Brain Foods

31 Brain Booster Foods for Improving Memory and Enhancing Brain Power

Looking to increase brain power?  Improve memory?  Improve health? Well, here it is.  A list of super brain foods — Click on any of the items below to show how they increase brain power, improve memory, and/or promote good health.

31 Brain Boosting Foods 

Almonds

Almonds contain Boron, a trace element that has shown to give you better hand-eye coordination, attention and memory. 1 Recent studies support this claim and have also shown that it can enhance perception and short-term and long-term memory. (See Raisins for more details on Boron) 2

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Apples

Remember the old adage: an apple a day keeps the doctor away? People say this for a reason.  Apples are packed with vitamins, minerals, and numerous antioxidants, including quercetin, and fiber.

Apples have a soluble fiber called pectin. 3  Pectin carries out numerous tasks including binding bile acids and excreting them through feces, lowering LDL cholesterol, and regulating blood sugar levels.  4

Perhaps apples’ ability to regulate blood sugars lies in the fact that it is a slow burning carb, coming in with a modest glycemic index of 39. 5

Apples have the ability to lower your bodies LDL cholesterol through its high fiber content. The fiber has pectin which binds with fat and other substances in the intestines to lower your bodies LDL cholesterol. 6 This, in turn, reduces the amount of plaque in your arteries and consequently  increases blood flow. 7

The benefit of increased blood flow, the fiber’s cleansing properties, and the boost of antioxidants make apples a “must have” in your diet.

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Avocado

Avocados have been shown to reduce the “risk of heart disease and [to] lower bad cholesterol. This reduces your risk of plaque buildup and enhances blood flow.” 8Avocado

This is mostly a result of the high vitamin E content in avocados. 9

Monounsaturated Fats: While avocados are known for their high fat content, the fat type–monounsaturated, may actually be beneficial to health and brain functioning. 10  Monounsaturated fat

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Bananas

Bananas provide a myriad of benefits to the brain and body.  First, it has a high content of the amino acid, tryptophan.

Tryptophan increases serotonin production, a mood stabilizer. 11 This reduces the amount of drastic mood shifts.  Mood shifts or the onset of instinctual moods/emotions such as depression, anxiety, or fear can cause foggy brain or inability to think clearly because it causes the primitive “fight or flight” part of the brain to take over. 12

When the more primitive part of the brain takes over, it cuts off or limits access to the neocortex, the advanced part of the brain that assists in various bodily functions such as reasoning, problem solving, and judgment. 13 As a result, these drastic mood shifts leave you with “cave man brain,” a primitive and undesirable state of mind.

Bananas have high amounts of potassium, folate, and vitamin B6. 14 Potassium is critical for pushing neurons to your brain via an electrical charge. 15 This charge is created by the movement of the ions, potassium and sodium, across a nerve cell membrane causing fluctuations in the electrical charge (membrane’s potential). 16 

Without sufficient potassium reserves, your body lacks the ability to make the potassium-sodium exchange that you need to push neurons up your neural pathways.

So eat your bananas!

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Beets

Chopped Beets
Chopped Beets

Beets are known for their blood cleansing properties.  Betalin pigments in the beets assist in the detoxification process by clearing out toxins that have bound to other molecules. 17 This aids in the excretion of the toxins. 18

A nutrient in beets called Betaine works to defend your body by protecting cells, proteins, and enzymes. 19

It also has been shown to aid your body in “balancing oxygen use and increasing stamina.” 20 They also may contribute to increased blood flow to the brain by virtue of the naturally-occurring nitrates. 21Beets

Suggested use of Beets: Beets’ are incredibly delicious if consumed in a beet juice cocktail, which may be best suited right before bed. Make sure that you always mix beet juice with another carrier juice as it is extremely potent.  

Taking the cocktail right before bed capitalizes on the body’s natural detoxification cycle that occurs in the early morning and by priming your blood–it cleanses your blood while you are sleeping.

Try it at home and see if it makes you feel more rested in the morning.  

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Blackberries

Blackberries are loaded with antioxidants and nutrients including copper, fiber, manganese, potassium, vitamins C and K and tocopherols. 22

The flavonoids in blackberries may be responsible for increasing blood flow and thus helping the brain receive more oxygen. 23

It also assists in the detoxification or cleansing of your brain preventing potential damage that could debilitate brain functioning. 24

Blackberries also affect your brain’s neural communications which reduces inflammation in a manner similar to that observed with blueberry consumption. 25

A study in June 2009 showed that blackberries increased the short-term memory and motor skills of rats. 26

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Blueberries

Blueberries have a substantial effect on how your brain functions, specifically altering how the neurons communicate. 27

This upgrades the communication pathways and assists in protecting your brain from inflammation and neuronal damage, resulting in improved cognitive functioning. 28

BlueberriesBlueberries were responsible for improving the learning capacity and motor skills of older rats to a level that was equivalent to much younger rats. 29

In one study, scientific researchers conducted a spatial memory test on 18 month old rats, where they used pure anthocyanins or pure flavanols to test the effect on the memory of the rats. 30

The researchers were using anthocyanin and flavanol doses that were similar to the amount found in blueberries. 31

The study consisted of putting rats in a maze and setting up several paths with a food surprise waiting at the end of one path. 32  

After the rat found the food, it would be removed from the maze, and the maze would be wiped down to prevent the rats from smelling where the food was in round 2. 33

After 6 weeks of the study, the researchers found that there was a significant improvement in the spatial working memory of the rats that were given the anthocyanins or pure flavanols as compared to the control group. 34

The researchers disected the brain of the rat and examined the brains of the rats under a microscope, specifically noting that the BDNF messenger molecules in the hippocampus, (area of the brain responsible for forming, storing, and processing memory) of the rats on the anthocyanins were greatly increased. 35

Glossary of Terms & Brief Explanations

(all definitions are derived from http://www.merriam-webster.com/medlineplus unless otherwise specified below)

Flavonoid – “any of a group of aromatic compounds that have two substituted benzene rings connected by a chain of three carbon atoms and an oxygen bridge and that include many common pigments”

Hippocampus – “a curved elongated ridge that is an important part of the limbic system, extends over the floor of the descending horn of each lateral ventricle of the brain, consists of gray matter covered on the ventricular surface with white matter, and is involved in forming, storing, and processing memory”

Neurotrophic – “any of a group of neuropeptides (as nerve growth factor) that regulate the growth, differentiation, and survival of certain neurons in the peripheral and central nervous systems”

Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor Gene – a gene that is responsible for producing a protein in your body which is called Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (“BDNF”). 36

BDNF is critical to learning and memory because it “is active at the connections between nerve cells (synapses), where cell-to-cell communication occurs.” 37 It is responsible for synaptic plasticity, which is the “capacity for being molded or altered.” 38

The information on this website provides a more in detail discussion of synaptic plasticity in conjunction with the discussion regarding fish oil.

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Broccoli

Broccoli is loaded with vitamin A and C, K, folic acid, calcium, choline, manganese, and fiber and many other powerful nutrients and antioxidants. 39 It contains both indoles and isothiocyanates, two phytochemicals that provide the immune system with great protection. 40

There is also evidence that broccoli may have certain healing effects on the brain. 41

Sautéing Veggies - Red Peppers, Onions, Broccoli, Garlic, Carrots

Suggestions on How to Eat broccoli: Broccoli is excellent eaten raw as it it retains many more nutrients and enzymes.

Broccoli makes a wonderful addition to salads, good for dipping a light dressing (oil-based preferred), making a broccoli based soup, stir fry, or steaming it.

If you decide to steam it, one source suggests that “[c]ooking it using a low cooking and steaming temperature for approximately five minutes also works in retaining its nutrients.” 42

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Carrots

Carrots are loaded with vitamin A and tons of phytonutrients, to name a few, alpha carotene, beta carotene, lutein, caffeic acid, coumaric acid, and the list goes on. 43 Chopped Vegetables - Onion, Red Pepper, Carrots, Broccoli, Garlic

The carrot’s rich carotenoid source prevents the oxidation of cells in the body, including in the brain. 44 

According to studies conducted at the French Government’s Medical Research Institute (INSERM), people with the highest blood carotenoids “scored 35 to 40 percent higher on tests of logical reasoning and visual attention than those with the lowest blood levels of carotenoids.” 45

Carrots also provide fiber, biotin, vitamins b1, b2, and b3, vitamin K, potassium, folate, manganese, phosphorous, magnesium, vitamin E, copper, and zinc. 46

Some research suggests that carrots may help regulate blood sugar and improve immune function as a result of the abundant supply of phytochemicals and antioxidants. 47

They are also high in luteolin, a compound which has been found to have a correlation with a decline in age-related memory deficits and cerebral edema. 48

Carrots are also a key player in the body’s detoxification process.  The vitamin A helps clean out the colon and expedites the processing of waste, and it also helps cleanse the liver of toxins. 49

Cleansing your body of toxins prevents the restriction of oxygen and blood flow throughout your body. Toxins that clog your arteries or contaminate your blood and cause other hindrances.

Use in the Super Brain Diet: Carrots should be used in a variety of different manners, from use in salads to steaming to creating the beet juice cocktail.

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Coffee

Coffee is not only delicious…it can boost your memory…or at least that’s what a few studies found.

Researchers at Tufts University thought that the polyphenols and caffeine provide some therapeutic effect for aging individuals.  50 However, there have not been significant studies regarding the effect of coffee on cognitive functioning.  

To test their theory, the researchers conducted studies on 19 month old rats. 51 To give you some perspective, the Illinois Department of Public Health says that rats can live up to 18 months old. 52 

Rat lifespan

As a side note: The figure from the Illinois Department of Public Health refers to Norway Rats or brown rats, but it gives you a general idea of the lifespan of a rat.  

So the researchers set up 5 different groups, and each group of rats’ diets were supplemented with varying amounts of coffee. 53 Each group of rats was served the equivalent of the following amounts in human quantities, respectively: 0, 3, 5, 10, and 15 cups of coffee. 54  

However, when factoring in the human metabolic rate, the equivalent would actually be 0, 0.2, 0.8, 1.4, 2.7, and 4.1 cups. 55  

The rats were fed these amounts for 8 weeks prior to the testing. After the 8 weeks, the psychomotor and working memory tests were performed. 56  

The results showed that coffee had a positive correlation with improved motor skills and less cognitive decline in the aging. 57.

The most significant findings lie in the chart below.

How is Coffee a Brain Booster?

Keep in mind that numerous factors affect brain functioning, and the below results were performed on rats, not humans:

Brain Benefit of Coffee in Rats: Improved Memory (human equivalent in cups)
Brain Benefit of Coffee in Rats: Improved Memory (human equivalent in cups)

Does Caffeine Increase Brain Power and Concentration? What About Enhancing Motor Skills?

We all know that caffeine can make you more alert.  It also has been found to speed up reaction times.  

Researchers at The USF/Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute hypothesize that there’s a component in coffee that has a synergistic effect with caffeine and works to enhance plasma GCSF levels. 58 The researchers that this synergistic effect may have a positive effect on Alzheimer’s. 59

Note: GCSF stands for granulocyte-colony stimulating factor

Granulocyte-colony stimulating factor is “a colony-stimulating factor produced by macrophages, endothelial cells, and fibroblasts that acts to promote the maturation of precursor cells into granulocytes (as neutrophils).” 60

In laymen’s terms, it results in the creation of new white blood cells. 

However, the results showed that the rats that were given caffeine only had an enhancement in performance was the group that received the amount of caffeine in that would be equivalent to 7 human cups of coffee.
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Corn

While certain sources overlook corn and write it off as devoid of any real nutritional value, these suggestions are simply off point. Corn is a complex carbohydrate, loaded with fiber, thiamine, folate, Vitamin C, manganese, pantothenic acid and phosphorous. 61

IMG_1057The naturally occurring thiamine and pantothenic acid (respectively B1 and B5 vitamins) work synergistically to provide an incredible energy source. 62

While Thiamin is usually responsible for generating energy from carbohydrates and other energy reserves (pyruvate), it also plays an important role in DNA production and nerve function.  63

Pantothenic Acid, on the other hand, can become Coenzyme A in the body, and synthesizes a number of different amino acids, fatty acids, and namely, the neurotransmitter Acetylcholine. 64 Acetylcholine is one of the most important building blocks to a sharp memory.

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Flaxseed (Ground)

Flaxseed contains a type of omega-3 fat called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).  Research and studies vary as to its effect on the brain, but there is an agreement that the body can synthesize eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) from ALA. 65

All three of these are Omega 3 fatty acids, but in research and studies, only EPA and DHA have definitively shown to have beneficial effects on the brain. 66 Thus, the consumption of ALA could indirectly boost EPA and DHA. 

However, Dr. Bowden warns of the blocking effect of certain Omega 6 fatty acids, such as those found in vegetable oils (corn, soybean, sunflower, etc.). 67 These prevent your body from converting ALA to EPA or DHA.

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Garlic

Garlic is perhaps the best food you can eat for overall health and immune support. It has the following properties:

  • antiviral, 
  • antibacterial,
  • antifungal,
  • antiparasitic, and
  • antiprotozoan. 68

Throughout history, garlic has been used to treat numerous ailments and diseases because of its super potency. It kills gram positive and gram negative bacteria. 69 To make a contrasting example, Penicillin typically only kills gram positive bacteria. 70

This bacterial protection is just one example of Garlic’s super powerful properties. When fully evaluating garlic, these properties barely scratch the tip of the iceberg of regarding its natural healing powers.

The tremendous health and mental brain boost you see from garlic is incredible.  

Garlic Head Cloves & Minced

Its ability to ramp up your immune system and fight off free radicals and a slew of bacterial and viral types is unprecedented.

If you’re not already eating garlic, start now.  And if you already eat garlic, eat more!

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Kale

Kale is loaded with nutrients and greatly assists the body in the detoxification process. The high number of sulphur compounds may be the key to kale’s assistance in the detox process, as the presence of sulphur is necessary for the effective processing of certain toxins. 71

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Kidney Beans

Kidney Beans are the magical fruit because they’re loaded with fiber.    They “are rich in [s]oluble fiber, [which is the type that] forms a gel-like substance in the digestive tract [and] binds with bile (which contains cholesterol)and ferries it out of the body.” 72

The fiber also allows them to regulate blood sugar. Kidney beans have a modest GI of around 29 for 150 grams. 73 Because they are so low, consuming a healthy amount does not pose a risk of blood sugar spikes.

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Lettuce (Endive, Escarole, Green Leaf, etc.)

Lettuce is loaded with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, including: Vitamins A, C, D, E, K, B6 and B12, iron, magnesium, calcium, phosphorous, and copper. 74 Perhaps most notably, lettuce has massive amounts of magnesium. Magnesium is important because it “has revitalizing powers for muscular tissues, the brain and nerves.’” 75

Additionally, vitamins C and E, calcium, phosphorous, and copper work synergistically with the iron to allow for better metabolism and absorption into the body. 76 Iron assists in the body’s ability to make haemoglobin, which is the part of the red blood cell that brings oxygen to the tissues.” 77

Brain Food: Lettuce

Lettuce is one of the highest iron content vegetables in the typical diet. 78 Iron takes a lead role in assisting the body to create the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine. 79 These neurotransmitters are critical to optimal brain functioning and mood regulation. 80

Lettuce should be an essential part of any healthy diet because of its health benefits and because it acts as a good base for many meals without adding additional sugars (i.e., from bread, pasta, rice).

Also, it’s easy for your body to digest and thus burns minimal energy.

At the same time, lettuce hydrates you and provides you with many essential nutrients and amino acids. As such, it should be included in as many meals as possible.

Generally any variety of lettuce will work and the options for recipes are endless.

Suggested consumption of lettuce: as a salad, used in fresh juice (recommended with carrot due to their synergistic effect), or used in place of bread when possible, i.e., lettuce wraps.

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Olive oil

Olive oil has been shown to slow down the aging of your brain due to its monounsaturated fat content (same fat in avocados and nuts). 81

Other research suggests that olive oil is similar to that of fish oil by demonstrating an ability to protect neuronal membranes and their structures from unwanted harm. 82

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Onions

A Korean research team conducted a study on mice and found that onions can greatly reduce the risk of edema in the brain. 83

“Edema is the medical term for swelling…[it] results whenever small blood vessels become ‘leaky’ and release fluid into nearby tissues. The extra fluid accumulates causing the tissue to swell.” 84

Green Onions for Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Click for an Asian Chicken Lettuce Wrap Recipe with Green Onions

Onions also have a high content of anthocyanins, a phytochemical that is recognized for its potent antioxidant content, and quercetin, a chemical known for its anti-inflammatory properties—hence, its ability to prevent/reduce edema. 85 

Consequently, the tremendous antioxidant content in onions provide your immune system with a revved up army that will track down and eliminate any free radicals that might be causing problems in your body.

Red, White and Yellow Onions

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Oranges

Oranges are famous for their rich supply of vitamin C, but they also provide a number of other beneficial vitamins, nutrients, and amino acids such as folate, thiamin, potassium,  beta-carotene,  pectin, potassium, calcium, iron, iodine, phosphorus, manganese, sodium, chlorine,  zinc, and fiber. 86

Oranges also have an abundance of flavonoids, the antioxidants that protect the part of the brain that controls memory and cognition. 87

Oranges are also slow burning carbohydrates with a low glycemic index coming in at a mere 40. 88 

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Peanuts/Peanut Butter (unsalted)

Peanuts are packed with vitamins B1, B3, B9 (folate), and E. They also pack a pretty hefty protein punch and are cholesterol free. 89

While peanuts might be rich in fat, they are specifically rich in monounsaturated fats–the fat that benefits your heart  (same type of fats found in avocados and olive oil). 90

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Prunes

Prunes may perhaps pack the most powerful antioxidant punch of any food.  They are known for their high levels of phytonutrients, specifically neochlorogenic and chlorogenic acid. 91  These acids work to fight a very powerful free radical called superoxide anion radical. 92  Prunes have also been shown to reduce lipid peroxidation. 93 Accordingly, it’s not surprising that prunes were number one of the charts when Tufts University conducted tests on the foods with the highest antioxidants. 94 The antioxidant levels in prunes (5770 ORAC per 100 grams) dwarfed the runner-up, raisins (2830 ORAC units per 100 grams), in high antioxidant foods. 95

Prunes are also loaded with fiber which is responsible for their cholesterol-lowering abilities due to the presence of pectin. 96 The high fiber also may be attributed to prunes’ ability to regulate blood sugar levels.

Additionally, prunes have a modest glycemic index at 29 for one serving of prunes (600 grams or around 6 prunes). 97

Prunes have also shown to increase iron absorption. 98  Increased iron absorption increases the production of hemoglobin, the part of red blood cells that carries oxygen to cells and tissues. 99 

This provides increased oxygen flow to the brain. Additionally, iron is responsible for production of the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin–necessary pieces to the normal brain functioning process. 100

A few caveats: prunes are high in calories; 101 they can also interfere with the body’s ability to absorb calcium. 102

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Raisins

Raisins are packed with antioxidants. In fact, in testing conducted by Tufts University on 53 foods that were deemed antioxidant power foods, raisins ranked second, inferior only to good old prunes. 103  

Another notable benefit of raisins can be found in the presence of the trace element Boron. 104 The results of recent studies on boron suggested that “low dietary boron resulted in significantly poorer performance (p < 0.05) on tasks emphasizing manual dexterity (studies II and III); eye-hand coordination (study II); attention (all studies); perception (study III); encoding and short-term memory (all studies); and long-term memory (study I).” 105

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Red Wine

Red wine is loaded with antioxidants that can protect the body from free radicals. Red wine also raises good HDL cholesterol and protects your blood vessels.  It has been suggested that a glass of wine a day may “reduce plaque buildup in carotid arteries and discourage clot-type strokes in cerebral vessels. 106

Red wine also contains resveratrol.  Resveratrol has been shown to increase blood flow in the brain. 107 Some studies on “resveratrol have reported anti-cancer effects, anti-inflammatory effects, cardiovascular benefits, anti-diabetes potential, energy endurance enhancement, and protection against Alzheimer’s. 108 Similar to anthocyanins in berries, resveratrol has the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, which provides better protection for your brain. 109

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine tested the cognitive abilities of 12,000 female subjects, ages 70-81. 110

The moderate drinkers received higher scores than non-drinkers. 111

After the study, the researchers  concluded that 5 ounces per day was the ideal amount for optimal brain functioning. 112

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Salmon (generally applicable to fish oil supplements)

Salmon has always been cherished because it’s packed with protein and also known for its abundant supply of omega 3 fatty acids.  The proteins in the salmon increase your body’s production of neurotransmitters while the omega 3 fatty acids are responsible for enclosing your brain cells with a flexible fatty membrane.

Here’s how your brain functions: it typically fires neurotransmitters across a synaptic space to be received by a receptor cell within the tentacle-like dendrites. 113

A fatty membrane covers the receptor cell (including the dendrites), and for your brain to function effectively, the neurotransmitter must properly bind with the proteins in the receptor cell. 114

One caveat, however, is that the neurotransmitter will not bind if it is not accepted by the receptor cell. It can be likened to that of a puzzle piece fitting into its appropriate place in the puzzle. 

The  dendrites and the receptor cells are covered with a fatty cell membrane made from the fish oil fatty acids (or other animal fats). 

Action potential (your ideas and proper brain functioning) is dependent upon the neurotransmitter’s successful acceptance by the receptor cell. 115

Fish oil creates a more flexible fatty acid; thus a more accommodating receptor cell. The cell is more flexible and gives way, or is more willing to adapt, to the shape of the neurotransmitter, thereby allowing the successful acceptance of more neurotransmitters. 116

Animal fats, on the other hand, become more rigid and will not as easily adapt to the shape of the neurotransmitter and thus will not accept it as frequently. 117

DHA can also be taken as a supplement instead of eating fish.  Some doctors advise taking DHA supplements before an exam as it has been shown to increase test scores . 118

Try this amazing Garlic Honey Dijon Salmon Salad recipe!

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Spinach

Spinach is known for its abundant antioxidant supply, including vitamins A, C, several B, and E, selenium, and zinc.  It is also a rich source of choline.  Studies on choline intake have shown its ability to increase both verbal and visual memory. 119

Spinach

Types of Memory (Verbal & Visual)

Verbal memory refers to one’s ability to remember words or verbally presented information 120 and includes the “learning of word lists, story recall (or logical memory), and learning of sequences of paired words.” 121

Visual memory relates to an individual’s ability to process his perceptual surroundings and the ability to store and retrieve those perceptions. 122

Rats that were fed a spinach diet for approximately half of their lives showed a much greater capacity to store long-term memories. 123

The research on the rats also showed that spinach had a direct correlation in preventing cognitive functioning and memory in aging persons. 124

The researcher who conducted the test on the rats, Dr. James A. Joseph, also found that spinach has the ability to reduce the rigidity of brain cell membranes, similar to the process that occurs with fish oil (see Salmon). 125

Spinach is also abundant in lutein, an antioxidant which has shown to prevent a decline in brain functioning, based on research conducted at Tufts University. 126

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Strawberries

First off, you should eat strawberries because they’re delicious. On top of that, they contain high levels of polyphenolic compounds which “can help the brain to carry out vital ‘housekeeping’ functions.” 127

This natural ‘housekeeping’ includes the body’s promotion of autophagy–the brain’s recycling and detoxification process. 128

Strawberries & Blueberries

Harvard researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) tested subjects by supplementing their diet with strawberries or blueberries. 129The studies were conducted on women with an average age of 74 and showed that there was a positive correlation between berry consumption and delaying memory decline. 130 The research suggests it could even delay decline “up to two and a half years.” 131

The abundant source of anthocyanins in the berries may be responsible for these results as anthocyanins have the ability to “cross the blood-brain barrier, [which] affect[s] the areas of the brain that are responsible for learning and memory.” 132

Aside from improving neuronal and cognitive brain functions, the anthocyanins improve “ocular health [and] protect genomic DNA integrity.” 133

Caveat about Eating Strawberries: Strawberries should be used abundantly.  However, you should be eating organic, if possible, and regardless you should always wash strawberries very thoroughly.

How Many Pesticides Are in My Food?

If you think pesticides are no big deal, take a look at this study by  the European Food Safety Authority (“EFSA”). 134

Chart Showing EFSA Findings for Pesticide Residue on Foods

In 2013, the EFSA conducted a study on the 27 nations comprising the European Union and found more than 27% of foods tested had residue of pesticides. 135

The report found that strawberries were the most polluted with pesticides, with nearly 2.5% of the sample exceeding safety limits. 136

Thus, if you were not washing your foods before, please give it a second thought.

Because pesticides are not natural, the toxins can wreak havoc on your organs.  This, in turn, limits your ability to maxmize brain functioning, or for that matter, any effective bodily  functioning.

Suggestions for how to eat strawberries: smoothies, eat plain, or put into spinach or fruit salads.

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Tea

Some research shows that “tea can thwart dreaded ‘lipid peroxidation’ that first step to brain cell destruction.” 137 While black tea ranks higher in total antioxidants, green tea is packed with EGCG an antioxidant that modern science deems very beneficial to the immune system. 

Italian researchers found that “a single cup of strong black or green tea revved up antioxidant activity in the blood by 41 to 48 percent.” 138

Tea could arguably be the most effective way to increase your antioxidant level with the worry of excess calories as tea (made from bags or leaves) generally doesn’t contain any calories.

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Tuna (Albacore or Ahi) 

 For a delicious Pepper Crusted Tuna Tartare Recipe, click here.

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Whole Grains

Here are a list of various ingredients that let you know you’re getting whole grains: List of Whole Grain Ingredients Chart prepared from information available at: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/grains-tips.html.

Whole Oats

Oats are a premium source of slow digesting carbohydrates. 139

Type of carbohydrate: Generally carbohydrates are classifed in two categories: (1)fast digesting carbohydrates and (2) slow digesting carbohydrates.  These are classified by whether they cause quick spikes in blood sugar or slower, steadier increases. 140 

Fast digesting carbohydrates cause your blood sugar to spike. 

Whenever your blood sugar spikes, this is usually followed by a “rapid decline in blood sugar, creating wide fluctuations in your blood sugar level…items with low glycemic index rankings are digested more slowly, raising blood sugar in a more regulated and gradual way.” 141

Remember, the objective is to maintain a regulated glucose level for optimal brain functioning. The slow digestion of oats assists your body in maintaining a stable and sustainable supply of glucose.

Use in the Super Brain Diet: Oatmeal with honey and bananas (or apples) is always a solid go-to breakfast. As a side note, granola is usually made from whole grain oats. A few granola ideas– it can be eaten with milk as a cereal, used as a topper for greek yogurt or kefir, or made into a trail mix.

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Walnuts

“Scientists at Tufts University in Boston found that a diet rich in walnuts may improve mental performance. A synergy between the specific type of antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids in this nut might be at work here to boost brain power.” 142Best Exam Foods - Walnut v Human Brain

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By Dan Gabris


Notes:

  1. http://www.askmen.com/sports/foodcourt_200/240_eating_well.html
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1566632/
  3. http://www.healthylifenutrition.net/brain-nutrition-benefits-of-apple/
  4. http://www.healthylifenutrition.net/brain-nutrition-benefits-of-apple/
  5. http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsweek/Glycemic_index_and_glycemic_load_for_100_foods.htm
  6. http://www.besthealthmag.ca/get-healthy/health-after-40/15-health-benefits-of-eating-apples; http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-500-pectin.aspx?activeingredientid=500&activeingredientname=pectin
  7. http://www.besthealthmag.ca/get-healthy/health-after-40/15-health-benefits-of-eating-apples
  8. http://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/slideshow-brain-foods-that-help-you-concentrate
  9. See generally http://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/slideshow-brain-foods-that-help-you-concentrate
  10. http://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/slideshow-brain-foods-that-help-you-concentrate
  11. http://www.livestrong.com/article/91156-bananas-brain/
  12. See generally David Servan-Schreiber, The Instinct to Heal: Curing Depression, Anxiety and Stress Without Drugs and Without Talk Therapy (Rodale Books 2004).
  13. Steven Looi, Brain Parts and Function (2012), available at http://www.brainhealthandpuzzles.com/brain_parts_function.html. See generally David Servan-Schreiber, The Instinct to Heal: Curing Depression, Anxiety and Stress Without Drugs and Without Talk Therapy (Rodale Books 2004).
  14. http://www.ask.com/question/why-are-bananas-good-for-your-brain
  15. See generally http://woman.thenest.com/potassium-important-neural-function-6867.html
  16. http://health.howstuffworks.com/human-body/systems/nervous-system/nerve4.htm; See generally http://woman.thenest.com/potassium-important-neural-function-6867.html
  17. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/01/25/beets-health-benefits.aspx
  18. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/01/25/beets-health-benefits.aspx
  19. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/01/25/beets-health-benefits.aspx
  20. http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/benefits-beet-juice
  21. http://www.shape.com/healthy-eating/diet-tips/11-best-foods-your-brain; http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/18/brain-food-superfoods_n_1895328.html#slide=1540820
  22. http://berryhealth.fst.oregonstate.edu/health_healing/fact_sheets/blackberry_facts.htm; http://www.livestrong.com/article/483663-how-does-eating-blackberries-affect-your-brain [/ref] Studies have reported that blackberries may aid in preventing memory loss related to aging 143http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120307145825.htm
  23. David Vauzour,1 Katerina Vafeiadou,1 Ana Rodriguez-Mateos, et al., The neuroprotective potential of flavonoids: a multiplicity of effects, available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2593006/; http://www.livestrong.com/article/483663-how-does-eating-blackberries-affect-your-brain/
  24. http://www.livestrong.com/article/483663-how-does-eating-blackberries-affect-your-brain/ 
  25. http://www.livestrong.com/article/483663-how-does-eating-blackberries-affect-your-brain/
  26. http://www.livestrong.com/article/483663-how-does-eating-blackberries-affect-your-brain/
  27. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120307145825.htm; https://www.cookingdetective.com/superfood/
  28. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120307145825.htm
  29. http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/eat-smart-healthier-brain
  30. Rendeiro, Catarina, Vauzour, David, Rattray, Marcus, et al., Dietary Levels of Pure Flavonoids Improve Spatial Memory Performance and Increase Hippocampal Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor, Published online 2013 May 28, available here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3665790/
  31. Rendeiro, Catarina, Vauzour, David, Rattray, Marcus, et al., Dietary Levels of Pure Flavonoids Improve Spatial Memory Performance and Increase Hippocampal Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor, Published online 2013 May 28, available here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3665790/
  32. Rendeiro, Catarina, Vauzour, David, Rattray, Marcus, et al., Dietary Levels of Pure Flavonoids Improve Spatial Memory Performance and Increase Hippocampal Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor, Published online 2013 May 28, available here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3665790/
  33. Rendeiro, Catarina, Vauzour, David, Rattray, Marcus, et al., Dietary Levels of Pure Flavonoids Improve Spatial Memory Performance and Increase Hippocampal Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor, Published online 2013 May 28, available here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3665790/
  34. Rendeiro, Catarina, Vauzour, David, Rattray, Marcus, et al., Dietary Levels of Pure Flavonoids Improve Spatial Memory Performance and Increase Hippocampal Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor, Published online 2013 May 28, available here: thttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3665790/
  35. Rendeiro, Catarina, Vauzour, David, Rattray, Marcus, et al., Dietary Levels of Pure Flavonoids Improve Spatial Memory Performance and Increase Hippocampal Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor, Published online 2013 May 28, available here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3665790/
  36. http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/gene/BDNF
  37. http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/gene/BDNF
  38. http://www.merriam-webster.com/medlineplus/plasticity.
  39. http://www.naturalnews.com/039187_broccoli_health_benefits_risk_factors.html; http://home.howstuffworks.com/broccoli3.htm; http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=9
  40. http://home.howstuffworks.com/broccoli3.htm
  41. http://www.nutraingredients.com/Research/Broccoli-could-help-the-brain-heal
  42. http://www.naturalnews.com/039187_broccoli_health_benefits_risk_factors.html
  43. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/270191.php; http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=21
  44. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=21
  45. Carper 162
  46. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/270191.php
  47. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/270191.php
  48. http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/six-foods-to-eat-for-a-better-brain-walnuts-carrots-coffee-2175955.html
  49. http://www.care2.com/greenliving/10-benefits-of-carrots.html
  50. Barbara Shukitt-Hale, Marshall G. Miller, et al., Coffee, but not caffeine, has positive effects on cognition and psychomotor behavior in aging, available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3824984/
  51. Barbara Shukitt-Hale, Marshall G. Miller, et al., Coffee, but not caffeine, has positive effects on cognition and psychomotor behavior in aging, available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3824984/
  52. http://www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/pcnorwayrat.htm
  53. See Shukitt-Hale, Marshall G. Miller, et al.,
  54. See Shukitt-Hale, Marshall G. Miller, et al.,
  55. See Shukitt-Hale, Marshall G. Miller, et al.,
  56. See Shukitt-Hale, Marshall G. Miller, et al.,
  57. See Shukitt-Hale, Marshall G. Miller, et al.,
  58. Cao C, Wang L, Lin X, Mamcarz M, et al., Caffeine synergizes with another coffee component to increase plasma GCSF: linkage to cognitive benefits in Alzheimer’s mice. available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21422521#
  59. Cao C, Wang L, Lin X, Mamcarz M, et al., Caffeine synergizes with another coffee component to increase plasma GCSF: linkage to cognitive benefits in Alzheimer’s mice. available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21422521#
  60. http://www.merriam-webster.com/medlineplus/granulocyte-colony%20stimulating%20factor
  61. http://www.wisegeek.com/what-are-the-health-benefits-of-corn.htm
  62. http://www.wisegeek.com/what-are-the-health-benefits-of-corn.htm; see generally http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-853-PANTOTHENIC%20ACID%20%28VITAMIN%20B5%29.aspx?activeIngredientId=853&activeIngredientName=PANTOTHENIC%20ACID%20%28VITAMIN%20B5%29
  63. Fattal-Valevski, A (2011). “Thiamin (vitamin B1)”. Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine 16 (1): 12–20. doi:10.1177/1533210110392941.
  64. Gropper, S; Smith, J (2009). Advanced nutrition and human metabolism. Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning.
  65. http://www.betternutrition.com/fish-versus-flax-oil/columns/askthenaturopath/913
  66. http://www.betternutrition.com/fish-versus-flax-oil/columns/askthenaturopath/913
  67. http://www.betternutrition.com/fish-versus-flax-oil/columns/askthenaturopath/913
  68. Paul Bergner, The Healing Power of Garlic, The Enlightened Person’s Guide to Nature’s Most Versatile Medicinal Plant 100 (1996).
  69. Paul Bergner, The Healing Power of Garlic, The Enlightened Person’s Guide to Nature’s Most Versatile Medicinal Plant (1996)
  70. http://community.middlebury.edu/~sontum/chemistry/students/atteridge/penicillin/penicillin.html
  71. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=38
  72. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=87
  73. http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsweek/Glycemic_index_and_glycemic_load_for_100_foods.htm
  74. http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_minerals_are_in_lettuce#slide=1
  75. quoting Dr. Norman Walker, retrieve at http://www.naturalhealth365.com/food_news/lettuce_juice.html
  76. http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_minerals_are_in_lettuce#slide=1
  77. http://www.drbriffa.com/2010/02/26/iron-supplementation-found-to-improve-brain-function/
  78. http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_minerals_are_in_lettuce#slide=1
  79. http://www.drbriffa.com/2010/02/26/iron-supplementation-found-to-improve-brain-function/
  80. http://www.drbriffa.com/2010/02/26/iron-supplementation-found-to-improve-brain-function/
  81. Carper 65
  82. Carper 65
  83. Bowden, Johnny, The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth; http://jonnybowdenblog.com/protect-brain-onions/
  84. http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/heart-failure/edema-overview
  85. http://www.livestrong.com/article/481050-does-too-much-onion-affect-your-memory
  86. http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/1966/2; http://www.healthonlinezine.info/health-benefits-of-oranges-nutritional-value-of-orange.html
  87. http://www.chileunderground.com/2011/01/26/brain-food-when-life-hands-you-lemons-ask-for-oranges-instead/
  88. http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/feeding-eating/family-nutrition/brain-foods/best-brain-foods-11-ways-foods-can-help-you-think; http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsweek/Glycemic_index_and_glycemic_load_for_100_foods.htm
  89. http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20585485_6,00.html; http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=101
  90. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=101
  91. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?dbid=103&tname=foodspice
  92. Nakatani N1, Kayano S, Kikuzaki H, Sumino K, et al., Identification, quantitative determination, and antioxidative activities of chlorogenic acid isomers in prune (Prunus domestica L. ), available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11087511; http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?dbid=103&tname=foodspice
  93. Nakatani N1, Kayano S, Kikuzaki H, Sumino K, et al., Identification, quantitative determination, and antioxidative activities of chlorogenic acid isomers in prune (Prunus domestica L. ), available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11087511; http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?dbid=103&tname=foodspice
  94. Carper 152
  95. Carper 152
  96. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?dbid=103&tname=foodspice
  97. http://www.livestrong.com/article/415499-glycemic-index-of-prunes/
  98. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?dbid=103&tname=foodspice
  99. http://www.drbriffa.com/2010/02/26/iron-supplementation-found-to-improve-brain-function/
  100. http://www.drbriffa.com/2010/02/26/iron-supplementation-found-to-improve-brain-function/
  101. Carper 154
  102. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?dbid=103&tname=foodspice
  103. Carper 152
  104. http://www.askmen.com/sports/foodcourt_200/240_eating_well.html; http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=nutrientprofile&dbid=24
  105. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1566632/
  106. Carper 170
  107. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/05/27/resveratrol-boosts-brain-blood-flow.aspx
  108. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/05/27/resveratrol-boosts-brain-blood-flow.aspx
  109. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/05/27/resveratrol-boosts-brain-blood-flow.aspx
  110. http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/wine-how-much-is-good-for-you
  111. http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/wine-how-much-is-good-for-you
  112. http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/wine-how-much-is-good-for-you
  113. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5zFgT4aofA
  114. See Carper
  115. Carper 69-71; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5zFgT4aofA
  116. Carper 69-71
  117. Carper 69-71
  118. See Carper 77
  119. Coreyann Poly, Joseph M Massaro, Sudha Seshadri, Philip A Wolf, Eunyoung Cho, Elizabeth Krall, Paul F Jacques, and Rhoda Au (2011). “The relation of dietary choline to cognitive performance and white-matter hyperintensity in the Framingham Offspring Cohort”. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/94/6/1584.abstract?sid=3af7108c-0055-49f4-9dfb-52bd432c1dfd.”
  120. See http://www.memorylossonline.com/glossary/verbalmemory.html; http://www.springerreference.com/docs/html/chapterdbid/119813.html
  121. http://www.springerreference.com/docs/html/chapterdbid/119813.html
  122. Berryhill , M. (2008, May 09). Visual memory and the brain. Retrieved from http://www.visionsciences.org/symposia2008_4.html
  123. Jean Carper, Your Miracle Brain: Maximize Your Brainpower, Boost Your Memory, Lift Your Mood, Improve Your IQ and Creativity, Prevent and Reverse Mental Aging 157 (HarperCollins 2000)
  124. Carper 158
  125. Carper 158
  126. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/18/brain-food-superfoods_n_1895328.html#slide=1540812
  127. http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/berries-protect-brain-premature-aging-study-article-1.1324139
  128. http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/berries-protect-brain-premature-aging-study-article-1.1324139; Patel AS, Lin L, Geyer A, et al. (2012). “Autophagy in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis”. In Eickelberg, Oliver. PLoS ONE 7 (7): e41394. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0041394. PMC 3399849. PMID 22815997.
  129. http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2012/04/berries-keep-your-brain-sharp/
  130. http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2012/04/berries-keep-your-brain-sharp/
  131. http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2012/04/berries-keep-your-brain-sharp/
  132. http://health.yahoo.net/experts/drmao/all-star-superfoods-blueberries-and-strawberries
  133. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17533652
  134. Strawberries Top List of Pesticide-Laced Food in EU by Thomson Reuters, Reuters Staff, published on March 13, 2015, available at: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/841390
  135. Strawberries Top List of Pesticide-Laced Food in EU by Thomson Reuters, Reuters Staff, published on March 13, 2015, available at: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/841390
  136. Strawberries Top List of Pesticide-Laced Food in EU by Thomson Reuters, Reuters Staff, published on March 13, 2015, available at: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/841390
  137. Carper 164
  138. Carper 165
  139. http://www.shape.com/healthy-eating/diet-tips/11-best-foods-your-brain/slide/7
  140. Carper 123
  141. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/glycemic-index-diet/art-20048478
  142. http://www.shape.com/healthy-eating/diet-tips/11-best-foods-your-brain/slide/10

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