The brain is an extremely important organ in the body that has an impact on much more than just allowing you to think. It is the body's control center and plays a role in keeping your heart beating, getting air to your lungs, regulating hunger, keeping your memory sharp, and so much more.
Supporting your brain through adequate nutrients is key to improving concentration, mental health, focus, and memory. Some essential nutrients to include in your eating pattern to support cognitive health are antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, and vitamin E.
Some of these nutrients help increase blood flow to the brain, help improve cell connections, limit oxidation, or reduce inflammation, all of which help the brain function optimally!
The Best Foods and Nutrients That Support Brain Heath
Various antioxidants can be found in many fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants help fight free radicals, which cause cell damage. They also have anti-inflammatory properties.
Oxidative stress and inflammation can both contribute to neurodegenerative diseases and cognitive decline. Studies suggest that certain antioxidants can help slow cognitive decline and improve cognitive health in older adults because of their ability to fight free radicals and reduce inflammation.2
Food sources of antioxidants:
- Dark Chocolate
Omega-3 fatty acids are widely known for their neuroprotective properties. The brain is largely comprised of fatty acids, and it specifically uses omega-3 fatty acids to build brain and nerve cells. They are also key to developing healthy cell membranes, which help facilitate communication between cells. This, in turn, supports memory and much more. Additionally, omega-3 fatty acids may help slow age-related cognitive decline and potentially prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
Food sources of omega-3 fatty acids:
In total, there are eight B vitamins. While each serves a special purpose, their most known role is aiding metabolism, which directly impacts energy levels, cell metabolism, and brain function. B vitamins also have neuroprotective effects that can help with cognitive performance.
Research has shown that getting B vitamins through dietary intake was associated with improved processing speed, recall, recognition, and verbal ability.4 Folate, specifically, has been shown to help minimize age-related decline.
Food sources of B vitamins:
Vitamin E is special because it also has antioxidant properties, fighting against free radicals. Because of this, vitamin E has been shown to benefit your health in a variety of ways. Positive correlations have been made between higher intakes of vitamin E and a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease.5 Vitamin E has also been shown to promote healthy brain aging and delay cognitive decline.
Food sources of vitamin E:
- Sunflower seeds
When it comes to supporting your cognitive health, the food you eat has a huge impact! Make sure you are incorporating foods with antioxidants, omega-3s, B vitamins, and vitamin E in your eating pattern to support your brain’s health.
Because each body is different, the amount of nutrients one needs to thrive can be different from person to person. Our at-home DNA test will give you a personalized nutrition analysis that’ll provide detailed genetic-based results. You’ll discover your personal needs for 23 different nutrients, 100+ foods that are best for your genes, your eating and stress predispositions, and any sensitivities to lactose, gluten, caffeine, and alcohol.
If you want to take your personalized nutrition journey to the next level and receive hands-on support to help you reach your health goals, our registered dietitians are offering one-on-one online nutrition programs. You can use these consultations in any way you desire—get an in-depth walkthrough of your GenoPalate analysis, learn more about your body’s individual needs, discuss how to can implement your analysis into your lifestyle, create a personalized plan to reach your health goals, and more.
- Martínez García, R. M., Jiménez Ortega, A. I., López Sobaler, A. M., & Ortega, R. M. (2018). Estrategias nutricionales que mejoran la función cognitiva [Nutrition strategies that improve cognitive function]. Nutricion hospitalaria, 35(Spec No6), 16–19. https://doi.org/10.20960/nh.2281
- Godos, J., & Grosso, G. (2021). Dietary Antioxidants and Brain Health: Focus on Cognitive and Affective Disorders. Antioxidants (Basel, Switzerland), 10(11), 1659. https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox10111659
- Dyall S. C. (2015). Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids and the brain: a review of the independent and shared effects of EPA, DPA, and DHA. Frontiers in aging neuroscience, 7, 52. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnagi.2015.00052
- Bryan, J., Calvaresi, E., & Hughes, D. (2002). Short-term folate, vitamin B-12, or vitamin B-6 supplementation slightly affects memory performance but not mood in women of various ages. The Journal of nutrition, 132(6), 1345–1356. https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/132.6.1345
- La Fata, G., Weber, P., & Mohajeri, M. H. (2014). Effects of vitamin E on cognitive performance during aging and in Alzheimer's disease. Nutrients, 6(12), 5453–5472. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu6125453