12 Brain-Boosting Foods

1. Salmon

Salmon is one of the richest sources of Omega-3 fatty acids that are necessary for brain development and function. Not only salmon, but other fatty fish, as well as fish oil supplements, can deliver Omega-3 fatty acids.

These healthy fats are important for making new neuronal pathways. Studies show that Omega-3s can help children improve reading skills, sharpens memory, and it also prevents memory loss in adults.

When buying salmon, opt for wild-caught.

2. Nuts

Nuts are a decent source of calcium, iron, magnesium, vitamin B6, fiber, and are a plant-based source of Omega-3 fatty acids. They are considered some of the healthiest foods on the planet. Unless there are nut allergy concerns, they are a great food for children eat regularly. Adults benefit from eating nuts, too.

A growing body of evidence confirms that regular consumption of nuts strengthens brainwave frequencies linked with healing, cognition, learning, memory, and other crucial functions in the brain.

3. Eggs

When best brain foods come to mind you don’t think of eggs, do you? Eggs are an “eggcellent” source of protein. In the twentieth century eggs got a bad wrap for an association with higher cholesterol, but neither you nor the child should ditch yolks. Turns out many of the studies showing a problem have been challenged. Eggs are abundant in choline, a nutrient that aids memory development, making them a great choice for the brain-boosting foods top 12 List.

One study discovered that feeding eggs to infants could improve biomarkers associated with the development of their brain. Other studies also show that it improves memory and it all comes down to the choline mentioned above.

Your body converts choline into neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which helps brain cells communicate with one another and keeps memories intact.

4. Blueberries

Blueberries are considered one of the richest sources of antioxidants, which neutralize free radicals and prevent oxidative stress and damage. These sweet fruits are rich in vitamins C and K, minerals, fiber, and other nutrients.

Antioxidants found in blueberries accumulate in areas of the brain that are crucial for intelligence. Studies have shown that flavonoids from blueberries improve mood in children and young adults too.

5. Beans

Beans are another type of food you may not associate improving brain health, but they do. Beans are rich in protein, carbs, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They keep the child full for longer thus providing the energy your child needs to keep their thinking level at peak all afternoon in school.

Beans contain Omega-3 fatty acids, particularly kidney and pinto beans. High-iron beans positively affect overall cognitive performance, evidence shows.

6. Pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin seeds are a decent source of protein, calcium, iron, magnesium, fiber, and Omega-3 fatty acids. Healthy fats aren’t the only reason pumpkin seeds are right for your child’s brain (and yours too). High levels of magnesium are also involved. This mineral has a calming effect on the brain, and it can improve learning and memory.

7. Yogurt

Yogurt is a wonderful source of calcium, vitamin B12, protein, and other essential nutrients. It’s also important to mention Yogurt contains probiotics which improve gut health, strengthen the immune system, and benefit the brain too.

A team of scientists from the UCLA found that subjects who consumed probiotics displayed a different degree of cognitive responsiveness in their brains compared to those who didn’t consume probiotics. These benefits were mainly expressed in regions that process sensation and emotion.

8. Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a staple breakfast food that can do many things including aid in improving memory. After all, oatmeal is rich in protein and fiber to keep heart and brain arteries clear. Plus, this is a versatile food that you can mix with fruits and serve your child a tasty breakfast.

Scientists from the Tufts University found that oatmeal provides a slower and more sustained energy source and consequently results in cognitive enhancement. The same study, which focused on elementary school children, has shown that oatmeal is a far more beneficial breakfast option for child’s brain than low-fiber high-glycemic cereal.

9. Dark chocolate

Dark chocolate is considered a superfood for many reasons. It is highly nutritious and contains iron, fiber, copper, magnesium, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, selenium, zinc, and flavonoids. Thanks to all these nutrients, dark chocolate can protect your health and improve your brain function.

One study involving healthy volunteers found that five days of consuming high-flavanol cocoa improved blood flow to the brain. Regular intake of dark chocolate enhances working memory and visual information processing.

10. Apples

You already know that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”, but it can do a lot more than that. Apples are abundant in potassium, fiber, vitamin C, and other nutrients. What many people don’t know is that apples can improve brain health too.

Research shows that apple and apple products can boost brain function similar to medication. Why? Apple and its juice increase production of acetylcholine which is necessary for cognitive skills and memory.

11. Avocado

Avocado contains healthy fats, vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, vitamin B6, magnesium, and other nutrients. What many people don’t know is that avocados are a powerful brain food. Studies reveal that avocado consumption enhances neural lutein and increases cognitive function. Lutein is a dietary carotenoid that brain needs for proper function.

12. Olive oil

Olive oil is considered the healthiest oil in the world. t belongs to a group of healthy fats, i.e., it’s the monounsaturated fat that keeps your brain healthy.

Consumption of olive oil protects memory and learning ability. Plus, it can decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s disease in older adults. All generations can benefit from olive oil.


Both children and adults need a well-balanced diet to keep their cognitive skills at an optimal level and protect brain health. This article focused on 12 amazing brain-boosts foods that will improve your child’s brain function, but benefit adults too.

I hope you can use these tips to modify your diet, including more foods rich in Omega-3s, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to improve brain function.

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Margaux Diaz DrGreene.com contributor