berries also appear to improve how neurons communicate in your brain, which can help prevent inflammation from causing neuronal damage.
The main benefit of beets is that they are very high in nitrates. These nitrogen-based compounds dilate your blood vessels which can help increase the flow of blood throughout your body and into your brain. The increased blood flow can help support your brain’s supply of the oxygen, nutrients, and glucose needed to function properly.
Broccoli is an excellent low-calorie source of dietary fiber, so it’s the cornerstone of a healthy diet. However, broccoli is also an excellent source of vitamin K and rich in glucosinolates. Vitamin K is very active with your nervous system and the overall development and health of your brain cells.
Glucosinolates are broken down by the body to produce isothiocyanates, which help reduce oxidative stress and help lower the risk of neurological issues.
Most people know that eating carrots is good for your eyes due to the high concentration of vitamin A. Carrots also have a high amount of a compound called luteolin which can help reduce age-related inflammation and improve your memory. You can also find luteolin in other veggies and herbs such as peppers, celery, rosemary, chamomile, and peppermint.
Chickpeas (the main ingredient in hummus) are on this list because they are full of magnesium. Magnesium is an essential mineral crucial for brain health and seems to play a very important role in preventing memory loss. Without the proper amount of magnesium, your brain may not be able to produce energy properly, and it will likely have a significant impact on brain cognition.
9. Dark Chocolate
You might not immediately consider any form of chocolate healthy, but dark chocolate is a very healthy ingredient. Not only is dark chocolate loaded with antioxidants, but it also contains a high concentration of flavonoids. Flavonoids have several positive benefits on the brain, including protecting neurons from neurotoxins and promoting general cognitive function.
Eggs are one of the most nutritious foods you can eat, so it makes sense that they’d land on this list. The main reason eggs are so good for your brain is because egg yolks are a good source of choline. This water-soluble compound can help support your immune system, maintain memory abilities, and support communication between brain cells.
11. Fatty Fish
Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, herring, sardines, and mackerel are all loaded with omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are a key member of the polyunsaturated fat family. These fats are considered the “healthy fats” more beneficial for your body than saturated fats or trans fats.
Omega-3 fatty acids provide several cardiovascular health benefits, including supporting healthy blood pressure, triglycerides, and cholesterol levels. Omega-3 fatty acids are also beneficial for the brain as they’ve been correlated with greater memory retention, capacity to learn, and neuronal plasticity.
Dark leafy green vegetables like kale and spinach are loaded with a nutrient called lutein that our bodies can’t naturally produce. Lutein is a powerful antioxidant that can help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress and reduce damage from free radicals in your brain and your eyes.
13. MOSH Bars
MOSH bars are protein-based nutrition bars specifically designed to help support your brain health. The formula for each MOSH bar is formulated with a variety of vital brain nutrients and other superfoods, including protein, vitamin B12, omega-3s, vitamin D3, lion’s mane, ashwagandha, MCT oil, and collagen.
MOSH bars are a one-stop-shop for some of the essential nutrients your brain needs to function properly. Best of all, MOSH bars currently come in three flavors: Peanut Butter Crunch, Chocolate Crunch, and Peanut Butter Chocolate Crunch. Delicious and nutritious might sound too good to be true, but it’s only a few clicks away from being sent to your doorstep!
Plenty of nuts are good for your brain, but none of them are as effective at lowering your homocysteine levels as peanuts. Increased homocysteine levels can contribute to a higher risk of brain atrophy, oxidative stress, neurodegeneration, and cardiovascular disease. Peanuts also contain polyphenols that can help improve learning and memory by increasing the flow of blood to your brain.
15. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds contain four minerals that play crucial roles in brain health: magnesium, zinc, copper, and iron.
Magnesium helps to maintain your memory, zinc helps to combat inflammation, copper helps to supply energy to the brain, and iron helps transport oxygen to your brain.
It only takes a few handfuls of pumpkin seeds to reach the daily recommended value of each of these minerals.
One of the reasons that tomatoes come in such a bright shade of red is due to a chemical compound called lycopene. Lycopene is one of the most powerful antioxidants as it boasts twice the abilities of beta-carotene and ten times the abilities of alpha-tocopherol. In other words, it’s extremely effective at combating the effects of free radical damage and oxidative stress that can harm your brain.
Lycopene also regulates genes that influence inflammation and brain growth, which can be beneficial for supporting neurological health.
Of all the nuts that promote brain health, walnuts are probably the most effective overall. That’s due to their high concentration of vitamin B12 (cobalamin) and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine).
Vitamin B12 helps keep nervous system cells healthy while also supporting your cardiovascular system.
Vitamin B6 has two beneficial traits for the brain: it’s used to help produce neurotransmitters and helps to regulate energy used by your brain. Additionally, walnuts are an excellent source of alpha-linolenic acid, a plant-based omega-3 fatty acid.
18. Whole Grains
The primary energy source of your brain is a substance called glucose which is more commonly referred to as blood sugar. Whole foods aren’t just an excellent source of glucose; most also have a fairly low glycemic index (GI).
The glycemic index measures how quickly the glucose levels in your blood will increase after eating. Since whole grains are considered a low GI food, the glucose is released more slowly into your bloodstream, helping you stay more alert throughout the day.
Be Smart and Fuel Your Brain
There is no denying that your brain is the most important organ in your body, so it’s best to try to support the health of your brain as best as you can the sooner you can.
One of the easiest ways to do that is to eat more of the foods listed above. Each of them provides unique benefits for your brain. Following a diet that emphasizes more of these foods is an excellent way to support and maintain your brain health by giving it the nutrients it needs to thrive!
For more articles to guide you in your journey to a better brain, explore our wellness blog, MOSH Pit, here!
The Concept of Low Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load Foods | PMC
Vitamin B6 | Health Professional Fact Sheet
Vitamin B12, Cognition, and Brain MRI Measures | PMC
Tomato Lycopene and its Role in Human Health and Chronic Diseases | PMC
Pumpkin Seeds Protect Against Formaldehyde-induced Major Organ Damages | PMC
Dietary Polyphenols as Modulators of Brain Functions | PMC
Homocysteine and Brain Atrophy | NCBI
Lutein and Brain Function | PMC
Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Foods & Benefits | Cleveland Clinic
Choline: An Essential Nutrient for Public Health | PMC
Flavonoids and Brain Health: Multiple Effects Underpinned by Common Mechanisms | PMC
The Role of Magnesium in Neurological Disorders | PMC
Plant Compound in Carrots Boosts Brain Health | Live Science
Glucosinolates From Cruciferous Vegetables and Their Potential Role in Chronic Disease | PMC
Nitrates | Texas Heart Institute
Strong Scientific Evidence That Eating Berries Benefits the Brain | American Chemical Society
Potassium Signaling in the Brain | NCBI
Neuroprotective Effect of Quercetin Against the Detrimental Effects of LPS | PMC
Effects of Vitamin E on Cognitive Performance during Aging and in Alzheimer's Disease | PMC