Which Foods Can Boost Brain Health?

By Ellie Smith

2 months ago

How to improve your cognition through your diet


We all know that eating certain foods can boost heart function, improve our skin and nourish our gut. But what can we put on our plate to nourish our brain health? Nutrition plays a big part in keeping our brains functioning well, and eating certain foods can help with memory, concentration and mood – plus even delay age-related cognitive decline. 

There has been plenty of research into how what we eat affects our brain health. A new study into the subject from the University of Warwick has found that a balanced diet is linked with superior brain function, and higher amounts of grey matter – a key component of the brain’s tissue which plays a role in emotional regulation and cognitive processing. But which foods in particular should we be prioritising? Here are seven foods that boost brain health.

7 Foods To Improve Brain Function

Blueberries

Long considered a superfood, blueberries are known for their brain-boosting qualities. Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that just a handful of wild blueberries each day could have significant effects on memory and cognitive function, as a result of their anthocyanins (blue, red, or purple pigments found in plants) which have antioxidant properties.

Scrambled eggs

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Eggs

You probably already know eggs are a great source of protein, but they’re also associated with brain health benefits. They’re filled with vitamins B6 and B12, which are linked to good brain function, as well as choline, an essential neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood and memory. One study found egg intake could help slow memory decline in healthy older adults.

Oily Fish

Oily fish, such as salmon, sardines and mackerel, are associated with a plethora of health benefits, including improved heart function and better vision. They are also one of the best foods for brain health, as they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. A study from 2022 found that people with higher levels of omega-3 in their blood during midlife have better cognition than those with lower levels.

Coffee

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Coffee

Many of us need coffee to wake us up in the morning, and caffeine no doubt has the power to make you feel more alert. But your morning latte may have effects that last far longer than 11am. Moderate caffeine consumption has been linked to enhanced memory function and mood, and some studies have found it could lower your chances of developing a neurodegenerative disease like dementia. 

Broccoli

Adding some broccoli to your plate is never a bad idea, particularly as it’s rich in brain-healthy antioxidants like vitamin C and flavonoids. It also contains vitamin K, which has been shown to improve mental cognition, as well as sulforaphane, a compound scientists have found may help stave off Alzheimer’s.

Tomatoes

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Tomatoes

They’re already a staple in many people’s diets, but increasing your tomato intake could help boost brain health – particularly if you’re cooking them. Tomatoes contain an antioxidant called lycopene, which helps protect cells from damage, and when the tomatoes are cooked the cell walls are broken down, allowing the lycopene to be more accessible to the body. Fresh pasta sauce, anyone?

Wholegrains

Our bodies need fuel to function properly, and wholegrains like oats, quinoa and brown rice are great for slow-release energy. The science shows consuming them will not only help you feel fuller for longer, but also help you feel mentally alert by keeping energy flowing steadily through the bloodstream.