Brain function can be strongly influenced by what we put in our mouths: some foods promote brain health, and others can erode it over time. Diets that contain brain-boosting foods and supplements have been shown to preserve and restore healthy brain function.

  • Blueberries

Tips to Consider

Correct Deficiencies of Vitamins and Minerals

  • Vegetables
    • Take a good quality multivitamin/multimineral supplement that contains methylcobalamin and methyl folate.
    • Make sure to get adequate Vitamin D3, B6 & B12, K2, and Magnesium.
    • Decrease/eliminate carbonated drinks, especially diet soda.
    • Eat a rainbow of vegetables, especially leafy greens.

Eat Fewer Processed Foods

  • Almonds
    • Eat fresh, whole foods and decrease dependence on foods in boxes, cans, and packages. Shop on the periphery of the supermarket.
    • Read labels and avoid foods with ingredients you cannot pronounce. Generally, the best foods have the smallest number of ingredients (ideally five or fewer).
    • For snacks, eat a mix of fat, carbs, and protein: apples with nut butter; vegetables with hummus; a handful of nuts with no more than a few raisins; a couple of squares of high-cacao chocolate (85% minimum).
    • Think local, in-season, and organic as much as possible when shopping for food. See Environmental Working Group’s  Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen lists.
    • Have proteins and healthy fats (see below) at every main meal.

Reduce Processed Sugar

  • Apple

    • Read labels, and avoid added sugars (monosaccharides, disaccharides, fructose, sucrose, galactose, glucose, ribose, xylose—anything ending in -ose).
    • Do your best to eliminate refined sugar and processed carbs (cereals, bread, cookies, crackers, and snacks).
    • Generally, avoid fruit juices and syrups, and use natural sugars like honey and agave only occasionally.
    • Limit sugary fruits (overripe bananas, papaya, cantaloupe, watermelon, dried fruits). Instead, eat berries, apples, and pears (preferably organic), no more than two a day.
    • Limit starchy root vegetables (potatoes, yams, carrots, beets).

Consume Healthy Oils and Fat

  • Avocado and Egg

    • Store nuts and seeds in the refrigerator as heat can cause them to go rancid. Oils are best stored in a cool, dark place, but over time can go bad. Oils should have very little, if any odor, so take a quick whiff before use.
    • Increase Omega 3 fats: flaxseed, chia seed, walnuts, oily fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines).
    • Reduce intake of Omega 6 oils: canola, sesame, cottonseed, soybean, sunflower, peanut, safflower, corn. When buying, try to find organic, less-refined oils.
    • Eliminate all trans fats (“partially-hydrogenated oil” or “hydrogenated oil”).
    • Other foods that contain healthy fats are avocados, eggs, coconut oil, nut butter, green olives and low-fat dairy products (preferably organic).
    • Coconut oil/MCT oil is a good alternative fuel source for the brain. Add up to 2 tbsp coconut oil per day to smoothies, in dressings, or spread on toast. Sauté with your favorite vegetables.
    • Use extra-virgin olive oil as a condiment in salads, in unheated sauces, or add after food is cooked. Use coconut oil or regular olive oil for cooking.

Minimize Grains

  • Rice

    • Eliminate gluten from your diet for at least 2 months to see if you feel better. That means avoiding wheat, spelt, rye, barley, and oats that are not labeled gluten-free.
    • Track your outcomes: if you are sensitive to gluten, you may feel reduced bloating, gas, and cramps from digestive inflammation, but you may also experience relief from physical, mental, and emotional symptoms as well, so observe everything.

Keep Your Body Hydrated

  • Water

    • DRINK WATER. Each day, drink 1 oz. of water for every 2 lbs. of body weight (a 120 lb. person needs to drink 60 oz. of water, almost 2 liters).
    • Reduce caffeinated beverages, soft drinks, and alcohol.
    • For every cup of caffeinated liquid (coffee, tea, alcohol), consume 1 additional cup of water.

Eat Healthy When Dining Out

  • Restaurant

    • Ask how food is prepared (avoid foods fried in vegetable oils except coconut).
    • Order sauces and dressings on the side so you consume only what you want.
    • Send the bread basket back—it’s like eating straight sugar!
    • Eat until 80% full, and then stop (take the rest home).