Eat Smart to Be Smart 15 Brain-Boosting Foods

Here’s a tip before that next big meeting, test or appearance on Jeopardy.

Some foods are higher in the nutrients that specifically boost brain power. That’s right, you can eat yourself smarter! So there’s no reason to chow down on junk food when you really want to be as sharp as possible.

So here are 15 foods you can use to fuel your body’s most complex organ. And they’re pretty darn delicious, too!

  • Whole grains with a low glycemic index (brown rice, breads and pastas) release energy slowly and steadily over time to keep the brain energized and focused.
  • Blueberries are believed to improve short-term memory.
  • Tomatoes contain lycopene, which may protect against dementia and Alzheimer’s.
  • Blackcurrant and papaya both have an insane amount of Vitamin C, which is vital for mental sharpness.
  • Pumpkin seeds offer a double whammy of brainpower: zinc (for memory and thinking skills) and omega-3 oils.
  • Brussels sprouts, spinach and kale are all foods high in vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function and vitamin E, plentiful in nuts, can prevent cognitive decline. Walnuts are an especially good choice because they have alpha linolenic acid (ALA), which promotes blood flow and therefore oxygen to the brain.
  • Oily fish, such as sardines, salmon, trout, mackerel and herring, have long been thought to aid memory and thinking in the aging brain, due to omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which can also be found in linseed (flaxseed) oil, walnut oil and pumpkin seeds.
  • Avocados and olive oil provide monounsaturated fat, which has been shown to slow the brain’s aging process.
  • Beets have nitrates, which aid blood flow to the brain by widening blood vessels.
  • And wheat germ has choline, which may be associated with memory.

And here’s something else to keep in mind: feeding these foods to kids with developing brains may help preserve cognitive function, memory and mental clarity later in life.

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