Food for Thought: 7 Brain-Healthy Foods to Ward Off Cognitive Disorders


When we think of ways to look and feel younger, very rarely do people remember the organ that does all of our thinking—the brain. With Alzheimer’s cases doubling every five years, it’s time we take to think of ways to fortify our minds from future cognitive disorders, and it all starts with what goes in your belly. Here are 7 ultra-healthy foods to keep your thoughts in order down the road.

1. Eggs

The next time you pick the yolk out of a hard-boiled egg, keep this in mind: the yolk is rich in nutrients that can boost blood flow to the brain. It also contains a nutrient many people haven’t heard of, let alone get enough of, called choline that strengthens cellular walls and signaling molecules inside of the brain.

An adequate amount of B vitamins, which can be found in egg yolks, might hold the key to slower mental decline in seniors, as well as steering clear of depression.

Even though eggs contain cholesterol, small LDL cholesterol particles (the bad stuff) can turn into denser particles (the good stuff) over time.

2. Cinnamon, Sage, Turmeric

If you love dousing your breakfast and lunch meals with spices, you should consider incorporating more cinnamon, sage, and turmeric.

With winter just around the corner, putting pumpkin spice with healthy doses of cinnamon might not be a bad thing (though the full-fat cream latte might). Cinnamon is full of manganese, a mineral and antioxidant that does wonders for the brain.

Turmeric contains curcumin, the component that gives turmeric its iconic yellow sheen, that has been shown to improve depression and stimulate BDNF production—a hormone that helps grow and strengthen brain cells.

Sage may not be your go-to spice, but after learning that the herb might help treat Alzheimer’s disease and neurological function, you’ll want to sprinkle it on every pasta-based meal.

3. Chocolate

Chocolate lovers around the world, rejoice! Well, specifically, dark chocolate lovers. Dark chocolate contains flavonoids—a potent antioxidant that has been shown to boost memory power and decelerate neurological decline.

Next time you make chocolate chip cookies (eggs, yay, sugar and refined flour, not so much), reach for dark chocolate chips instead of super-sweet milk chocolate.

4. Olive Oil

Olive oil is one of the key components in the Mediterranean diet. Studies show that this fruity fat promotes weight loss and fights off diabetes. Extra virgin olive oil is the extra-good stuff that’s rich in antioxidants when consumed raw (not heated) to fight off all sorts of chronic diseases.

A 2017 study demonstrated that consuming EV olive oil can improve learning ability and retention. Olive oil can decrease the risk of strokes later on in life.

5. Fatty Fish

Fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids don’t just taste great, but they’re incredibly good for your heart and mind. The best sources of omega-3s to look for include salmon, mackerel, sardines, and (if you can stomach it) cod liver oil.

Children who don’t get enough of this beneficial fat have been known to suffer from learning impairments. Depression is quite possibly another symptom of an omega-3 deficiency. Incorporating more omega-3-rich foods in your diet can improve your brain’s ability to control emotions and retain memory.

6. Nuts

Nuts are an excellent source of antioxidants and plant-based omega-3s. Walnuts can control a person’s appetite and prevent them from gorging on their favorite snacks. A test on rats showed that vitamin E in walnuts improved learning skills and memory retention.

Don’t skimp out on almonds, either! They’re rich in vitamin E and antioxidants that improve brain function.

7. Berries

Here’s a good reason to make a berry-based shake in the morning. Berries like blueberries and raspberries contain anthocyanins, a type of antioxidant that offers anti-inflammatory properties that can ward of memory loss.

Blueberries in particular are some super-important for your mental health; their antioxidant compounds can improve the communication highway between cells and delay memory loss.