The foods we choose to eat can have a significant impact on our overall health, including our rate of aging and the state of our cognition. Numerous studies have shown that the consumption of certain types of foods on a regular basis can also greatly support short and long-term brain function.
Let’s take a look at some of the best brain-boosting foods and some of the science behind them:
The SMASH fish - salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines and herring - are an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids (O3FA), a category of essential fat your body struggles to produce naturally that yields numerous health benefits, including:
This last benefit is one of O3FA’s most prominent and well-researched, receiving tremendous attention from the scientific community in recent years.
According to well-referenced studies detailed by the National Library of Medicine, American Heart Association, Cleveland Clinic and more, SMASH fish, also known as “Marine Omega-3s,” can provide your brain with several incredible benefits, including:
With just a single serving of SMASH fish per day, you can easily reach your recommended daily amount (RDA) of omega-3 fatty acids - 200-500 mg - and take an active, nutritious step toward boosting your brain.
If you’re looking for other reliable sources of O3FA in addition to SMASH fish, you can also try:
Pro Tip: Check out Living Proof’s “5 Reasons to Eat SMASH Fish” for more on these excellent marine sources of omega-3 fatty acids and their benefits to your brain, heart, immune system, etc.
Unsurprisingly, vegetables represent another category of brain-boosting superfoods.
According to findings published by Harvard Medical School, Premium Neurology and the National Library of Medicine, leafy green vegetables like broccoli, collards, spinach and kale can consistently boost brain function in the short and long term.
In addition to providing sustenance and many other essential vitamins/nutrients that benefit the rest of your body, these veggies are dense in a cognition-enhancing combination of beta carotene, lutein, folate and vitamin K.
These vitamins and nutrients specifically target numerous facets of brain function and development. As part of a nutritious diet and healthy lifestyle, they can yield cognitive benefits like:
As part of your recommended daily amount (RDA) of 2-4 cups of veggies per day, these leafy greens are sure to become some of your brain’s best friends.
Avocado might be THE most-underrated food ally in your pursuit of a stronger, sharper mind.
This fruit (yes, avocado is a fruit!) is an excellent, healthy source of unsaturated fat that can help you take your brain to the next level.
According to scientific findings published in Medical News Today, the National Library of Medicine and WebMD, avocados primarily assist brain function by promoting healthy, natural blood flow and lowering blood pressure to ideal levels.
On top of these positives, avocados are also a solid source of omega-3 fatty acids, folate, potassium, phytonutrient polyphenols, flavonoids and vitamin K, which work together to further support ideal brain function.
In concert with one another, these remarkable nutritious properties help the avocado provide your brain with some superb benefits, including:
While avocado is admittedly a calorie-dense food, eating up to ½ an avocado daily can be a reliable way to support your brain in the present and future.
4. NUTS AND SEEDS
Nuts and seeds are versatile, delicious and easy to eat. They also do wonders for your mind!
Nuts like walnuts, peanuts, hazelnuts, almonds, cashews and pecans are highly nutritious and chock-full of vitamins and minerals that can help you get the most out of your brain.
According to published findings by Healthline, the National Library of Medicine and the Institute for Functional Health, these nuts enrich your body with fantastic mixes of proteins, healthy fats, fiber, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, calcium, A/B/E vitamins and more.
Particularly when eaten in raw, unflavored styles, these nuts provide cognitive-enhancing benefits such as:
Seeds like flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and chia seeds are also among your brain’s favorite sources of sustenance.
As detailed in BBC Good Food, Healthline and Harvard Medical School reports, flax seeds are high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids, pumpkin seeds are rich in essential micronutrients like copper, magnesium, iron and zinc, sunflower seeds are chock-full of the B vitamin thiamine and chia seeds are also loaded with O3FA.
When prominently featured in daily meal plans, these seeds can strengthen your mind with benefits like:
5. DARK CHOCOLATE
Dark chocolate is a sweet and bitter snack that may enhance your brain function.
Substances within standard dark chocolate like caffeine and theobromine can stimulate the brain for short-term boosts in cognition, while high flavonol varieties of dark chocolate can enhance blood flow to the brain in the long term. Similarly, the antioxidants found in most dark chocolates can also improve neuroplasticity.
Taken together, these positive attributes of dark chocolate can yield many benefits to the brain, such as:
When enjoyed in moderation, this type of confectionery may be your new secret weapon in the battle for a sharper, clearer mind.
Last but not least, berries like strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, blackcurrants and mulberries are fantastic for the mind.
According to research published by Rutgers University and Medical News Today - among many other sources - berries are rich in antioxidants like anthocyanin, caffeic acid, catechin and quercetin that directly benefit cognitive function.
As part of your recommended daily amount (1 ½ - 2 cups) of fruit per day, these berries boost your brain with benefits like:
Last but not least, Living Proof would like to give a shout out to the Mediterranean Diet, a daily meal plan that treats your mind and body right.
Centered around a healthy balance of fruits, veggies, fish, nuts, seeds and whole grains with a further emphasis on monounsaturated fats, this diet prioritizes superfoods that can boost cognitive function and help you reach your peak physical condition.