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The best brain foods for good cognitive health

30 July 2021
2-minute read

Like any other part of your body, your brain needs the proper amount of fuel to function properly. In fact, despite only making up around 2% of your body weight, your brain uses up 20-25% of your bodily energy. Therefore, eating the right kind of foods is important to keep your cognitive health in check. Unsure which foods you should integrate into your diet? Here are a few nutrient-rich foods that are great for your brain.


Oil-rich fish


Oil-rich fish is perhaps the most well-known of all the foods good for your brain. Whether you’re eating salmon, trout or mackerel, these all contain healthy omega-3 fats which are essential for good brain health. As the body doesn’t produce omega-3 independently, it’s even more essential to make omega-3 a mainstay of your diet. In fact, studies have shown that fatty acids in fish can facilitate and enhance communications between brain cells. Two servings of oil-rich fish per week are recommended, but vegans and vegetarians can also get omega-3 fats from microalgae supplements, as well as certain nuts and seeds.


Eggs


If you’re looking for an all-round package when it comes to brain nutrients, you can’t do much better than eggs. This nutrient-rich food contains a variety of compounds that contribute to brain health on a daily basis, including vitamin B12, vitamin D and choline. Research shows that B12 is essential for maintaining a healthy brain, while higher choline intake is associated with better cognition. Whether you eat them for breakfast or lunch, eggs can easily become a part of your daily diet.


Nuts


Nuts are an underrated food that contain a huge number of brain-healthy nutrients, including beneficial fats, vitamins and micronutrients. In particular, many nuts contain high levels of vitamin E, which is a strong antioxidant. One of the largest studies of its kind found that eating a Mediterranean diet supplemented with 30g nuts per day led to significantly improved cognition and memory in older adults over the course of a few years. Nuts can also have cognitive benefits in younger adults. Try a variety of different nuts, including walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts, to help get those brain-healthy nutrients.


Blueberries


Blueberries are not only delicious, but also contain an amazing set of nutrients that are good for your brain. In addition to various vitamins and minerals, blueberries contain high quantities of polyphenols, which are potent antioxidant compounds. A wide variety of studies have found that blueberries can improve various brain outcomes, including cognitive performance and mood. If you want to improve your brain health, blueberries should be a mainstay in your diet.


Dark chocolate


If you’re looking for an easy brain food to incorporate into your daily diet, we’ve got you covered. Dark chocolate contains a higher amount of cocoa than other forms of chocolate, which therefore results in more of those important antioxidants called flavanols. One recent study found that cocoa flavanols improve cognitive performance and oxygenation of the brain in healthy adults. With all that said, dark chocolate is one of those foods that can increase your mood just because you’ve treated yourself.


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