Foods That Boost Your Brain Health

| |

The foods that boost brain health are oily fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, nuts, seeds, fermented foods, and prebiotic foods like chicory root and garlic, berries, avocados, green tea, and cocoa. These foods and drinks enhance cognitive functions, protect against mental decline, improve memory and focus, and support overall brain health.

Did you know that what you eat can directly impact your brain health, influencing your mood, energy levels, ability to focus, and memory? It’s true! The food we consume affects our mood, energy levels, ability to focus, and memory.

Eating the right foods can help you stay sharp as you age and avoid problems like dementia. So, what are some of the best foods for brain health? Let’s take a look. 

Don’t Have Enough Time, Here are the Key Points

  • Oily Fish: Rich in omega-3 fatty acids essential for brain health.
  • Nuts and Seeds: Provide beneficial fats and nutrients that enhance cognitive functions.
  • Fermented Foods: Contain probiotics that support gut health and are linked to brain health.
  • Prebiotic Foods: Like chicory root and garlic, foster a healthy gut microbiome.
  • Berries: High in antioxidants that improve memory and focus.
  • Avocados: Packed with beneficial fats and nutrients like folate and lutein.
  • Green Tea: Contains compounds that enhance cognitive functions and mental clarity.
  • Cocoa: Rich in flavonols that improve various aspects of cognitive performance.

Welcome to my detailed guide on brain-boosting foods! The foods we eat profoundly affect cognitive functions, influencing everything from memory retention to mental agility. In this guide, I explore various dietary choices that can fortify brain health. Dive into my comprehensive look at the best foods for keeping your mind sharp, detailed in the sections below.

Oily fish 

Omega-3 fatty acids, found in oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines, are crucial for cognitive functions, including learning, memory, focus, problem-solving, and decision-making.

These fats not only reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia when included in the diet, but they can also slow mental decline in cases where dementia has already been diagnosed.1

 Omega-3 fatty acids also protect the brain by reducing inflammation and are linked to a lower risk of depression.2 Depression, though complex, is thought to potentially reduce brain mass.3

Polyunsaturated fats, which include omega-3s, constitute twenty percent of the brain’s mass4 and are actively used, stored, and removed from the brain daily, highlighting their significance.5

Salmon is also a valuable source of vitamin B12, an essential nutrient that supports brain function and helps prevent neurological and developmental disorders, mood disorders, and various forms of dementia, including Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia.1

Nuts and seeds

Omega-3 fatty acids are best obtained from fish, but nuts and seeds are excellent alternatives for vegetarians or those who dislike the taste of oily fish.

Nuts, particularly walnuts, are a nutritional boon for the brain, packed with beneficial fats and proteins that enhance mental performance and help counteract the cognitive decline associated with aging 6.

Nuts like almonds, hazelnuts, and walnuts have also been shown to reduce blood sugar levels by up to thirty percent and decrease inflammation in type 2 diabetes patients, factors crucial in reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease 7.

Inflammation is enemy number one to your brain health; thus, managing it is vital.

Seeds such as flax, chia, sunflower, and pumpkin are also rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids, making them beneficial for brain health.

  • Ground flaxseed can impart a delicious nutty flavor to porridge or homemade biscuits, while flaxseed oil is another great option for obtaining omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Chia seeds are versatile, too; they can be used to make pudding or added to smoothies, baked into muffins, biscuits, and energy bars, or even sprinkled on salads.
  • Sunflower and pumpkin seeds are perfect for snacking or enhancing granolas and salads8. Pumpkin seeds contain magnesium, a mineral essential for numerous bodily reactions. Magnesium’s calming effects on nerve activity make it especially important for boosting brain health, easing migraines, and reducing mild anxiety 9.

Seeds are packed with fiber, which is beneficial for the good bacteria in the gut. These beneficial bacteria contribute to brain health and overall mental well-being 10. However, recent research has suggested that certain harmful bacteria in the gut might trigger neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and autism 11. This means it is even more important to maintain the beneficial bacteria in the gut to crowd out the nasty ones.

Fermented Foods

Maintaining a healthy population of beneficial bacteria in the gut is crucial for brain health. Fermented foods such as kefir, kombucha, kimchi, and sauerkraut are excellent for this purpose.

These foods are rich in key enzymes and probiotics that support digestion and overall gut health.

Probiotics, the ‘good’ bacteria found in these fermented products, have been shown to enhance brain health by improving mental well-being, reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression, and even boosting immunity 12.

Fermentation keeps the gut and brain healthy and increases the vitamin content in the vegetables used 13, offering further benefits for the entire body.

Prebiotic Foods

High-fiber and prebiotic foods, often underappreciated, are crucial for brain health. Gut bacteria transform Prebiotic foods into short-chain fatty acids, providing energy that fuels efficient brain function.

Prebiotic foods also reduce inflammation and ease digestive issues like irritable bowel syndrome.

The best prebiotic foods include chicory root, asparagus, garlic, Jerusalem artichokes, and onions. Nuts, seeds, and fibrous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, and spinach contribute fiber, supporting gut and brain health.

Cabbage, spinach, and kale further promote gut health by reducing inflammation in the gut lining 15. These leafy greens are also rich in B vitamins and folate, which are vital for brain protection and development, both prenatally and postnatally.

Folate is essential for synthesizing neurotransmitters, the chemical messengers that facilitate communication from the brain to the body through the nerves 16. Thus, there are compelling reasons to include a variety of green vegetables in your diet to support overall health.


Berries, especially blueberries, are rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals, essential for improving memory, learning, and motor skills.

These fruits also protect the brain from mental decline and memory loss 17. Additionally, berries contribute to lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes, a significant factor because diabetes increases the likelihood of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease 18.

Therefore, incorporating berries into your diet, whether by adding a handful to your breakfast or snacking on them throughout the day, is beneficial for your health.


Avocados are superb for maintaining brain health due to their rich nutritional profile. They contain folate 19, which supports brain function, and the carotenoid lutein, known to enhance cognitive abilities, memory, and problem-solving skills 20.

Additionally, avocados are high in monounsaturated fats that improve blood flow to the brain 21, and they also provide Vitamin K, essential for brain health.

 Incorporating avocados into your diet is easy and versatile—try adding slices to salads or sandwiches or whip up a batch of guacamole to use as a dip for vegetables, offering a healthy and tasty snack option.

Green Tea

Research has shown that regular consumption of matcha can enhance long-term memory and focus. Although the improvements are modest, they are still significant 22.

Matcha contains high levels of antioxidants, which help protect the brain from oxidative stress and may reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases.

It is also rich in a unique amino acid called L-theanine, which promotes relaxation without drowsiness and improves attention. Combining these benefits, matcha stands out as a valuable beverage for maintaining cognitive functions and overall brain health.


Cocoa is rich in antioxidants known as flavonols, which have been known to enhance cognitive function significantly.

These flavonols improve spatial memory, which involves the ability to recognize one’s environment and spatial orientation.

They boost long-term memory, the speed of processing information, and focus. One possible reason for these cognitive benefits is that flavonols help increase blood flow to the brain 23.

It’s important to note that while cocoa can be enjoyed as a drink, it can also be consumed in the form of high cocoa-content chocolate. Although it might taste a bit bitter, the benefits to your brain make it a worthwhile addition to your diet.


What we eat and drink has a direct impact on our brain health. By incorporating brain-boosting foods such as oily fish, nuts, seeds, fermented foods, prebiotics, berries, avocados, green tea, and cocoa, we can sharpen our minds, improve memory, and protect our brains as we age.

Make these power foods a staple; your healthier brain will thank you. Now, eat up and enjoy the benefits!


  1. Omega-3 Fatty Acid Status Enhances the Prevention of Cognitive Decline by B Vitamins in Mild Cognitive Impairment
  2. Omega‐3 Fatty Acids in Depression: A Review of Three Studies
  3. Where in the Brain Is Depression?
  4. Dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids, brain function and mental health
  5. Lipid Processing in the Brain: A Key Regulator of Systemic Metabolism
  6. Role of Walnuts in Maintaining Brain Health with Age
  7. Almond, hazelnut and walnut, three nuts for neuroprotection in Alzheimer’s disease: A neuropharmacological review of their bioactive constituents
  8. 5 Superfood Seeds for Better Brain Health
  9. The Role of Magnesium in Neurological Disorders
  10. The gut-brain axis: interactions between enteric microbiota, central and enteric nervous systems
  11. How gut microbes could drive brain disorders
  12. Fermented foods, microbiota, and mental health: ancient practice meets nutritional psychiatry
  13. Health benefits of fermented foods: microbiota and beyond
  14. Fiber and Prebiotics: Mechanisms and Health Benefits 
  15. Overview of the health benefits of fruit and vegetable consumption for the dietetics professional: Selected literature,%20Nutritional%20&%20Health%20Benefits/Overview%20of%20the%20health%20benefits.pdf
  16. Emerging roles for folate and related B-vitamins in brain health across the lifecycle
  17. Neuroprotective effects of berry fruits on neurodegenerative diseases
  18. Fruit consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: results from three prospective longitudinal cohort studies
  19. Hass Avocado Composition and Potential Health Effects
  20. Avocado Consumption Increases Neural Lutein and Improves Cognitive Function 
  21. The Relationships Between Vitamin K and Cognition: A Review of Current Evidence
  22. An intervention study on the effect of matcha tea, in drink and snack bar formats, on mood and cognitive performance
  23. Effect of Cocoa and Cocoa Products on Cognitive Performance in Young Adults


Organic Green Tea Benefits: Boost Your Health and Aid in Weight Loss

How To Keep Your Brain Sharp? These Tips Will Boost Your Brainpower and Improve Cognitive Function