Brain-boosting Foods

Salmon and other brain-boosting foodsHealthy foods don’t just do a body good. They help the brain, too. From improving concentration to lowering the risk of dementia, certain foods help maintain a healthy brain.

Smart Eats

Not surprisingly, the foods that can keep your brain healthy and slow down the effects of aging on memory are the same ones recommended for good overall health.

  • Beans. Beans are high in protein, low in saturated fat and have a good amount of omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for brain memory and function. Use them in meals about four times a week.
  • Berries. Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries all have antioxidants, which keep your brain in good working order. Snack on some berries at least twice a week.
  • Fish. Fish also has high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Try adding salmon, sardines, trout or tuna to your meal plan at least once a week.
  • Green, leafy vegetables. Think kale, spinach, cooked greens and salads. Steam, grill or bake them if you prefer. Eat at least six servings each week.
  • Nuts. Almonds are a great brain-boosting snack because they have riboflavin and L-carnitine nutrients, which support healthy brain function. Try to get five 1-oz. servings of nuts or more each week.
  • Olive oil. Use olive oil as your main cooking oil, and put it on bread, pasta and salads. Studies show it can improve brain function and protect against dementia.
  • Poultry. Serve grilled or baked chicken or turkey with meals at least twice each week.
  • Turmeric. This curry spice is used in Indian food. It has antioxidants and can work as an anti-inflammatory, both which improve overall brain health.
  • Whole grains. Whole grains such as oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice, whole wheat pasta and 100% whole wheat bread work with other foods on the list to improve brain function. Aim for at least three servings each day.

No-brainer Meals

Get creative with recipes that incorporate a few of the foods. Try:

  • Bean and turkey chili
  • Beans in a salad
  • Fish tacos
  • Sandwiches on whole wheat bread with some spinach leaves

Brainless Foods

You’ve probably heard it before, but it bears repeating, limit:

  • Butter and margarine
  • Cheese
  • Fried food
  • Pastries and sweets
  • Red meat