Life gets busy as we manage schedules to balance work and school. With so much going on, it can be easy to overlook the habits that make us feel our best. But setting aside some time to prepare snacks with these healthy, brain boosting foods can give you more energy and sharper mental clarity.
Nuts are widely recognized as a superfood for their nutrient-rich profiles and the benefits they offer to overall brain health. Walnuts, in particular, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and DHA (which is known to prevent cognitive decline) and are easy and convenient to carry while on the go.
One of the healthiest fruits to keep a healthy mind and body is the apple. Packed with antioxidants like quercetin, apples block free radicals from damaging different cells of the body, including brain cells. Eating apples regularly not only improves memory function, but research shows they may reduce the risk of stroke, cancer, and heart disease.
If savory foods are what you’re craving, tuna is a low-calorie, high-protein snack rich in nutrients. A single can of tuna can increase energy and improve concentration and memory, and its omega-3 fatty acids are proven to boost brainpower. Oily fish like tuna is also packed with iodine, which works to help mental clarity and well-being.
4. Dark Chocolate
We all experience the occasional sweet tooth and crave the deliciousness of chocolate. Research shows that eating dark chocolate in moderation can be highly beneficial for health. Containing flavanols—plant-based substances known for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects—dark chocolate helps improve cognition, memory, mood, and immunity.
5. Sunflower Seeds
Nuts and seeds have been a staple of the human diet for centuries. Sunflower seeds are brain-boosting foods packed with vitamin E and beneficial for cognitive function. They also contain thiamin, choline, as well as selenium, which is known to improve memory and brain function. The vitamin B6 found in sunflower seeds, also works to improve mood, concentration, and cognitive function.
As one of the healthiest foods around, blueberries are full of antioxidants that block free radicals from damaging tissues and cells. These berries are also high in vitamin C, which is a vital antioxidant molecule in the brain. Incorporating blueberries into your diet may help reduce the risk of age-related neurodegenerative diseases, including dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Packed with protein and amino acids, eggs are a top choice for athletes and fitness enthusiasts. Eggs are generally eaten as breakfast food but make a great snack to enjoy any time of the day. Egg yolks also offer a good source of choline, reduce inflammation, and promote healthy brain function, including memory and communication between brain cells. Eggs are rich in essential vitamins and minerals, and contain a high amount of B vitamins (B6, B12) and folate, which researchers maintain are key to good brain health.
8. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds contain powerful antioxidants that protect the body and brain from free-radical damage. These seeds are also an excellent source of magnesium, iron, zinc, and copper, which are important for brain health. Pumpkin seeds make a great on-the-go snack to satisfy your hunger while boosting brain function.
9. Leafy Greens
Leafy greens like broccoli, kale, spinach, and collards are rich in brain-healthy nutrients, including vitamin K, lutein, folate, and beta carotene. Broccoli, for example, helps prevent free-radical damage thanks to its high antioxidant levels, and the vegetable is known to have anti-amnesic properties, which means it works to preserve memory.
10. Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is a fermented food touted for the probiotic cultures that work to strengthen the digestive tract. Researchers have also found that consuming probiotic yogurt benefits a person’s mental health. Medical experts suggest this is a result of the relationship between the gut and brain, and the ability of the gut to make neurotransmitters, such as serotonin —a natural chemical the intestines and brain produce—and dopamine. Packed with protein and calcium, Greek yogurt can have an impact on brain functions and makes a delicious snack to be enjoyed by itself, or because of the wide variety of flavors that can be paired with fruit or nuts.
Mental focus and concentration impact the way we think, feel, and act throughout the day. Eating the right foods is an important step in managing the mental effort we exert, whether it be for work, school, or for everyday activities and responsibilities. Snacks rich in brain-boosting nutrients and vitamins can help you perform at your best.