10 Brain Foods to Add To Your Diet

We all know that food affects how we feel and how we look. But now more than ever, we’re learning that what we eat affects how we think.


Words The NMB Team
Photos Rawpixel and Pixabay

Eating nutrient-dense foods rich in antioxidants, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals doesn’t just fuel us in a purely physical way – it helps us grow new brain cells while warding off illnesses such as depression and dementia.

Our friends at Hello Fresh have suggested some tasty recipes for each brain booster to make adding them to your diet as delicious as it is simple!

Nourish your noggin with these ten nutritious brain foods!


We love lentils! 1 cup of lentils contains a whopping 90% of your daily recommended intake of folate – a vitamin responsible for regulating DNA and producing neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine to regulate your mood, sense of pleasure, and clarity. Plus, lentils are a hefty source of magnesium, a mineral responsible for stimulating brain growth and controlling blood sugar.


The avocado’s creamy green flesh is full of healthy monounsaturated fats which help lower blood pressure and support cognitive function. Not only is it a healthy fat of course, but it’s delicious! Not convinced? Here’s why we’re Avo obsessed!


It’s no surprise that fermented foods make for a happy gut, but you may be surprised to learn that probiotic-rich foods also support brain function. In fact, bacteria in the gut produces two essential neurotransmitters, serotonin and dopamine.

But be careful: not all yoghurts are made equal. Make sure to avoid the pre-sweetened varieties at the grocery store and opt for unflavoured types instead. We promise yoghurt is delicious without all that sugar.


This fatty fish makes us (o)MEGA happy thanks to its high concentration of nervonic acid (a monounsaturated fat) and omega-3 (a polyunsaturated fat), both of which help insulate and stimulate brain cells.

When you aren’t getting enough [omega 3 fatty acids], you can experience fatigue, poor focus, and memory issues. Not only does salmon increase your focus and allow you to better absorb information, but it can also help fight depression and anxiety – a fishy friend that’s good to have to be sure.


Turns out Popeye was onto something. The high concentration of Vitamin K in this dark green leafy vegetable ensures your brain receives oxygen and helps insulate brain cells.


This super spice gets its signature yellow hue from curcumin, a potent anti-inflammatory ingredient that prevents plaque buildup in the brain.


These deep red root vegetables are chock-full of natural nitrates to boost blood flow to the brain and improve cognitive performance.


This divisive cruciferous vegetable is an essential source of choline, a nutrient that boosts your mood, energy, and focus while improving memory. It has also been shown to prevent cognitive decline by regulating inflammation. So, while a lot of people LOVE broccoli (myself included) we also know that there are plenty of haters out there. Perhaps it’s worth giving the little green trees another shot?

Olive Oil

This kitchen staple contains hydroxytyrosol, a phythonutrient prized for its ability to protect the lining of blood vessels and oxygen supply to the brain. For an extra nutritional boost, use extra virgin olive oil in salad dressings or dips.


This bold herb, (which is actually part of the mint family!), is a fragrant source of antioxidant-rich phytonutrients which help enhance memory and concentration by facilitating blood flow to the brain.

Try: 2 Healthy Snacks to Satisfy

Kale chips with salt, pepper and cumin

1 bunch curly kale
2 Tbs. coconut oil, liquid
¼ tsp. cumin spice
½ tsp. coarse sea salt
½ tsp. ground black pepper sea salt

Preheat oven to 150°C.

Rinse kale well and blot dry thoroughly with a clean kitchen towel. Tear leaves from ribs; discard ribs. Using your hands, tear leaves into fairly large, appealing chip-size pieces.

Place kale in a bowl and sprinkle with coconut oil, cumin, salt and pepper. Mix together so it’s fully seasoned.

Arrange leaves in a single layer on 2 baking sheets. Bake, rotating pans top to bottom and back to front midway through baking time, until leaves are dry and crispy, about 25 minutes. Serve right away; kale chips are best eaten within a few hours. Serves 4.

Paprika Popcorn


1 cup corn kernals, for popcorn
¼ tsp. paprika
½ fine sea salt
½ cracked black pepper
2 Tbs. olive oil

For the Paprika Popcorn

Make popcorn by slowly heating olive oil and corn kernals in a large saucepan on a medium high heat. Make sure you put a lid on the pot to stop your popcorn escaping!

While still warm toss with paprika, salt and pepper and a little more olive oil, if you like.

BONUS: For the Beetroot slices with goats cheese, dill & pepper

Peel the beetroot and slice into 5mm slices.

Bake on a sheet in the over at 190°C for 20 minutes.

Place on a plate, spoon on some goats cheese onto each.

Sprinkle on some fresh chopped dill and some fresh ground black pepper.

This article is also published online at www.movenourishbelieve.com


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