Mind and Body

5 foods that boost brain function

You’ve probably heard “you are what you eat."

In many ways, this cliché is true — at least when it comes to the brain.

Here are 5 brain-healthy foods and how they can boost cognitive function.

5. Apples

A study released Thursday found two compounds in apples boosted neuron growth in the learning and memory centers of mouse brains.

4. Sweet Potatoes

Red and purple sweet potatoes have been found to protect against brain inflammation and declines in cognitive function caused by obesity.

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3. Leafy Greens

In a 2018 study, older adults who consumed a median of 1.3 servings of leafy greens per day slowed their rate of cognitive decline by the equivalent of 11 years.

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2. Fermented Foods

Fermented foods like kombucha, kimchi, and sauerkraut promote a healthy gut microbiome, which has far-reaching effects on health, including cognition.

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1. Fish

Omega-3 fatty acids like those found in fish are well known for their health benefits, with studies finding they can boost memory and improve mood.

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Scientists have found that baked or broiled fish can enhance the memory and cognition centers of the brain, no matter how much omega-3 it contains.

What you don’t eat is just as important

Refined carbohydrates, processed meat, and soft drinks increase oxidative stress and risk factors for cognitive decline.


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No single food will ensure a healthy brain on its own, so the best bet is to eat a balanced diet that incorporates these proven brain boosters.

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