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Top 10 Brain Foods

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Remember when you were a kid and your mother told you: “eat your green vegetables”? Well, your mother was right! Leafy green vegetables are just some of the foods that are beneficial for your brain health. Some foods have even been clinically proven to reduce memory loss.

1. Leafy green vegetables — any leafy green vegetable, like kale, broccoli and escarole, are great for your brain. According to the AARP, elderly women who ate broccoli, cauliflower, green lettuce and spinach scored better on memory and learning tests than women who did not.

2. Fruits with antioxidants — while you can always look for juices that contain antioxidants, why not eat the fruits themselves? The fruits that contain the most antioxidants include prunes, raisins, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, plums, oranges, red grapes and cherries.

3. Vegetables with antioxidants — vegetables can also be a great source of antioxidants. Examples are kale, spinach, brussels sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, broccoli florets, beets, red bell peppers, onions, corn and eggplant. Many of these vegetables are also leafy green vegetables, so you are giving your brain a one-two punch in nutrients!

4. Omega-3 fatty acid rich fish — wild salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, tuna, anchovies, whitefish and sablefish contain a large amount of omega-3, an essential fatty acid that is needed for brain development. If you are a vegetarian, non-meat based supplements are available.

5. Cacao beans — yes, chocolate is good for you! But not the chocolate with excess sugar. Try either cocoa powder or dark chocolate with at least a 75 percent content of cacao.

6. Matcha — matcha is a high-quality Japanese green tea that contains a huge amount of EGCG and antioxidants. Unlike other teas, matcha is a powder, so you drink all of it. Health food stores, natural grocery markets and Asian supermarkets should have matcha available.

7.Acai berries — while acai berries are a high-antioxidant fruit, they require their own category. Besides antioxidants, acai berries contain omega-3 fatty acids and lots of protein. Fresh berries, or flash frozen, have the best benefits.

8. Coffee beans — coffee is great for your brain, if you can resist adding lots of sugar and milk. Coffee beans are chock full of good things: antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins and minerals. Studies done with coffee have shown that regular coffee consumption not only reduces mental decline but can be a preventative against Alzheimer's disease.

9. Soy products — soy products, like tofu, soybeans and soy milk, are great for brain health, especially if you can get organic soy products.

10. Whole wheat — white bread and flour do not have the same health benefits as whole wheat. Try using as many whole-wheat products as possible.

Elizabeth Stannard Gromisch received her bachelor’s of science degree in neuroscience from Trinity College in Hartford, CT in May 2009. She is the Hartford Women's Health Examiner.

Add a Comment12 Comments

As medical assistant, I must admit that it is real what you said! Some of the above foods are excellent for our health.

June 10, 2013 - 5:25am
EmpowHER Guest

My only criticism would be the lack of info on non-meat sources of Omega 3's other than supplements. Seeds, especially hemp and chia are high in the good fat. A serving of chia seeds has more Omega 3's than cooked wild salmon, and it has a nice dose of calcium to boot. The salmon has the chia seeds smoked in protein content, though. Cheeze. Nice Article all in all.

July 11, 2010 - 10:06pm
EmpowHER Guest

Wow, brain foods totally rock man!


July 9, 2010 - 8:28am

*berries in general are good for your brain
*turmeric which is a spice is good for your brain. I have some because it's a very nutritious spice in general. it is one of the main ingredients in curry. I sprinkle some on my food or you can buy caps and take it as a pill.
*fatty/oily fish like sardines, salmon, albacore tuna, herring, mackerel or you can take fish oil pills
*oysters, they're high in zinc too and good for men to eat because it promotes testosterone production which is important as we get older
*cocoa improves blood vessel function, which boost circulation throughout the body and blood flow to the brain

May 25, 2010 - 1:59am
EmpowHER Guest

What about Salba- like concentrated Chia/flax. Stuff is awesome. I highly recommend this Superfood

May 24, 2010 - 8:17am

Ok, thanks for that. I don't drink caffeinated drinks and haven't for about 10 years. I'll give the tea a miss and focus on my green leafy vegs.

September 7, 2009 - 4:26pm

The only warning I have found is for people who cannot have caffeine. If you cannot drink green tea, then you should not drink matcha. Otherwise, matcha is safe for most people.

September 7, 2009 - 10:50am

Are there any known side effects to Matcha tea? I know some herbal teas are not indicated for certain conditions (like pregnancy), and I would like to know more about it. thanks!

September 6, 2009 - 7:57pm

Great list! I haven't heard of Match tea. I'll check it out at the health food store. Thanks.

September 6, 2009 - 6:16pm
EmpowHER Guest

Great great list. If we're living longer, we want to keep our health and our brain power. This is a wide range of foods anyone can find something here they like and can benefit from. Love her making the point that true cocoa or raw chocolate, not candy, is healthful. I know of a chocolate that is combined with acai berries, and one product contains a plant based source of Omega-3s. They also use healthy soy in their protein bars. A wonderful way to feed your brain. :) MyFitChocolate

August 6, 2009 - 2:03pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.