Decades have passed since evidence about what our food choices do to our organs was brought forth and accepted throughout major medical institutions. With that research, multiple health groups formulated recommended daily allowances and other ways to advise people how to eat for health. Now, we’re learning that nutrition also affects the brain.

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Research is proving again and again that healthy diets with wholesome nutrition can enhance brain performance and function. Since diets can affect blood sugar, hormones, cholesterol, blood pressure, stroke, and the cardiovascular system, it’s no surprise that the brain can also be influenced by the food we consume. So, if you have been looking for diets that can increase your brain power, then you are in luck.

Studies on the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), MIND (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) and Mediterranean diets have found the foods that boost brain power. Let’s have a look.

Healthy Fats

Did you know that the brain is comprised of about 70% fat? Our bodies and brains cannot survive without the right amount of fat—but it has to be the correct kind. The fats that our brains thrive on are omega 3 fatty acids, an essential fat that aids in the building of brain tissue. That is why prenatal vitamins often contain DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), an omega 3 that is present in fish like salmon. You can also find another kind of omega 3s in ground flaxseed, chia, walnuts, and other similar plant and seed sources. Olive oil, avocados, nut butters, eggs, and the like are also great sources.

To improve brain power, focus on omega 3 fatty acids and reduce your intake of saturated fats. Humans need some saturated fat, but Canadians sometimes eat too much.

Lastly, avoid trans fats, also seen as partially hydrogenated oils. Be out the look out for mono- and di-glycerides in the ingredient list, too. Those have replaced trans fats in many commercially packaged items, like snack bars, cookies, pastries, and crackers. Avoid fried foods, because those kinds of foods can cause fat to oxidize and lead to health problems.

Lean Proteins

The DASH, MIND, and Mediterranean diets all focus on lean protein, such as wild-caught fish, poultry, eggs, and plant-based sources like nuts, soy, and legumes. You need protein to create the neurotransmitters that send messages from your brain throughout the body and brain. Protein is also necessary for the musculoskeletal system.

One of the best bioavailable proteins would be the egg. Yes, eggs have a bad reputation for being high in cholesterol, but studies have proven that eggs have little impact on your cholesterol levels. Don’t skip the yolk, because you would be missing one of the richest sources of choline available. Choline is an essential nutrient required for appropriate brain function. Mothers-to-be need even more choline for their babies.

Choline is also present in peanuts, beans, spinach, and cauliflower.

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The brain might be comprised of fats, but it loves carbs too. Of course, too much sugar is a bad thing, and the brain can become easily addicted to the wrong type of carbohydrates. You will notice that the top diets for brain health, such as the Mediterranean diet, do not focus on too much carbohydrates, but they do included whole grains and sprouted grains, otherwise known as “complex carbohydrates.” These carbs are excellent sources of antioxidants, vitamins and nutrients that you need to survive. Complex carbohydrates also take a longer time to digest, ensuring your brain and body have a continuous supply of energy.

Avoid processed carbs like baked goods, cookies, pretzels, white flour crackers and breads, and similar items. These are nutritionally devoid and will cause your blood glucose to spike. You might feel a rush of energy for a little while, but your brain will use that energy too quick and your batteries will drain rapidly afterwards.

Make The Right Choices For Brain Power

The main takeaway from this is that you need to balance your nutrition. The analogy that the body is like a car that deserves quality fuel also applies to the brain. Without nutrient-rich energy sources, the brain will struggle to meet the demands of your life. You will feel lethargic and lack energy, and you might be unable to process information. By adding more nutritious sources into your diet, you can empower yourself to achieve everything you’ve set out to!


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