The 3 Best Foods That Improve Brain Health


The brain is arguably the most important organ in the body due to its complexity. It underlies our ability to move, think, feel, breathe, and live a productive life. As a result, it  consumes approximately 20% of our daily calorie intake. 

However, as we age, it is normal to observe declines in our brain function and overall health. Fortunately, there are ways to slow down this decline and enhance brain health. One of the major ways to improve brain power is to integrate healthy food options into our daily routine. The foods we consume have a crucial role in enabling us to stay healthy. 

3 Best foods that improve brain health 

It is important to understand that nothing can completely prevent the effects of brain ageing. However, many nutritionists and healthcare professionals emphasise that adopting a balanced food pattern is the best course of action to enhance brain health. This includes eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, plant-based proteins, whole grains, and limiting processed foods. Several studies have indicated that foods consisting of antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, flavonols, folic acids, and vitamins have a positive influence on neural function.1

Here are the top three foods that can improve brain health:

Fatty Fish

Fatty Fish: Fatty fish is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, especially DHA and EPA, which are healthy fats essential for various bodily functions. Our brain typically uses omega-3 dietary sources to build nerve cells, support brain function, and enhance our cognitive abilities. Evidence has also shown that DHA has a significant role in mental health development throughout early childhood and into adulthood.2

Although these essential fatty acids (EFAs) are not produced by the body, they are obtained primarily through dietary sources.

Moreover, these healthy fats are also involved in lowering blood levels of beta-amyloid – a protein that forms damaging clusters in the brain of patients with Alzheimer's disease.

A systematic review found that consumption of omega-3 fatty acids is considered a valuable dietary option in the prevention of neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease.3

For best brain health, many nutritionists recommend at least two servings of fatty fish per week.


Berries: The health benefits of fruits like berries are undeniable. Not only are they delicious, but they are also great for your brain's health. Berries are loaded with fibre and vitamins, as well as being heavily packed with powerful antioxidant properties, which help to reduce inflammation and fight against damaging free radicals due to oxidative stress.

According to a study, consuming berries helps lower the risk of Parkinson's disease. Moreover, the antioxidants in berries boost cognitive functions, limiting the effects of memory decline.4 It also improves communication between brain cells.

The vibrant hues of berries are because of a natural substance called flavonoids. Flavonoids are well known for their beneficial anti-inflammatory properties, which prevent several types of dementia.

You can enjoy this rich antioxidant food as a simple snack, or you can add it to your smoothies or oatmeal for breakfast.

Dark Chocolate

Dark Chocolate: Dark chocolate contains about 70% cocoa content, in comparison to milk chocolate, which has less than 50% cocoa.

Like berries, dark chocolate and cocoa are also packed with flavonoids and antioxidants. Since dark chocolate has powerful antioxidant properties, it is considered a great food option for the brain.

Evidence has shown that cocoa flavonoids can possibly increase cognitive functions and stimulate blood flow to the brain.5 This encourages the decline of brain fog and enhances memory and learning capabilities in humans.

Furthermore, dark chocolate is a great source of mood enhancers. It lowers fatigue and promotes positive effects on our working memory.

Things to remember

As we age, it is natural to notice changes in cognitive functions. To limit the challenges of neurological conditions, it is important to understand the impact of diet on preserving brain health. There are many foods that could help to maintain good brain health.

For instance, if you are not a fan of fatty fish, you can buy omega-3 oil supplements, or you can opt for alternatives such as walnuts, flaxseeds, and avocados.

Moreover, many nutritionists highlight the significance of a balanced diet pattern. The most recommended option is following a Mediterranean diet. It greatly encourages eating plant-based foods, including whole grains, healthy fats, fruits, and vegetables.

A recent study has indicated that adding a green Mediterranean diet, which includes regular consumption of green tea, nuts, fruits, vegetables, and olive oil, may assist in preventing brain atrophy.6

It is also important to recognise the diets that can affect brain health. This includes refined sugars, saturated fats, and processed foods. Consuming them may cause detrimental changes and cognitive impairment.

Although following a healthy diet has its own significance, It is also crucial to combine your diet with other factors that can increase your brain power. This includes:

  • Regular physical exercise.
  • Getting plenty of sleep.
  • Engaging in mental activities to enhance brain health.
  • Limiting smoking and alcohol consumption.
  • Keeping yourself socially active.


The brain is the most complex and fascinating part of the human body. It is the command centre that enables us to think, memorise, move, feel, and breathe.Because of its energy-intensive capabilities, the brain requires plenty of fuel from a variety of nutrients containing antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, flavonoids, minerals, and vitamins to stay healthy.

Consuming brain-boosting foods is essential for short- and long-term brain function. Including brain foods in your diet not only aids in the development, repair, and reduction of inflammation, but is also strongly linked to the prevention of negative ageing effects and neurodegenerative disorders. Choosing a healthy diet and lifestyle can provide significant benefits to a person's brain and overall health.


  1. Gómez-Pinilla F. Brain foods: the effects of nutrients on brain function. Nature reviews neuroscience. 2008 Jul;9(7)
  2. DiNicolantonio JJ, O’Keefe JH. The Importance of Marine Omega-3s for Brain Development and the Prevention and Treatment of Behavior, Mood, and Other Brain Disorders. Nutrients. 2020 Aug 4;12(8):2333.
  3. Avallone R, Vitale G, Bertolotti M. Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Neurodegenerative Diseases: New Evidence in Clinical Trials. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2019 Aug 30;20(17):4256.
  4. an SJ, Ismail IS. Potency of Selected Berries, Grapes, and Citrus Fruit as Neuroprotective Agents. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2020 May 30;2020:1–12.
  5. Lamport DJ, Christodoulou E, Achilleos C. Beneficial Effects of Dark Chocolate for Episodic Memory in Healthy Young Adults: A Parallel-Groups Acute Intervention with a White Chocolate Control. Nutrients. 2020 Feb 14;12(2):483.
  6. Kaplan A, Zelicha H,et al. The effect of a high-polyphenol Mediterranean diet (Green-MED) combined with physical activity on age-related brain atrophy: the Dietary Intervention Randomized Controlled Trial Polyphenols Unprocessed Study (DIRECT PLUS). The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition [Internet]. 2022
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Sadaf Ahmed

Master of Science - MSc, Physiology, Clinical & Molecular Hematology, Karachi University, Pakistan

Sadaf is an experienced writer who creates a quality and well-researched scripts particularly related to Health Sciences.

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