10 brain foods to make you feel good

10 brain foods to make you feel good

Dr Shelley Hyman

We’ve all heard of the phrase “food for thought”, but what if there really were certain foods that could boost your thinking? Here are 10 brain foods filled with vitamins and minerals to help keep your brain sharp and healthy.

(1) Wholegrains

The brain requires a steady flow of blood glucose to fuel it. Wholegrain and low-GI foods help release this glucose slowly into the bloodstream, to keep you mentally alert throughout the day. Examples of such foods include wholegrain cereals, granary bread, rice and pasta.

(2) Oily fish

Essential fatty acids are important for healthy brain function, the heart, joints, and general wellbeing. The most effective omega-3 fats occur naturally in oily fish in the form of EPA and DHA, both of which are active forms of these fatty acids, making them ready and easily used by the body. Examples of such foods include salmon, trout, mackerel, herring, sardines, pilchards, and kippers.

(3) Blueberries

Research has suggested that eating blueberries may be effective in improving or delaying short term memory loss, increase concentration, and improve motor control. Not only that, blueberries are also rich in antioxidants. Some other foods that contain the same protective compounds, called anthocyanin, include dark red and purple fruits and veg.

(4) Tomatoes

Lycopene is an antioxidant found in tomatoes, and has been found to help protect against the type of cell damage that occurs in dementia. To optimise absorption and efficacy of lycopene, try cooking tomatoes with a little olive oil.

(5) Eggs

Certain vitamin Bs, such as B6, B12 and folic acid, are known to reduce homocysteine levels in the blood. These reductions reduce the risk of stroke, cognitive impairment, and Alzheimer’s disease. Examples of such foods include chicken, fish, eggs, and leafy greens.

(6) Blackcurrants

Vitamin C has the power to increase mental agility and protect against age-related brain degeneration. Examples of high vitamin C foods include blackcurrants, red capsicum, citrus fruits, and broccoli.

(7) Pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc for memory and thinking skills, magnesium for stress, and B vitamins and tryptophan for good moods.

(8) Broccoli

Broccoli is high in vitamin K for the enhancement of cognitive function. It’s also high in compounds called glucosinolates, which slow the breakdown of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. This allows them to stay in the brain for longer, and helps keep our brains and memories sharp.

(9) Sage

Sage has been found to contain essential oils that can improve memory and concentration. To protect the beneficial oils, add the sage at the end of cooking.

(10) Nuts

Nuts are a high source of vitamin E, which might help prevent cognitive decline. Some examples of high vitamin E foods include nuts, leafy green vegetables, asparagus, olives, seeds, eggs, brown rice, and wholegrains.

Why not try seeing what recipes you can come up with each of these foods, or even a combination of most!

Dr Shelley Hyman

About Dr Shelley Hyman

Senior Clinical Neuropsychologist. BSc (psychol) Hons, MClinNeuropsych, PhD (Med) MAPS CCN. Founder and director of the centre that was founded in 2006.