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Our brain is responsible for driving our body’s actions, both voluntarily and involuntarily. So, it seems like a no-brainer that we’ve become increasingly concerned about the health of this organ.

There are a number of ways to look after our brain’s health, from exercising and getting enough shuteye to nutrition. In fact, studies have suggested that certain nutrients may:

If you’re looking to incorporate foods into your diet that promote brain health, here are four of my favorites.

Berries

From blackberries and strawberries to raspberries and black currants, berries are delicious and filled with flavonoids. This specific antioxidant has been linked with slower cognitive decline in older adults.

I recommend aiming for two to three servings of berries each week, whether fresh or frozen.

There are a number of ways to enjoy berries, including:

  • plain
  • topped on yogurt
  • in a smoothie
  • tossed into a salad

Greens

As the old saying goes, eat your greens. This is especially true if you want to look after your brain function. The nutrients found in dark leafy greens, such as lutein and zeaxanthin, have been linked to various brain benefits, such as improved memory.

And while leafy greens might seem like a dinner-only food, think again. These nutrient-packed foods are perfect for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Consider these delicious suggestions:

  • Breakfast: smoothie with dark greens, berries, chia seeds, and nuts
  • Lunch: salad with dark greens, lean protein, and avocado
  • Dinner:veggie egg bake

Coffee

Thought your morning brew was only good for helping you wake up? Think again. In addition to increased energy levels, caffeine has been linked to improving mood and general brain function.

While for some there’s nothing better than that first cup of coffee in the morning, the taste can be a bit off-putting for others. Luckily, there are other caffeinated options out there, such as:

Fatty fish

Did you know our brain is made of mostly fat? About 60 percent to be precise, with half of that being omega-3. It should come as no surprise that omega-3-rich fish, such as salmon, herring, and mackerel, made it onto this list.

Omega-3 fatty acids have been linked to a number of brain-related benefits, including slowing cognitive decline and improving mental health. It may even help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

I recommend trying to get at least two to three servings of fatty fish per week. A few suggestions for how to add fatty fish to your diet include:

  • mackerel and avocado on whole-grain toast
  • baked salmon, quinoa, and steamed spinach
  • salad with sardines

You can also chat with your doctor to discuss whether omega-3 supplements are right for you.

The bottom line

Looking after your brain health is as important as looking after the rest of your body. While there are a number of ways to do this, looking to the foods you’re eating is one of those ways. Get started by adding one (or all!) of these four delicious foods to your daily meal plan.


McKel Hill, MS, RD, is the founder of Nutrition Stripped, a healthy living website dedicated to optimizing the well-being of women all over the globe through recipes, nutrition advice, fitness, and more. Her cookbook, “Nutrition Stripped,” was a national best-seller, and she’s been featured in Fitness Magazine and Women’s Health Magazine.