What we do with our bodies can directly impact our brain health. Being physically active, getting enough sleep, and avoiding injuries are just a few ways to support brain health and fight against the natural signs of brain aging.
However, what we put into our bodies might have an even bigger impact on brain health.
There are a slew of brain foods that not only work to support holistic wellbeing but can also help support your body’s defenses against cognitive decline.
Let’s look at some of the best foods that make up a healthy diet to support positive brain health.
If you love sushi as much as we do, it’s probably good news that fatty fish can contribute to enhanced brain health. There are a few reasons for this, but one of the major benefits is that certain fish are super high in omega-3.
Omega-3s are a type of polyunsaturated fat that is found naturally in fish. There are several different kinds of omega-3s, each with its own benefits, but one in particular, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), goes straight to your head.
DHA is essential for the natural growth and function of brain development and the maintenance of brain function in healthy adults. With that, the inclusion of DHA in the diet supports learning ability.
Fish, especially sardines and salmon, are a primary inclusion in the MIND diet, which combines the practices of the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet. This includes eating foods inspired by those near the Mediterranean sea — and fish is plentiful there.
Many people turn to some form of the MIND diet for its health benefits. Research has found that individuals who eat adequate foods touted by the MIND diet, like fish, olive oil, flaxseeds, and green leafy vegetables, can see slower brain aging by seven and a half years. It can also support the body’s natural defenses against cognitive disorders like Alzheimer’s.
So, load up on the lox, and don’t be afraid to grab one more roll of sushi — because fish is one of the best foods to eat for your brain health. It’s also lower in saturated fat than red meat and a great source of lean protein. If you’re vegan or vegetarian, you can still get DHAs from eating seaweed, too!
It’s no secret that vegetables are great for your physical health. A diet rich in veggies has been shown to support healthy blood pressure and heart health, and help maintain healthy blood sugar levels, too.
Some vegetables have also been linked to better brain health. Specifically, leafy green vegetables like kale, spinach, broccoli, and collard greens are high in nutrients that have been shown to fight off natural cognitive decline.
Greens include folate and other B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E, flavonoids, magnesium, and carotenoids — all of which can balance oxidative stress to help support memory and a healthy brain.
The goal is to try to hit six servings of greens on a given day and then try to throw in at least one serving of any other type of vegetable. You can try to sneak in a few extra nutrients by blending spinach into a fruit smoothie, chugging down a green juice, taking supplements, or putting a little bit of Romaine lettuce onto your burger as a crunchy topping.
Avocados are one of the most versatile foods in all of existence. You can smash it on toast for a delicious breakfast, mash it up with tomatoes and onions for delicious guacamole, or even put it into a smoothie for some creamy texture. But no matter how you use avocados, you can rest assured that you’re doing something great for your brain health.
Avocados are an excellent source of healthful unsaturated fat. Eating monounsaturated fats can support healthy blood cholesterol levels and help maintain a functioning immune system. These can have the secondary effect of fighting natural cognitive decline.
Many people are wary of avocados because they are admittedly high in fat. If you’re watching your macronutrients, you might be worried about consuming avocados because it might throw off your progress. However, choosing to get your fats from sources like avocados is something you can feel good about because of its many benefits!
4. Dark Chocolate
You always need to leave room for a little something sweet after dinner, and dark chocolate might be a delicious addition to your ice cream sundae with some interesting, positive effects on your brain health.
Dark chocolate contains flavonoids, which are bioactive compounds that, in the right amounts, can support heart health and brain health alike. And dark chocolate has the highest flavonoid content of any other type of chocolate.
Research has also found that consuming dark chocolate can support natural electrical pulses in the brain, which can support cognitive function. Plus, dark chocolate is lower in calories and sugar than most other sweets.
(Note: While our Chocolate Crunch MOSH bar is made with plenty of other brain-supporting ingredients, we only include just enough chocolate to make fueling your brain a tasty endeavor, which is not quite enough for the above-noted benefits.)
Dieticians and nutritionists have long recommended nuts as a healthy food for holistic wellbeing. Nuts are a great source of protein and a fantastic source of healthy fats. However, they’re also excellent for your brain health.
Almonds, pistachios, macadamia nuts, and legumes can work to support healthy brain function because they’re loaded with DHA and omega-3 fatty acids. However, walnuts reign supreme as opposed to most other nuts because they contain almost double the number of antioxidants.
As you can probably tell, omega-3s are a bit of a secret weapon when it comes to supporting brain health. That’s why MOSH incorporates omega-3s and other brain-fueling nutrients like lion’s mane and vitamin B12 into our delicious protein bars.
Boasting 12 grams of high-quality protein in every bar, these are perfect post-workout or as a midday snack. Expertly formulated with superfoods, adaptogens, and brain nutrients, MOSH bars can crush cravings while rejuvenating your mind and soul.
Try your trial pack today to taste all three of our delicious flavors.
Berries are a lot more than a perfect addition to any yogurt bowl. They’re also considered America’s first superfood because these small fruits contain many important nutrients.
Blueberries are bursting with antioxidants and flavonoids with every bite. Antioxidants stimulate oxygen and blood flow to the brain, supporting concentration and healthy aging.
One study even found that consuming blueberries could help fight against the cognitive effects of Alzheimer’s and dementia.
But other berries like strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are chock full of nutrients in the same way. Consider loading up on frozen berries the next time you go to the store — these are just as nutritious as fresh berries, but they’re usually less expensive and are picked at peak ripeness for maximum flavor (plus they are perfect to toss into your morning smoothie-making routine!).
Are There Foods I Should Avoid?
While these foods can help support brain health, some foods can actually worsen your cognition overall. You don’t need to cut these foods or beverages out of your life completely, but consider using them in moderation to support your wellbeing.
Foods that are super high in added sugar seem to be some of the worst for preserving brain health. Excessive sugar consumption can lead to deficiencies in memory and a decline in overall health, so try to avoid sodas and sweets as much as possible.
Refined carbohydrates are also rough on the brain because they’re high on the glycemic index. This means that they cause a spike in blood sugar and insulin levels which can impair memory. Refined carbs are heavily processed grains like white rice, regular pasta, white bread, or white flour.
These carbs contain almost no nutritional benefit and are often called “empty calories.” Wheat bread, brown rice, and whole grain pasta are generally better because they are higher in fiber and also contain more nutrients and vitamins.
Foods that are heavily processed, like hot dogs, pepperoni, or most pre-prepared frozen meals, can also have negative effects on brain health. These are associated with brain fog, the feeling of mental sluggishness, forgetfulness, and overall lack of clarity.
Try to choose fresh lean meats at the store when possible, and avoid red meats when possible, which tend to be higher in unhealthy fats than lean meats like chicken, turkey, or fish.
And finally, alcohol has been associated with damage to the brain’s blood vessels when consumed in excess amounts. While a glass of wine with a meal might be an enjoyable addition (and red wine has antioxidant benefits on its own), it may be better for brain health to keep drinking to a minimum.
Chronic alcohol use has been shown to reduce brain volume, cause metabolic changes, and disrupt neurotransmitters. Individuals with alcoholism also tend to experience deficiencies in vitamin B1, which can lead to a brain disorder called Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome.
Keeping your mind in check can positively affect other parts of your wellbeing, and holistic wellness starts from the head down to your toes. So by nourishing your body with healthy foods high in nutrients and vitamins, you can protect yourself from cognitive decline while fostering an enriching lifestyle as a whole.
Plenty of foods are great for brain health, including those high in omega-3s like fish and nuts. Antioxidant-rich foods like blueberries, vegetables, and avocados are also amazing, but don’t forget to top it off with the fantastic flavonoids in dark chocolate.
As you stock up on foods to support brain health, you’ll want to avoid foods that can lead to cognitive impairment, including processed foods, added sugars, refined grains, and alcohol.
Regardless, if you need a little extra support to make sure you’re getting all the nutrients you need, MOSH has you covered. We made the first protein bar specifically curated for brain health. It’s made with ashwagandha, lion’s mane, vitamins, minerals, and 12 grams of protein to keep you satiated and concentrated while fueling your brain.