7 Quick Food Fixes for Your Brain

A bowl of blueberries and strawberries against a white background
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The scent of cinnamon lowered frustration and increased alertness among participants in a simulated driving test. The aroma may also improve attention, reasoning and memory, according to research presented at a meeting of the Association for Chemoreception Sciences.

Healthy foods such as green leafy vegetables, fruit, whole grains and healthy fats may be good for maintaining a healthy brain, research suggests. Consider these small changes to your diet:

1. Stockpile strawberries and blueberries in your freezer.

Strawberries and blueberries contain high levels of antioxidants, compounds that protect brain cells from damage and may help prevent age-related memory loss. Add some to your smoothie mix in the morning and put a handful into your water bottle.

2. Slather avocado on your toast.

Avocados are a good source of lutein, a nutrient that's important for brain health. A study in the journal Nutrients found that healthy adults who ate an avocado every day for six months improved their working memory (for example, remembering what you want to buy at the market or your plans for the afternoon) and problem-solving ability.

3. Add onions to stew.

Onions are rich in B vitamins, particularly B6 and folate. One study found that women who didn’t get sufficient folate in their diets were more likely to experience a decline in mental awareness and judgment as they aged. 

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4. Sprinkle oregano into your spaghetti sauce.

Compounds in this tasty herb may increase brain waves associated with relaxation and concentration, according to research presented at a Society for Neuroscience conference. Some of oregano’s components may help with depression, fatigue and anxiety.

5. Prepare more salmon than you need for one meal.

Scientists have linked fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids — such as wild salmon, albacore tuna, mackerel, herring and sardines — to several possible brain benefits, including improved memory and learning ability and reduced rates of dementia.

6. Add chopped walnuts to your oatmeal.

Walnuts may help boost memory, concentration and your brain’s reaction time. One study found that less than a handful each day could provide upsides regardless of age, gender or ethnic background.

7. Stir your coffee with a cinnamon stick.

The scent of cinnamon lowered frustration and increased alertness among participants in a simulated driving test. The aroma may also improve attention, reasoning and memory, according to research presented at a meeting of the Association for Chemoreception Sciences.

Learn more about more simple food swaps

This content is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide any expert, professional or specialty advice or recommendations. Readers are urged to consult with their medical providers for all questions.

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