6 Best Foods for Brain Health and Memory: Fish, Berries and More

6 Best Foods for Brain Health and Memory: Fish, Berries and More

Foods like berries, vegetables and nuts can improve brain health and memory. (Photos via Getty Images)

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Consult a qualified medical professional before engaging in any physical activity or making any changes in diet, medication or lifestyle.

“You are what you eat” isn’t just an old adage – it is truth when it comes to your brain.

Foods that raise low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, such as saturated and trans fats, not only clog your arteries and affect your heart, they’re also bad for your brain.

Over time, a diet high in LDL can have a negative effect your brain health and memory due to the build-up of beta-amyloid plaques in your brain.

However, if you maintain a diet that focuses on poly and monounsaturated fats, you’ll be doing yourself a favor in the short and long term.

Read on to learn about some of the best foods that science says will improve your memory and brain health over time.

Raw piece of salmon garnished with cilantro on a white background.

Fatty fish, such as salmon, help the development of brain cells. (Photo via Getty Images)

Fatty fish

Fatty fish is almost always at the top of the list of brain-healthy foods. Why? Fatty fish is a treasure trove of omega-3 fatty acids, healthy fats that are associated with lower levels beta-amyloid plaques that create harmful accumulations in the brain.

Omega-3 fatty acids they also play a vital role in your nervous system, counting half the fat that makes up your brain. These fats help in the development of brain cells, making them a vital part of learning and memory.

Here are some great options for oily fish that are rich in omega-3s:

  • Salmon

  • Light canned tuna

  • Atlantic mackerel

  • Herring

  • Sardines

  • Cod

  • Trout

  • Pollock

Oatmeal, seeds and bran in wooden spoons on a wooden table.

Whole grains are rich in vitamin E, an antioxidant that protects your brain cells from oxidative stress. (Photo via Getty Images)

Whole grains

Whole grains are rich in vitamin E, an an antioxidant that protects your cells from oxidative stress to which the brain is very sensitive. Oxidative stress contributes to memory degeneration later in life, but high levels of vitamin E do associated with better brain function.

You can include whole grains in your diet substitute for refined carbohydrates such as breakfast cereals, white rice and whole grain white bread such as:

  • Oatmeal

  • brown rice

  • Whole grain pasta

  • quinoa

  • Whole grain bread

  • Buckwheat

An assortment of leafy greens including kale, spinach and rainbow chard

Vitamin K, found in leafy green vegetables, slows the effects of cognitive decline and is great for brain health. (Photo via Getty Images)

Leafy vegetables

Vitamin K, beta carotene, lutein and folic acid are beneficial nutrients found in leafy green vegetables. Research shows that these nutrients help slow the effects of cognitive decline and are great for brain health.

In fact, just a 160-gram serving of broccoli will provide more than 100 percent of your daily recommended intake of vitamin K—which is associated with better memory when consumed in large doses.

Other leafy greens that are great for brain health and memory include:

  • Kale

  • Spinach

  • Brussels sprouts

  • Necklaces

  • Cabbage

walnuts, almonds, cashews and hazelnuts close up

Nuts are rich in nutrients that help your memory and brain health. (Photo via Getty Images)


Nuts are great sources of protein, but they’re also rich in other nutrients that help your memory and brain health.

Nutrients like vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish and whole grains are also present in many types of nuts.

A diet rich in nuts is associated with better brain function later in life and contributes to a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

You can mix nuts with your morning oatmeal, combine them with fruit and seeds in trail mix, or eat them on their own. Some excellent nuts for brain health include:

  • Walnuts

  • almonds

  • Nuts

  • peanut

  • Pecans

  • Cashew nuts

Top view of a cup of black coffee, on top of a pile of raw coffee beans

Coffee can protect your brain from Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. (Photo via Getty Images)


Coffee isn’t just good for your morning or midday energy boost at work — research also suggests it protects your brain from Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr. Donald Weaver, co-director of Krembil Brain Institutepublished a study in Frontiers in neuroscience who found a correlation between certain baking processes and a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

In addition, reasonable coffee consumption is associated with several other health benefitsincluding reduced risk of heart disease, protection against certain cancers and reduced blood pressure.

Strawberries, blueberries and raspberries in a white bowl

Berries increase brain elasticity and reduce inflammation. (Photo via Getty Images)


It’s not just the powerful antioxidants found in dark-skinned berries that help fight against age-related neurodegenerative diseasesbut they were also shown improve brain health per:

  • Increasing brain elasticity, which strengthens memory and helps the brain develop new connections

  • Improving communication between brain cells

  • Reducing inflammation

Antioxidants found in brain-healthy foods like berries and whole grains protect your brain from oxidative stress that leads to brain degeneration. These antioxidants are found in the form of flavonoids in berries such as:

  • Blueberries

  • Blueberries

  • Strawberries

  • Mulberries

  • Black currants

The bottom line

While indulging in saturated fat in moderation won’t immediately destroy your brain health, your lifelong eating habits will affect the quality of your memory and overall brain health.

Eating healthy, brain-friendly foods benefits your overall well-being.

Let us know what you think by commenting below and tweeting @YahooStyleCA! Follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

#Foods #Brain #Health #Memory #Fish #Berries

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