Dietician Tips: Add Brain-Boosting Foods to Your Diet

Dietician Tips: Add Brain-Boosting Foods to Your Diet

Research has long suggested a link between eating healthy, brain-boosting food and a reduced risk of memory decline.

One such study published by the American Academy of Neurology revealed that participants with the healthiest diets were 24 percent less likely to experience a decline in memory than those with the least healthy diets.

But what exactly are those “healthy” foods? With fad diets in the news and an increase in processed foods for convenience, it can sometimes be difficult to determine the best foods for both physical health and brain function.

To maximize memory power, nutritionists suggest a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, legumes, and seafood. Even a morning cup of Joe can be beneficial to our brain health!


Choose dark, leafy greens like spinach, kale, broccoli, and collards, which are rich in disease-fighting healthy nutrients like folate, beta carotene, and vitamin K, and have been shown to slow cognitive decline.


Berries are the superstar of the fruit food group thanks to antioxidants that can improve brain function. A study by researchers at Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital found that women who consumed two or more servings of strawberries and blueberries each week delayed memory decline by up to two-and-a-half years. Other fruits rich in memory-boosting nutrients include grapes (resveratrol) and watermelon (lycopene).


This broad class of vegetables includes peas, lentils, and beans, and provides a host of nutritional benefits. In addition to being in low in fat and cholesterol-free, legumes also provide memory-boosting folate and vitamin B. The wide variety of foods in this group make them easy to add to your diet: toss in soups (black beans or kidney beans) and salads (cannellini beans or chickpeas), add to a ground meat (lentils or pinto beans), or eat as a snack (edamame or soy nuts).


Select fatty fish, which are abundant in omega-3 fatty acids: salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, and trout. Not a fan of fish? Other foods that can provide an omega-3 fatty acid in your diet include flax seeds, chia seeds, and walnuts, which have an alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) omega-3 fat.

Coffee and tea

The jolt of caffeine can feel like a quick boost to your brain, but researchers believe it may also have a positive long-term benefit: providing protection from Alzheimer’s disease. The disorder attacks the brain’s nerve cells (neurons), causing memory loss and changes in behavior and thought patterns. Coffee has antioxidants that may help protect neurons, and green tea has some that may help prevent the clusters of proteins believed to cause the disease.  

Food for thought

Research is showing what’s been long suspected: some foods are proving to be better for long-term brain health. Add a variety of these nutrient-rich, brain-boosting options to your daily diet and you’ll be improving your chances of maintaining and supporting a healthy brain into the future.