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Weighing about 3 pounds in the average adult, the brain is made up of approximately 60% fat and 40% a combination of water, protein, carbohydrates, and salts. This complex organ controls thought, memory, emotion, and every process that regulates our body1.

While many factors can contribute to cognitive decline, like poor diet, sedentary lifestyle, brain injury, mood disorder, or age-related changes, certain additions to your diet can protect and boost your brain health. 

When the brain is working at its best, you feel like you can conquer anything. But if your brain’s not functioning up to snuff, it can feel like you’re running on fumes—and sometimes that can make even basic tasks feel insurmountable.

Luckily, there are foods that can help your brain get back on track. These foods are packed with vitamins and minerals that boost brain performance and are easy to find in your local grocery store!

In today’s article, we’re going to highlight four brain-boosting superfoods if you’re feeling forgetful or are simply looking to support this complex organ!

Leafy Greens 

Let’s start with a motivating statistic!

Studies have shown that consumption of green leafy vegetables was associated with slower cognitive decline that can be translated to the equivalent of being 11 years younger in age2

The primary nutrients responsible for this statistic are vitamin K (phylloquinone), lutein, beta-carotene, nitrate, folate, kaempferol, and alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E)3.

Among all of the different types of vegetables, green leafy vegetables have been identified as having the strongest protective relations against cognitive decline4

One serving per day of green leafy vegetables, like spinach, kale, collards, or lettuce, is all you need to benefit from these nutrients!


Rich in antioxidants, flavonoids, phenolic acid, melatonin, folate, alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E), selenium, omega-3 fatty acids, protein, fiber, phosphorus, and magnesium, it’s easy to say that walnuts are a superfood5!

Walnuts contain several components that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, improving cognitive performance, enhancing memory, and boosting brain function while reducing the risk and/or progression of certain diseases, such as mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s6.

Several studies have suggested that walnuts may also decrease the risk or progression of other brain disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease, stroke, and depression7.


Recent clinical research has shown that berry fruits can prevent age-related neurodegenerative diseases and improve motor and cognitive functions. The neuroprotective effects of berry fruits are related to phytochemicals such as anthocyanin, caffeic acid, catechin, quercetin, kaempferol, and tannin8.  

While all berries are good for brain health, the blueberry should take the spotlight. Blueberries are bursting with antioxidants, specifically flavonoids. These antioxidants stimulate blood and oxygen flow in the brain, resulting in boosted concentration9.

Regularly incorporating berries like strawberry, blueberry, bilberry, blackcurrant, blackberry, and mulberry is a great way to protect, support, and boost your brain health!

Fatty Fish 

Omega-3 fatty acids, a major building block of the brain, play a role in sharpening memory, improving mood, and protecting your brain against cognitive decline. Fatty fish happens to be the best source of two of the three most important omega-3s, EPA and DHA. 

Studies show that minimal intake of marine omega-3s increases the risk for numerous mental health issues, including Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), autism, bipolar disorder, depression, and suicidal ideation10

Conversely, regular intake of fatty fish, or supplementation of omega 3s, has been shown to improve numerous mental health conditions and benefit overall brain health. 

Aim to incorporate fatty fish like anchovies, salmon, trout, cod, and sardines a few times a week. 

In addition to incorporating these brain-boosting superfoods, remember that cognitive health is a reflection of many different lifestyle factors.

Aim to eat a variety of nutrient-dense whole foods, while paying close attention to your stress levels, digestive function, amount and quality of sleep, and frequency of physical activity!


Vanessa Harris
Oncology Nutritionist

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