Just as an engine needs the right fuel to work at peak performance, so does your brain. You need the right nutrients to keep your memory sharp and ward off disease, boost your mood, and improve your productivity.
Thing is, figuring out which of the thousands of foods out there will be best for your body can be overwhelming — which is why we’ve done the hard work for you. Here are our top picks for brain food:
- Blueberries: Blueberries are a rich source of vitamins and antioxidants that protect the brain against damage caused by free radicals, aging and environmental toxins. Studies suggest that blueberries can help slow cognitive decline and even reverse it in some areas.
- Dark chocolate: Chocolate isn’t just sweet; it’s also one of the healthiest foods you can eat. Dark chocolate contains flavonols that improve blood flow in the brain, protecting against cognitive decline and dementia. Plus, dark chocolate boosts levels of an endocannabinoid called anandamide, known as “the bliss molecule” because it makes us feel happy.
- Açaí berries: These little deep-purple berries from Northeastern Brazil are chock full of antioxidants that help prevent cell damage caused by free radicals like those linked with Alzheimer’s disease.
- Tomatoes: Tomatoes are a rich source of Vitamin C, which is needed for normal growth and development, healthy skin and connective tissue, as well as normal functioning of the immune system.
- Broccoli: Broccoli contains antioxidants called glucosinolates (which break down into sulforaphane), which protect brain cells from oxidative damage that can lead to cognitive decline. Broccoli is also high in folic acid, which maintains normal levels of homocysteine — an amino acid in the blood — linked to cognitive impairment or nerve damage in the central nervous system.
- Dairy: Dairy products are rich sources of B vitamins (B12, folic acid and B6) needed for maintaining energy levels, keeping your nervous system healthy and fighting stress.