Food is one of the most affordable luxuries present around.
Feeling depressed? Grab a piece of dessert.
Feeling happy? Possibly because you have had an amazing meal.
In short, good food equals happiness.
And you know what? There are brain-friendly foods.
Here is the list of the best brain foods, along with some interesting recipes and shopping tips, that promises to enhance and help you regain your mental abilities if consumed regularly.
See also: The Best Brain Training Apps
Attention: Consult your doctor or dietitian to make sure you don’t have any problem consuming the following foods.
1. Wild Salmon
This particular food is a delight for seafood lovers.
Who would have ever thought that this delicious pink colored flesh could exude such amazing healthy brain benefits?
The Omega 3 fatty acids present acts as an oil to your brain for smooth functioning and also helps tremendously to increase focus. (1)
It also acts as a catalyzer to improve your brain memory.
To top that up, it also fights against cancer, tumor cells and also acts as a wonderful anti-depressant agent.
At least 2 times a week, 3.5 ounces in measurement*
- Spicy Coconut Salmon
- Glazed Lemon Salmon
- Garlic Parmesan Salmon
For more delicious salmon recipes, check out Salmon: Everything You Need to Know + 45 Recipes by Diane Morgan.
Always avoid buying farmed salmon. These are said to be high in mercury level and also other contaminants as well.
Always look for fish that is high in Omega-3 content. Last, but not the least, salmon shouldn’t smell bad, look dull and should be extremely clean.
It is simply beyond my realm of understanding that why people resort to something else for their 5 p.m. hunger pangs when they have this amazing looking nature made gummies!
This food can have some mesmerizing impact on your mind.
Because of the high level of Gallic acid, they prevent the brain from things like degeneration and stress. (2)
For people suffering from problems such as short-term memory loss, these act as respite because of high content in vitamin C, vitamin K, and fiber. (3)
Three times a week. Half a cup of berries*
- Blueberry Cheesecake
- Blueberry Zucchini Bread
- Blueberry Pancake
For more delicious blueberry recipes, check out The Joy of Blueberries: Nature’s Little Blue Powerhouse by Theresa Millang.
Concentrate on the color of the berry. Try and look out for dark blue color, as they are fresh and juicy.
Sometimes, these can be expensive. If it goes out of your budget, instead of buying fresh blueberries, go for frozen blueberries.
Frozen blueberries almost last a year and can be enjoyed anytime!
These nuts are so innocent that they come in the shape of a brain, so that you don’t need a scientist to explain which body part is going to be benefitted the most when consumed.
How many times have you heard your parents say “Eat walnuts, it will be nutritious to your brain, if you have one”.
Well, it turns out they are not always wrong!
Due to its high level of minerals and anti-oxidants, they are famous for improving mental alertness. (4)
And also, the presence of polyphenol, which has some unique anti-inflammatory properties, reduces brain inflammation.
Lastly, improved brain reactions and memory recalls are few of the many advantages it offers. (5)
7 walnuts. Daily*
- Chocolate Walnut Fudge
- Banana Walnut Bread
- Salted Honey Walnut Bars
For more delicious walnut recipes, check out The Walnut Cookbook by Jean-Luc Toussaint.
If you are amongst the ones who keeps a count on their calories, prefer dry roasted almonds instead of oil roasted walnuts.
Preferably, buy shelled walnuts as they indicate freshness. To store walnuts accurately, store them in your refrigerator.
If thinking of keeping it for a prolonged period of time, store it in the freezer section.
Omelet. Sunny side up. Hard scrambled. Soft scrambled. Hard boiled. Soft boiled. Runny. Frittata. Over easy. Over medium, Over hard. Poached. Baked. Fried.
The list is never ending. In the history of humankind, I don’t think we have exploited a particular food item in so many different ways ever.
Eggs are fantastic when it comes to brain health.
The same omega-3 acid, present in wild salmon, is present in eggs also.
Along with omega 3 fatty acid, vitamin B12 and D work together to make your brain super healthy. (6)
Most importantly, the presence of nutrient Choline acts as a neurotransmitter and improves mental and cognitive power. (7)
One wonder tip: Don’t just eat egg whites, eat the entire egg. The yolk contains most of the nutrients your brain needs.
4-6 eggs per week*
- Garlic Omelet
- Zucchini Frittata
- Egg Fried Rice
For more delicious egg recipes, check out The Egg Cookbook: The Creative Farm-to-Table Guide to Cooking Fresh Eggs by Healdsburg Press.
Eggs are generally sold in cartons. Check the date before buying. Eggs are good for 4-6 weeks depending on storage conditions.
Check beforehand whether all eggs are perfect and perfectly intact. Don’t accept cracked ones.
It does not matter if you buy brown or white eggs, they are nutritionally same and also taste wise there is no difference.
5. Dark Green Leafy Vegetables
Olive could only be saved because Popeye regularly had spinach!
Yes, that is how I started my tryst with green leafy vegetables.
Agreed, it might not be one of the most appealing things around in the market to our generation, but if you ask your parents, they can survive day-to-day just on this diet.
Going with the adage ‘elder the people, wiser they are’, let’s look at the reasons why the elder generation swear on it so much.
Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, lettuce etc. are high on vitamin A and K. (8)
This slows down the process of declining of cognitive ability.
This is one of the most feared things amongst the people aged 60-70.
This is because declining cognitive ability is the root cause of Alzheimer’s and dementia.
It is also said that it keeps the metal toughness intact and does not let the brain age quickly. (9)
One should include leafy greens in at least one of the meals for 4-5 days*
- Spinach Smoothie
- Kale Pasta
- Pesto Pizza
For more delicious green vegetable recipes, check out Fast, Fresh, & Green by Susie Middleton.
First important step, green vegetables should look green. In sense, judge them by how fresh they look.
They should not be pale or yellowish in color. The texture of the vegetables should be crisp and fresh. It should be leafy enough for your consumption.
The vegetables are not as cruel as we think, definitely not after knowing all the merits it possesses.
If all the fruits in the world ever decided to have a collective team, Avocado would undoubtedly be the captain.
Some believe that it is one of the healthiest fruits to be available around and is also widely used in various recipes.
Just wait for the moment you have it for the first time, you’d barely able to wait for the moment you have it next.
Talking about brain benefits, it acts as a preventer of clotting that can occur.
This is because of the presence of vitamin K and folate in them.
It also improves cognitive functions, especially concentration and memory.
But somehow, avocados receives a lot of flak because of its slightly higher fat content.
Nonetheless, avocado consumption is associated not only with better diet quality and nutrient intake, but also lower metabolic syndrome risk. (10)
3-4 servings a week. Each serving is approximately 1 oz*
- Egg White And Avocado Sandwich
- Avocado Soup
- Avocado Pasta
For more delicious avocado recipes, check out Absolutely Avocados by Gaby Dalkin.
Let’s face it, picking that perfect avocado might be slightly problematic. These tips might resolve that a bit.
Focus on the color to determine its ripeness. Over time with practice, you might excel at this. But to start with, look for the tanned avocados.
They are perfectly ripe and ready to be consumed.
Press the avocados lightly in your palm. If it succumbs to the pressure, it is ripe and ready to be consumed.
If it is firm, give it a few more days to be in the perfectly desired phase.
7. Dark Chocolate
Don’t you already feel like having one? I mean that’s what chocolates do to you.
You just hear chocolates and you feel like having one.
It is definitely not a mere co-incidence that stressed spelled backward is desserts.
But do all types of chocolates have the same kind of bump on your brain? No.
When it comes to brain nourishment, dark chocolate wins the race hands down.
Dark chocolate increases blood flow to the brain because of neuroprotective flavonoids.
This has many advantages. It helps the brain cells live longer.
Apart from this, it also serves the brain by increasing its attention span, reaction time and also problem-solving skills. (11)
Also, naturally occurring anti-depressants in chocolates help to reduce stress considerably and also reduces the risk of heart diseases. (12)
10 gram of dark chocolate. Everyday*
- Dark Chocolate Fudge Bars
- Dark Chocolate Cookies
- Dark Chocolate Cupcake
For more delicious dark chocolate recipes, check out Theo Chocolate: Recipes & Sweet Secrets from Seattle’s Favorite Chocolate Maker by Debra Music and Joe Whinney.
Darker the chocolate, better for brain it is. In sense, opt for dark chocolates which are higher in cocoa content.
Totally depending on your preference of taste, but if you and bitter chocolates get along well, go for cocoa content that is 70% and above.
Check well for the expiry dates on the wrapper before buying it.
Mostly, dark chocolates are slightly tilted towards the heavy price tag, due to its exotic nature. If it doesn’t match up to your expected numbers, you can also opt for a little less expensive ones too.
If available, try and taste it before you buy. This would give you an accurate idea of whether to go ahead with your purchase or not.
8. Coconut Oil
If you are an ardent coconut fan, there are only a few fragrances in your life that beat coconut oil.
It has a high nostalgic value attached to it as well.
When consumed, it takes you straight back to your childhood when your mother used to feed you sweets that contained coconut oil.
But the point being, do we know the high points of it?
First, it may be used as an anti-stress and antioxidant nutritional oil. (13)
And then, the presence of MCT (medium chain triglycerides) is the main reason why this oil is considered so beneficial.
These are broken down into ketones and then used as a fuel by the brain for proper functioning.
These ketones are also stored as a part of the extra energy in the body.
When there is a lack of glucose, the brain uses this extra energy to maintain its functionality. (14)
Sounds amazing, right?
2 tablespoons (30 ml) per day*
- Crispy Coconut Waffle
- Lemon Coconut Crumb Bars
- Coconut Oil Rice Crisps
For more delicious coconut oil recipes, check out The Coconut Oil Cure: Essential Recipes and Remedies to Heal Your Body Inside and Out by Sonoma Press.
Look out for the virgin and refined tag. If you want an odorless and tasteless coconut oil for cooking foods that doesn’t require the coconut flavor, go for refined.
If you want to prepare something that is coconut-centric, I’d suggest going for the virgin.
Depending on the quantity required, select the size of the jar. Preferably, go for a smaller size jar as the oil gets rock hard if stored in the refrigerator.
9. Whole Grains
As we see this tectonic shift in the lifestyle of people around the world, more and more people are opting for healthier snacking options.
Everything made of whole grain has certainly become the savior for everybody.
Be it from bread to oatmeal, people are hogging it way more than before.
I hear whole grain saying this everybody silently “better late than never”.
Every part of the body requires blood to perform, even the most important part is not pardoned without it, the brain.
Whole grain slowly and steadily injects glucose into the bloodstream that goes all the way to the brain. (15)
This helps us to stay mentally alert throughout the day.
It also reduces the risk for a memory-damaging stroke. (16)
3-5 servings a week. A serving may include a slice of bread, oatmeal, cereal etc.*
- Chewy Oatmeal Cookies
- Brown Rice Breakfast Porridge
- Whole Wheat Honey Bread
For more delicious whole-grain recipes, check out Whole-Grain Mornings: New Breakfast Recipes to Span the Seasons by Megan Gordon.
Look at the label carefully. Properly look for the word whole grain on the packet. The shopkeeper might dupe you by selling a sub-standard product.
Carefully scan for rodents and insects loitering in it. Always store whole grains under cool and dry conditions.
That’s it. Looks like you are good to go and flaunt this amazingly acquired knowledge in front of your friends and even acknowledge them the exceptional benefits and value these foods bring in our lives.
But remember, consume them regularly. And top these up by doing some mental exercise to sharpen your weapon and making it lethal than ever!
Turmeric is one of the thankless spices present around.
If present, nobody says the food is amazing because of turmeric.
But if absent, the lack of it is felt instantly.
But for hundreds of years, turmeric, of course thanklessly, has been doing its job of brain nourishment without commanding much applause.
Let’s finally give some much-deserved credit to the yellow spice.
It possesses some unbelievable neuroprotective characteristics.
It also acts as an anti-depressant which has a calming effect on the mind. (17)
But unlike other anti-depressants, it doesn’t have any side effects.
It also breaks some of the plaques suspecting to cause Alzheimer’s. (18)
400-600 mg. 3-4 days a week*
- Coconut Chicken Curry
- Turmeric Chicken Soup
- Chilled Turmeric Latte
For more delicious turmeric recipes, check out Cooking with Turmeric: Top 50 Most Delicious Turmeric Recipes by Julie Hatfield.
Preferably, do not buy spices in loosed packets. Ensure that it is tightly packed to prevent it from any sort of contamination.
Ensure that there are no lumps by feeling the packet. No lumps signify freshness. Ensure the color is specific turmeric yellow and not any other shade of yellow
*Dietary recommendation: The recommendations are for an average adult with no illness whatsoever. You might have to alter the measurements according to your dietary preferences and health conditions.
Do You Know Any Other Brain Foods? Leave A Comment Below!
If you think there are other superfoods that are not on this list, please let me know by leaving a comment through the comment form below.
Personally, I love salmon and eggs, what about you?