Food is not just a source of energy for your body. A well-balanced diet will leave you feeling energized and healthy. One of the benefits of eating a well-balanced diet is how it affects your mind.
Unfortunately, there are no magical foods that will help you beat procrastination or shake off the need to constantly check your social media. However, there are plenty of superfoods great for supporting focus, cognition, and brain health. Nutrition doesn’t generally change your brain function immediately, but it can absolutely support brain health.
Certain foods are better for fueling the brain, such as complex carbohydrates and omega 3. If you want to maintain energy, it’s vital you choose the right fuel for your brain. This is one of the drawbacks of many popular (or extreme) diets.
Making certain choices can negatively impact your brain function – so, it’s important that you understand what your brain truly needs to maintain optimum function.
Besides making the right dietary decisions, it’s important to lead a healthy overall lifestyle. That means exercising regularly, managing stress, and getting the proper amount of sleep. However, if it’s brain food you’re looking for, then it’s brain superfoods we will provide you with.
Superfood As Part of Your Health Diet and Lifestyle
Psychology Today points to the connection between the gut and the mind and what it can do the immune system. Certain foods can lead to sickness, while others can stave it off.
As we place more and more stress on your bodies, we struggle, mentally and physically. Bad dietary decisions can result in brain fog, affecting your ability to focus, think clearly, and leaving you confused. So, it makes sense that there are foods which can do the opposite.
Think about it like this – with every bite of food you are nourishing your brain or starving it. Brain fog can come from foods high in sugar and contain trans fats. This can make you feel depressed and anxious. However, choosing the right foods will keep you sharp, productive, and even positive. So, let’s talk about these brain superfoods.
Before we discuss specific superfoods, I think it’s important to make a note here. These foods are healthy options, however, if you continue your diet as is and just include one of these foods here and there, you will not feel the full force of their benefits. The only way to see the benefits they can provide is if they form part of a healthy diet and lifestyle.
Superfoods aren’t a magical food that will erase bad dietary decisions you continue to make. So, bear that in mind as you read through the list. There is no reason you can’t include all of the foods we discuss. Everything we included can be found in your local supermarket or health food store (and of course online).
You don’t need to go climb a large mountain to find anything and there’s nothing here that’s going to break the bank either. The point is, not all superfoods are ridiculous items that are out of your budget or impossible to find. Most of the best superfoods are the ones you see every day.
While WebMD recommends a variety of foods specifically for brain health, we’re going to delve even deeper into the subject with 31 superfoods that are perfect for brain power and focus.
33 Superfoods to Boost Your Brain Power and Focus
Okay, you will not be eating water, however, it’s still a superfood. WebMD reports that your brain needs water. If your body’s water content is just a percent below the ideal number, it can cause dehydration. If you don’t think that sounds like a big deal, consider this: that one percent dip is enough to kill your productivity.
According to Industrial Safety & Hygiene News dehydration can decrease your productivity by 12%. So, don’t wait until you’re thirsty to have a drink of water – be sure you are drinking water every 20 minutes. If you have to set a reminder to do it, so be it.
There are many types of fish that serve your brain function. It’s because they are packed with omega 3 fatty acids, which play a vital role in the development and function of your brain. Heart.org says you should aim to enjoy at least three servings of fatty fish every week.
Good examples include salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring, and lake trout, too. You can enjoy them as your main dish at dinner or include them in a lunchtime salad. If you hate fish don’t worry too much. There are other amazing sources of omega 3 fatty acids, and some of them are coming up on the list.
3. Whole Grains
Whole grains go through less processing while their cousins are stripped of all their nutrients. Fiber will keep you nice and full, while vitamin E improves cognitive function and memory.
Nature’s candy is chock full of antioxidants. They fight oxidative stress and inflammation, which contribute to the aging brain. Berries aren’t just delicious, they’re exceptionally good for your brain.
This healthy fat is great for your mental health, it also helps fight bad cholesterol. It reduces the risk of heart disease, too. One of the big ways it does so is in preventing the buildup of plaque in the arteries. Which is good news for your brain, as this results in improved blood flow.
Eggs are a kind of magical food. They are packed with nutrients and thanks to their choline content, they are amazing when it comes to improving your reaction time, memory, and they also help you beat fatigue. The choline is found in the yolk, so don’t miss out on the good stuff. Eggs are also an incredible source of omega 3 fatty acids, so for the fish haters, eggs are a winner.
7. Leafy Greens
We’re talking kale, spinach, rocket, and chard here. They are packed with vitamin B6, B12, and folate. Why does this matter? They’re known for their ability to break down homocysteines. These are the compounds recognized as contributing to dementia and other cognitive issues. You might think you don’t need to worry about dementia just yet, but dark leafy greens can help you focus now, too.
Enjoy them in a salad, toss them in a smoothie, there are plenty of ways you can get greener in your diet. As for not worrying about dementia, recent research suggests it takes 20 years for it to develop (https://www.alzinfo.org/articles/brain-detected-20-years-alzheimers-symptoms/), so it’s never too early to keep it in mind.
We know how great nuts are for our health. You also know the risk of overdoing it with these healthy nuts. Let’s talk about why they’re good for your brain. Not only will you find plenty of vitamin E in walnuts, but they’re also a great source of antioxidants that fight cognitive decline. Of course, they keep you nice and full, too. So, walnuts are a big overall winner here. They also contain health fat, omega 3 fatty acids.
Not everyone is a fan of walnuts, though, so if you don’t love them you can choose almonds instead. You get the same benefits, but with a different flavor.
Fiber, vitamins, micronutrients, and omega-3. What could be better than that? This is an excellent option for vegetarians, vegans, fish haters, and people who just don’t like eggs. You can get your omega 3 from flaxseeds, along with walnuts and chia seeds, which we will discuss further down the page.
It’s easy to get these into your diet. Not only are they delicious raw, they make a great side dish with dinner, and even do well in smoothies. Carrots are loaded with vitamin A. How does that serve your focus and brain? It improves eyesight, of course, which is handy if you are fighting tired eyes from spending too long on a particular task.
Why yogurt? It contains tyrosine, which is an amino acid known to increase the production of brain hormones known to improve memory retention and increase alertness.
13. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are packed with zinc, which is known for its ability to improve mental speed, increase memory function, and boost problem-solving skills. It also contains niacin, which is great for fighting stress.
14. Dark Chocolate
Everything in moderation, but dark chocolate does have its benefits. It’s lower in sugar, so compared to other sweets it’s a low-calorie option. More importantly, though, it is packed with antioxidants which improve mood, concentration and focus. What’s not to like?
It isn’t just delicious, it’s brimming with vitamin B9 and vitamin K. Just a cup of asparagus is enough to provide you with 65% of your daily folate target. Folate is famous for its support of cognitive function, including improving memory and ability to process information.
16. Sunflower Lecithin
This sunflower seed extract is easy to add in your pancakes, baked goods or even smoothies. What is it good for? Well, thanks to its phosphatidyl choline content it improves your memory recall. If you’ve ever struggled to recall something, knowing you know it and that it’s in your brain somewhere, this is where sunflower lecithin takes control.
The aromatic compounds in rosemary contribute to the increase of blood flow to the brain. The smell alone is enough to improve alertness, memory, and precision. Incredible!
To work at optimum levels, the brain requires glucose. This is why complex carbohydrates are so important – enter quinoa. The ultimate in complex carbs, this slow releasing food is full of fiber and protein, as well as B vitamins. It’s the ultimate in brain foods.
19. Chia Seeds
The Mayans and Aztecs were using chia seeds for a variety of uses and the word chia means “strength” in Mayan. So, even without the science, they were onto something all those centuries ago. Chia seeds are packed with fiber, potassium, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, protein, and iron. You can toss them in your smoothie, cereal, salads… they’re incredibly adaptable.
What the coconut has is MCT, also known as medium-chain triglycerides. Better known as a seriously effective brain fuel. This could explain why coconut water is such a popular health food product. This brain fuel supports memory retention and learning.
Spirulina is a great source of protein, so it’s particularly important for vegans and vegetarians. It isn’t just a protein source, though. It’s also amazing for cognitive function. It fights damage and degeneration of the brain. Add the powder spirulina to your morning smoothie to enjoy the health benefits or take spirulina tablets as a daily supplement.
Omega 3s, antioxidants, vitamins, and more. Acai enhances the health of your brain, boosts cognitive function, and can even reduce the risk of disorders. Enjoy yummy acai bowl for breakfast.
According to the UK’s National Health Service, garlic might fight certain types of brain cancer. There are plenty of ways to enjoy garlic, too, so it’s not too difficult to slip it into your meals throughout the day. It might make life a little easier if you buy it ready minced and frozen or mince it yourself and freeze it so it’s ready to use when you need it. That should help cut down on the stink it creates.
24. Goji Berries
You might have expected to see them appear on the list sooner, but that just goes to show you how many superfoods there are serving your brain! Goji berries fight inflammation and enhance your mental sharpness. They’re pretty delicious.
It’s closely related to the radish, so there’s quite a lot you can do with maca. What is it good for? Well, it doesn’t just boost your brain power, it also helps fight stress, anxiety, and depression.
26. Acorn Squash
Folic acid and vitamin B12 are the acorn squash’s highlights. They help prevent shrinkage in the brain, as well as protecting against nerve damage. Not only that, but acorn squash can enhance your memory and your brain’s ability to process information. Whether you roast it or bake it, it will be of great benefit to your brain.
One of the greatest things about tomatoes is that you can eat them any time of day and they go with just about everything. Plus, there are so many types you’re sure to find a flavor you really enjoy. What do tomatoes contain that benefits your brain? Lycopene.
This antioxidant is known for its ability to fight free radicals, which damage your brain cells and lead to dementia. Not only can they reduce the risk of stroke, but they also improve your memory. Enjoy them in a salad, soup, in omelets, or just enjoy them on their own. There’s nothing like slicing a giant, red tomato in half and enjoying it with just a light sprinkling of seasoning. That’s right, eat it like an apple!
28. Green Tea
According to studies from the University of Basel, green tea improves electrical connectivity in the brain. This means that your cognitive functions see an improvement and it can help prevent dementia. Replace your soda intake with a cup of green tea and aim for two or three cups each day.
Turmeric contains the compound curcumin. According to UCLA researchers, curcumin can fight dementia (http://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/curcumin-improves-memory-and-mood-new-ucla-study-says). If you are a massive fan of Indian food, then you’re cheering (or patting yourself on the back) right now. Turmeric is easy to slip into most foods, so don’t be afraid to raid your spice rack to improve brain function.
If you are not a big fan of the smell of turmeric like me, try a capsule form from Amazon (reasonably priced!).
Broccoli is another excellent source of choline, which is great for developing new brain cells and firing nerve connections. It’s also vitamin K rich, which is great for cognitive function and improving your memory. It’s also delicious whether you enjoy it as a raw snack or steam it as a side dish for dinner.
Okay, we already discussed berries. However, blueberries deserve a category of their own. They’re great for fighting anxiety and dementia and also improve motor skills and learning ability. They’re simply the best.
This delicious spice is loaded with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that are crucial to brain function and memory. Studies indicated that cinnamon may improve some symptoms of neurodegenerative disease like Alzheimer’s and Parkinsons’s. Using 1g of cinnamon each day could improve brain activities.
Unfortunately, most cheap cinnamon found at sores don’t contain Ceyron, true cinnamon. Make sure you chose a true cinnamon at health stores, and there is a good pick available on amazon.
33. Bone Broth
Bone broth is commonly used in soups, staffing, mashed potatoes and gravy. Bone marrow used to make bone broth is an excellent source of essential fatty acids, which have been clinically proven to improve overall brain function. Also, a large quantities of an amino acid named glycine contained in bone broth, promotes mental alertness, improves memory, and even reduces stress.
My favorite brand is Kettle & Fire Bone Broth. Check out our review of bone broth here.
Are you ready to incorporate some of superfoods into your diet? If so, please let me know which ones and how you are going to take them. Also, please let me know of any other superfoods you can recommend. I’d love to try as many as I can because I’m greedy when it comes to health!