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Foods That Feed Your Brain
You’ve been on your health and fitness journey a while now and you’re likely reaching a solid understanding of the types of foods you should eat to look after your body.
You understand macros - how much protein, carbs and fat you need to reach your physique goals, and even have an understanding of which foods contain what.
What’s less explored, are the foods you should be eating to look after your brain.
I’m sure we can all agree, this year has been a particularly strange one. With a number of accumulating stresses, it’s more important than ever to look after the man behind the curtain.
Do you want to be smarter and improve memory and focus? More resilient to stress?
Today we’re going to look at 6 foods to include to give your brain the love it deserves. With any luck, you’re dining on some of these already!
Fatty Fish (such as salmon, trout, mackerel, sardines)
You’ve likely heard that essential omega-3 fatty acids are exactly that, essential. We can’t produce them from scratch, they must come from food. Your brain uses them to build cells that are vital for learning and memory(9).
A fantastic source of B vitamins, folate and choline. While all of these are linked to brain health(8), there are high amounts of choline in the yolk. Choline specifically is used to make acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that improves memory and mood(7). Make sure to include some whole eggs in your diet.
A delightful beverage that contains caffeine and antioxidants. The former boosts alertness and mood while the latter has been shown to help prevent age-related neurological diseases(6).
A great source of antioxidants to help combat stress(5), some of which have also been found to improve the communication between brain cells(4).
A cruciferous vegetable particularly high in vitamin K, linked to improved memory and the formation of specific fats in the brain that are vital for its function(3,2).
Time for dessert! Well, not exactly… dark chocolate specifically. Its cocoa content is usually 70% or more, while milk chocolate is only 10-40% cocoa. Cocoa is packed with beneficial compounds including antioxidants, flavonoids and caffeine. The flavonoids in chocolate have been shown to improve learning and memory(1).
So, when you’re next out shopping to hit your macros, spare a thought for your brain and the foods that nourish it. Eat well to ensure you are performing at your best both in and out of the gym.
Alisi, L., Cao, R., De Angelis, C., Cafolla, A., Caramia, F., Cartocci, G., Librando, A. and Fiorelli, M., 2019. The Relationships Between Vitamin K and Cognition: A Review of Current Evidence. Frontiers in Neurology, 10.
Crichton, G., Elias, M. and Alkerwi, A., 2016. Chocolate intake is associated with better cognitive function: The Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal Study. Appetite, 100, pp.126-132.
Kalt, W., Cassidy, A., Howard, L., Krikorian, R., Stull, A., Tremblay, F. and Zamora-Ros, R., 2019. Recent Research on the Health Benefits of Blueberries and Their Anthocyanins. Advances in Nutrition,.
Kelly, E., Vyas, P. and Weber, J., 2017. Biochemical Properties and Neuroprotective Effects of Compounds in Various Species of Berries. Molecules, 23(1), p.26.
Poole, R., Kennedy, O., Roderick, P., Fallowfield, J., Hayes, P. and Parkes, J., 2017. Coffee consumption and health: umbrella review of meta-analyses of multiple health outcomes. BMJ, p.j5024.
Soutif-Veillon, A., Ferland, G., Rolland, Y., Presse, N., Boucher, K., Féart, C. and Annweiler, C., 2016. Increased dietary vitamin K intake is associated with less severe subjective memory complaint among older adults. Maturitas, 93, pp.131-136.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE. 2019. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE. [online] Available at:
Wiedeman, A., Barr, S., Green, T., Xu, Z., Innis, S. and Kitts, D., 2018. Dietary Choline Intake: Current State of Knowledge Across the Life Cycle. Nutrients, 10(10), p.1513.
Wysoczański, T., Sokoła-Wysoczańska, E., Pękala, J., Lochyński, S., Czyż, K., Bodkowski, R., Herbinger, G., Patkowska-Sokoła, B. and Librowski, T., 2016. Omega-3 Fatty Acids and their Role in Central Nervous System - A Review. Current Medicinal Chemistry, 23(8), pp.816-831.