Skip to main content UVA Health logo of UVA Health
Healthy Balance

These Foods May Give Your Brain a Boost

woman eating food that helps boost your brain and keep it healthy
Food plays an important role in keeping your brain healthy and improve your memory and concentration.

Women are more likely than men to have dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. While you can’t change some risk factors for this disease, wouldn’t it be great if you could improve your brain health just by improving your diet? To help slow memory loss and keep your mind sharp, add these foods to your diet to give your brain a boost.

Order Up a Brain Boost

The good news is that you can! The following strategies not only help improve your overall health but can give your brain a boost.

Green Up Your Diet

Eating lots of vegetables, especially green leafy ones, may slow mental decline.

  • Stock up on kale, broccoli, mustard greens, spinach and romaine lettuce
  • Choose an assortment of colors when you fill your plate

Eat the Right Fats

Several studies show the risk of Alzheimer’s disease almost doubles for people who eat the most saturated and trans fats. Alternatively, monounsaturated and omega-3-rich fats seem to have the opposite effect and offers a brain boost.

  • Choose lean meats, low-fat or non-fat dairy, avocados, olive and canola oils, nuts and seeds
  • Select fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel or sardines

Boost Your “B’s”

Some research shows a link between high levels of homocysteine (an amino acid in the blood) and an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s. B vitamins can lower homocysteine levels.

  • Eat plenty of green leafy vegetables, beans and whole grains
  • Don’t forget other sources of B vitamins, including lean meats and organic low-fat dairy

Limit Sugar

Pre-diabetes and diabetes can cause damage to small blood vessels in the brain.

  • Limit sugar and white flour
  • Eat plenty of fiber-rich foods, such as vegetables, beans and whole grains

Caregiver Support

Geneva Alexanderson realizes the importance of self-care while taking care of her aunt and mother with dementia.

Monitor Blood Pressure

High blood pressure can damage blood vessels in the brain and reduce the brain’s oxygen supply.

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Cut back on sodium and fill your plate with fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains for foods that boost your brain

Watch Your Weight

Excess weight can do harm to your brain even without other risk factors, such as diabetes or high blood pressure. Fat cells may release hormones and cause inflammation that can be harmful to the brain. Those who carry weight in their middle seem to be most at risk.

Copyright 2019 © Baldwin Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved.

Health eCooking® is a registered trademark of Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Cook eKitchen™ is a designated trademark of Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein without the express approval of Baldwin Publishing, Inc. is strictly prohibited.

Tags: neuro

Reply & View Comments Search Submit

Subscribe for Updates

Get stories & health tips every week