20 most beneficial foods for the human brain that improve the functioning of neurons and cells

If you purposefully make a diet of certain foods, it is quite possible to improve memory, increase concentration, facilitate and accelerate mental work, as well as simply improve well-being.

Research indicates on the undeniable connection between the food we eat and how efficiently our brain works.

Other studies confirm that eating certain foods stimulates the production of serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine and other neurotransmitters.

Thus, if you take care of constant nutrition, which will be useful for the human brain, you can not only get rid of fatigue and chronic fatigue, but also start getting enough sleep quickly, add up large numbers in your mind, memorize a large amount of important information and, most importantly, prevent many serious diseases associated with aging of brain cells.

In this article, we will talk about the general principles of such a diet, as well as what specific foods should be included in the diet, giving a list of the top 20.

General principles of nutrition

The brain is one of the most complex organs of the human body. Without it, neither mental work nor normal physiology is possible.

Its functioning requires:

  • A variety of amino acids;
  • Omega 3 and Omega 6 polyunsaturated fats;
  • Vitamins, especially vitamins E and C;
  • Water and many other substances and compounds.

Therefore Principles of nutrition for maintaining brain health comes down to a few simple rules.

  1. Introduction to the diet of certain foods containing all the useful substances necessary for the thinking organ. These are lean white meat, oily sea fish and seafood (except caviar), vegetables and fruits , cereals, nuts, natural unrefined oils, low-fat dairy products, herbs and seasonings. You can also observe a special MIND diet to improve cognitive functions.
  2. Exception Brain-damaging food , which clogs blood vessels, reduces blood circulation and reduces its efficiency. It includes semi-finished products, fast food, sausages, smoked meats, fatty meat and dairy products, sweets with refined sugar, muffins, lemonades, alcohol, strong black tea and coffee in large quantities, salt.
  3. Drinking enough fluids. Brain tissues consist of 80% water, so the lack of fluid in the body adversely affects metabolic processes, the rate of transmission of nerve impulses. Due to a lack of fluid in the body, it is the brain that dies first. About the importance of water for the brain we talked in detail in a separate article.

Top 20 most useful products

Of foods that provide good nutrition, improving blood circulation and the work of the brain in general, quite a lot. Keeping all of them in mind, you can easily create a very diverse menu for all ages and for all occasions.

1. Sea fish and seafood

Fish and seafood are a mandatory component of a diet aimed at improving the functioning of the brain and the entire nervous system. Phosphorus, iodine, minerals, Omega-3 fatty acids help the brain to keep working and young . They affect:

  1. Reducing the level of harmful cholesterol;
  2. Cleansing the walls of blood vessels from fatty plaques;
  3. Active saturation of brain cells with oxygen and nutrients.

People who eat seafood at least once a week, they complain of poor memory and fatigue much less often . And the probability of developing Alzheimer's disease in this case is significantly reduced. More detailed about the effect of omega-3 acids on the brain see in a separate article.

For a complete diet, it is enough to choose literally 2-3 varieties of fish, for example, salmon, tuna, salmon, trout or herring. Seafood should definitely be eaten with seaweed, you can choose squid, mussels, oysters, etc.

2. Eggs

Lecithin, fatty acids, vitamin B12 the brain needs it especially. When there is a shortage of them, organ atrophy begins, which is in principle natural for age-related changes. But they can start much later and be less noticeable.

The most useful component is the yolk of an egg. Contrary to popular belief, it is more useful than harmful, despite the fact that it contains a large amount of cholesterol.

There is choline in the yolk of an egg, which feeds the cells and neurons of the brain, without which they will not be able to form and exist.

With regular consumption of eggs, it is enough to eat 1-2 eggs a day. With this amount, the deposition of cholesterol on the walls of blood vessels is not threatened.

3. Milk

Milk is necessary for the brain , because it contains tryptophan &8212; a substance that is a source for the synthesis of serotonin &8212; the hormone of joy. Therefore, milk must be on the table of someone who wants to maintain a good mood, optimism and cheerfulness.

In addition, antioxidant glutathione , which was recently discovered by researchers in milk, improves the functioning of neurons and allows you to keep your mind until the very old age. The only condition is that milk should be consumed regularly.

4. Cereals

Nutritionists advise at any age to eat a lot of whole grain cereals.

This is important both for the brain of a growing person and for an adult: it is equally important for both to have a good memory. The fact is that oats, wheat, barley, lean rice and bran from them contain a lot of folic acid and thiamine, i.e. vitamin B6 .

Thus, cereals and whole grain bread are useful not only as a means of improving metabolism, but also as an excellent stimulant of blood circulation and improving brain activity.

5. Nuts

Seeds and nuts are used both as an independent snack and as an additional ingredient in dishes. They contain everything that is so necessary for brain cells:

  1. Vitamins E, group B;
  2. Folic acid;
  3. Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, etc;
  4. Minerals, including magnesium and potassium .

Nuts such as almonds, walnuts, cashews, peanuts, hazelnuts, pecans, as well as all kinds of seeds nourish the brain, give a lot of energy, improve memory, cheer up and even weaken the signs of depression. They contain a sufficient amount of fats, therefore, by consuming them, you can be sure of the abundance of vegetable fats in the body.

6. Green and leafy vegetables, greens

Some consider these plants to be nothing more than seasonings or food additives, however, they contain so many vitamins important for mental activity that even a single shock dose can help:

  1. Memorize or recall a large amount of valuable information;
  2. Increase the productivity of mental activity;
  3. Relieve fatigue.

The greens are obliged to such results a large amount of B vitamins , folic acid. The value of these substances is that they reduce the amount of homocysteine, which accumulates in the body with age, destroys the walls of blood vessels and leads to pathologies such as memory loss and even Alzheimer's disease.

7. Berries

The benefits of berries such as blueberries, lingonberries, cranberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, etc. there is no doubt about it. Vitamins, sugars, fiber, antioxidants, flavonoids berries help:

  1. With heavy mental loads;
  2. To improve coordination and memory;
  3. To preserve youth and improve cell performance.

Even if fresh and frozen berries appear on the table once a week, the quality of mental activity increases markedly.

8. Dried fruits

The rich vitamin and mineral composition makes dried fruits an essential product for those who want their heads to work quickly and well. Dried apricots, raisins, prunes, figs, dates and other dried fruits and berries:

  1. Reduce the level of bad cholesterol in the blood;
  2. Clean the blood vessels of the brain from cholesterol plaques;
  3. Improve memory and concentration;
  4. Helps to maintain good coordination.
Dried fruits are not among those healthy foods that you can eat the more the better. Like nuts, they are consumed in small quantities due to their high calorie content and strong concentration of other substances. A dozen berries or 2-3 tablespoons of a mixture of ground dried fruits are enough.

9. Honey

Honey is a recognized physician of the cardiovascular and nervous system. With constant mental work, it is definitely needed in the diet as a means:

  1. Purifying blood and blood vessels from harmful cholesterol;
  2. Helps the work of the bloodstream, and therefore improves cerebral circulation;
  3. Giving a lot of energy.

Learn more about the importance of honey for the brain see in a separate article.

10. Vegetable oils

Unrefined vegetable oils do not contain cholesterol at all, which means they do not contribute to the development of atherosclerosis. Moreover, they help to dissolve and remove existing cholesterol deposits from the body.

Unrefined direct-pressed oils, in addition, contain vital omega-3, omega-6, as well as less important but useful omega-9 unsaturated fatty acids. Thanks to them, as well as the vitamin and mineral composition, Brain-healthy oils :

  1. Contribute to maintaining a healthy vascular system by preventing clogging of the arteries;
  2. Strengthen the walls of the blood vessels of the brain ;
  3. Helps to increase concentration, strengthen memory and reduce the time for the manifestation of neuropsychic reactions.

11. Bitter chocolate

Many people are familiar with the effect that appears after eating a slice of chocolate. This sweetness is not only delicious, but also useful because:

  1. Improves mood by producing serotonin, the hormone of joy;
  2. Improves cerebral circulation;
  3. Thanks to flavonol, it helps to keep brain cells young by fighting free radicals.

A large amount of antioxidants is found not only in chocolate, but also just in cocoa powder. But the most useful product containing cocoa beans is dark and bitter chocolate. There, the content of cocoa beans is maximum and reaches 95%. Read more about the effect of chocolate on the brain here .

12. Coffee

About the benefits of coffee for the brain and cardiovascular scientists are constantly arguing.

There are many theories about the mechanisms effects of coffee on blood vessels . One of them is that the coffee molecule is similar to the molecule of a substance that is found in every cell, called adenosine.

Adenosine slows down energy production. And when Coffee molecules replace adenosine , energy processes in brain cells are reaching a new level.

13. Tea

Besides coffee, there is a number of drinks , which can help keep brain functionality at a high level. These include tea. Both black and green teas contain catechins . These unique substances help:

  1. Improve brain activity;
  2. Memorize information well;
  3. Relax, recover faster.

Tea is best consumed in the morning and afternoon. In this case, you can drink as much as you want, with benefits for mental activity and without damage to the heart, blood vessels and nerves.

14. Turmeric

This amazing seasoning comes from India. But it is actively used both in cooking and in folk medicine as a tool that perfectly helps to increase brain productivity. Turmeric for the brain is interesting because it is capable of:

  1. To remove inflammatory phenomena in brain tissues;
  2. Restore neurons;
  3. Destroy sodium benzoate, which interferes with connections between brain cells;
  4. Act as an antioxidant that protects cells from aging;
  5. Give a positive attitude by producing the hormones dopamine and serotonin.

15. Curry

Seasonings have a very good effect on blood circulation, increase brain productivity and maintain its activity.

In addition, it is a spicy seasoning that gives a pleasant taste to dishes, curry:

  1. Supports mental abilities due to curcumin content;
  2. Helps fight free radicals, that is, prolongs the youth of the brain.

Moreover, you do not need to think that all food needs to be covered with this seasoning: it is enough to eat one dish a week to get all the benefits.

16. Ginger

Spice with a sharp taste and fresh aroma is very useful for the heart, blood vessels and brain cells. In folk medicine, ginger is used as a remedy for treatment, prevention and stimulation of brain activity:

  1. Blood thinning;
  2. Improving cerebral circulation;
  3. With regular use, it significantly improves memory;
  4. Preventing the development of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.

Ginger to improve brain function can be used both fresh and in powder. Most often it is mixed with lemon and honey. Ginger essential oil is also useful: it is dissolved in milk, kefir or dripped on honey and sugar.

17. Lemon

The value of lemon for the brain is primarily associated with its high content of vitamin C, potassium, magnesium and other minerals . Lemon helps:

  1. Cleansing of blood vessels from cholesterol growths;
  2. Prevention of overwork and stress relief.

Lemon, consumed fresh, as part of vitamin mixtures and infusions, will have a good effect on mental activity. Lemon essential oil is also effective: it can be used for aromatherapy, and taking 1-2 drops orally per glass of fruit juice, a teaspoon of honey or a piece of sugar.

18. Garlic

Garlic, in the absence of contraindications, is mandatory in the diet of every person. In addition to vitamins, valuable minerals, phytoncides, sugars and other important components, garlic contains the specific substance is allicin , which is produced after crushing a garlic clove.

Garlic is needed by the brain in its raw form: during heat treatment, only its taste properties remain, while many useful properties are destroyed. Fresh garlic:

  1. Improves blood composition, dilutes it, promoting better blood circulation;
  2. Reduces the production of so-called "harmful" cholesterol in the liver, preventing it from settling on the walls of blood vessels of the brain;
  3. Rejuvenates cells by neutralizing free radicals.

19. Plain water

The brain cannot function properly without enough fluid in the body. Often, the feeling of chronic fatigue, drowsiness are signs of a lack of moisture in the body.

The best way to replenish fluid reserves and thus protect the brain from dehydration is to drink regular drinking water: it is best absorbed without carrying additional calories, such as fruit juice. In addition, it is not a diuretic, like coffee or tea.

Herbal decoctions can be a more or less suitable alternative to water. But even in cases with them, there may be contraindications. Therefore, drinking water is the best source of fluid for brain cells.

An adult needs to drink about 2 liters of water per day. This volume is easily distributed in 2 glasses in the early morning, the time between breakfast and lunch, lunch and afternoon tea, afternoon tea and dinner. In case of problems with the heart, excretory system, etc., you can slightly shift the water intake schedule to daytime in order to drink all the water up to 16 hours.

20. Dry red wine

Natural red wine has long been known as a means to stimulate the brain and protect it from premature aging.

The only condition: it can be consumed no more than 50-150 ml per day, depending on gender, age, complexion and concomitant diseases. Otherwise, instead of activating and maintaining mental activity, it can lead to progressive dementia.

Red Wine contains a good set of trace elements and antioxidants , which:

  1. Prevent the development of atherosclerosis, Dilating the arteries and clearing them of cholesterol plaques;
  2. Protect the vessels of the brain from destruction by strengthening them;
  3. Prevent age-related dementia and prolong youth.

What should be avoided?

If a diet is being prepared for the full functioning of the brain, then foods harmful to mental activity should be excluded or reduced to a safe minimum.

  1. Alcohol. For vasodilation of the brain let's say, but only periodically. Only red wine can be called uniquely useful, and then in very limited quantities. Regular consumption of other drinks leads to the destruction of brain cells. More detailed about the effects of alcohol on the brain see in a separate article, specifically about beer here .
  2. Fatty foods. Fatty meat, smoked, fried, as well as fatty dairy products contribute to the development of atherosclerosis of the vessels, as they cause an overabundance of harmful cholesterol, which is deposited on the walls of blood vessels and interferes with blood supply to brain tissues.
  3. Refined sugar. Energy is needed for mental activity. But it is better to use fructose, which is found in honey and fruits, for this purpose. In turn, the usual sugar has a destructive effect on brain cells .
  4. Energy and artificial stimulants. Unlike natural energy products, artificial ones give only a visible effect of vivacity. In fact, they deplete the nervous system, as they use the internal reserves of the body, artificially stimulating them. After consuming energy drinks, there is a decline in strength and depression.

Features of the diet for a child

For the normal development of the child's body, products from the list are required, which are necessary for the development and stimulation of full-fledged brain function. With the exception of some nuances.

  1. In the diet of a child or teenager there should be more protein food: white lean meat. fish, seafood.
  2. Spicy and spicy seasonings are used a little less to make up the children's menu, focusing on the age and taste preferences of the child.
  3. Red wine is excluded, since ethanol in its composition is contraindicated for children.


If you know about the composition and peculiarities of eating many foods, then you can eat in such a way that it will have a very beneficial effect on the state of the brain. A proper daily menu will help not only to perform any mental work efficiently, but also keep the sharpness and freshness of thinking for many years, regardless of the age of the person.