9 Foods to Nourish Brain Health


What you eat can have a profound impact on your overall well-being. Hippocrates, the Greek founder of western medicine, famously said “let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” The truth is, food does have the power to heal. After having brain surgery or recovering from a brain injury, eating nutrient-dense foods that support your brain can promote healing.

The brain needs fuel to perform and function. Fuel comes in the form of nutrients and calories, aka food! Deficiencies in both nutrients and calories can cause disruption in the brain’s ability to function properly and heal. Therefore, fueling up with proper, quality nutrition can be extremely beneficial in assisting the body’s healing process.

Not only does food provide the fuel for the brain to perform its normal functions, but certain foods also have an effect on the brain’s neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters, also known as brain chemicals as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine are responsible for regulating your mood. Furthermore, other foods are known to have anti-inflammatory effects which are great for healing.

When we can educate ourselves on the powerful effects different foods have on our mind and body, we become empowered to make smarter choices.

Listed below Bethany Holmes, Certified Integrative Health Coach, and Reiki Practitioner, shares 9 foods that are scientifically proven to boost brain health and function.

  1. Blueberries: Packed with an abundance of antioxidants, they have the power to reduce inflammation throughout the body, specifically the brain. There was also a study involving wild blueberries and the effect they have on children’s brains. It showed it can improve executive function, which impacts a person’s ability to pay attention, manage time, and complete tasks. 1
  2. Leafy Greens: There is continued evidence that leafy greens such as collard greens, broccoli, kale, arugula, and spinach may support brain health. These greens are all dense in vitamins and minerals such as lutein, vitamin K, nitrate, folate, alpha-tocopherol, beta-carotene, and kaempferol. These nutrients are associated with benefitting cognitive health.
  3. Fruits: Many fruits such as strawberries, red bell peppers, kiwi, tomatoes, guava, and oranges contain high levels of Vitamin C. Vitamin C has been shown to help protect against brain cell damage. There is also a study that showed  vitamin c may even help prevent Alzheimer’s.2
  4. Walnuts: All nuts have been proven to benefit brain health, but walnuts specifically have superpowers to support brain health. Packed with omega-3s, antioxidants, polyunsaturated fat, polyphenols, and vitamin E, walnuts may help reduce oxidative damage and inflammation in your brain.3
  5. Fatty Fish: Specifically salmon, trout, and sardines are all packed with abundant omega-3s, which are known to provide more oxygen flow to the brain to promote healing and repair.4 When consumed regularly fatty fish has also been shown to improve learning and memory.5
  6. Pumpkin Seeds: These seeds may be small, but they are mighty! Loaded with many vitamins and minerals that support brain health such as antioxidants, zinc, magnesium, copper, and iron. Zinc is particularly important because it is crucial for supporting nerve signaling, which is how your brain communicates to the body to perform all functions.
  7. Turmeric: Turmeric has a superpower of being able to bypass the blood-brain barrier to directly nourish the brain. Turmeric is a spice that you can add to meals or take in supplement form. It is a strong antioxidant and has powerful anti-inflammatory effects.
  8. Dark Chocolate: Yes, you heard it right, chocolate is great for your health! Dark chocolate specifically is very high in antioxidants and contains flavanols, which are a popular group of flavonoids, a diverse group of phytonutrients that offer many benefits such as improved blood flow to the brain, preventing blood clots, and fighting cell damage.6
  9. Flax Seed: Flax seeds are so versatile and a great plant-based source of omega-3s. Flax seeds have been found to improve circulation, reduce inflammation and improve cognitive function.




Wild Blueberry Smoothie

1 banana
3/4 cup organic frozen wild blueberries
1 cup non dairy milk or coconut water
1 handful of spinach leaves
1 tbsp flaxseed

Add all ingredients to a high speed blender and blend on high until smooth. Enjoy!


Superfood Salad

1 cup spinach
1 cup kale
2 cups arugula
1 cucumber chopped
½ cup fresh blueberries
¼ cup walnuts
4-6 oz baked salmon (wild caught if preferable)
½ avocado diced 



2 tbsp cold pressed olive oil
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Salt + pepper
Juice from ½ a lemon 

Add all ingredients together, add dressing and enjoy!


1 https://www.wildblueberries.com/?pressreleases=can-flavonoids-affect-kids-brains

2 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3727637/

3 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24500933/

4 https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/omega3-supplements-in-depth

5 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26809263/

6 https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/cocoa-sweet-treat-brain-201502057676#:~:text=Flavanols%20in%20cocoa%20have%20been,clots%2C%20and%20fight%20cell%20damage

This article has been written by Bethany Holmes, Certified Integrative Health Coach, and Reiki Practitioner.

This article is designed to provide helpful information on the subjects discussed. It is not intended as a substitute for treatment advice from a medical professional. For diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition, consult your doctor.


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