The 13 Best Foods for Your Brain

Fill your plate with these foods to keep your dome sharp, smart, and alert

July 19, 2012
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A healthy brain feeds off of its environment--and its fuel. Put the right ingredients into your body, and your brain will work in tip-top fashion. Here are 13 of the best brain foods out there.

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1. Walnuts

People who ate a small handful every day improved their working memory by 19 percent, according to a Spanish study. Polyphenols (Search: What are polyphenols?) in walnuts are thought to reduce improve communication between neurons.

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2. Coffee

A recent British study found that 20 to 30 milligrams of caffeine can boost brainpower--that's less than a cup of coffee.

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3. Fish

They're packed with omega-3s--and people with the lowest levels of omega-3 fatty acid in their blood cells had smaller brains compared to those with high levels, according to a recent study in Neurology.

Related: 10 Best Fish You Should Be Eating

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4. Spinach

Filled with magnesium, these greens can help dilate blood vessels, boosting blood flow throughout the body and brain, according to Japanese researchers.

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olive oil
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5. Olive Oil

Fatty acids and polyphenols help to reduce inflammation in your joints and cells.

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6. Flaxseed

They may be small, but they're big in terms of protein and fiber. Add them to yogurt or cereal to give your brain a boost. If you want to do more than jumpstart your brain, add these 6 Power Foods You Should be Eating to fuel your fitness.

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7. Mussels

These bad boys have some of the highest levels of the vitamin B12 which helps insulate your brain cells--important as you age.

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dark chocolate
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8. Dark Chocolate

Not a whole bar--just a few ounces of cocoa can help you concentrate improving blood flow to the brain. Stick with as pure as you can get.

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Greek yogurt
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9. Greek Yogurt

It's loaded with calcium, which when in low supply can lead to anxiety, irritability, and slow thinking--all brain functions.

Related: 9 Delicious Ways to Lose Weight With Yogurt

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10. Asparagus

Research shows that almost half of people with depression have low folate levels. Asparagus is packed with the nutrient.

Related: 3 Nutrient-Packed Salads

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11. Peppermint

Gum or teas, the smell has been associated with an increase in alertness and memory functioning by acting as a stimulant, researchers believe.

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12. Oranges

Your body can't make vitamin C--and a team of Oregon-based researchers recently found that the retina cells--many of which are the same type your brain is filled with--could burn out when denied C.

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13. Berries

Flavonoids in berries may cut your risk for Parkinson's disease because of their anti-inflammatory powers, research suggests.

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Tags: nutrition