Food for Thought

Vegetables and fruit

There are many benefits to healthy eating: stronger immune system, better sleep, more energy, improved mood, and a lower risk for disease. What you eat also has an important role in the health of your brain, your memory, as well as other aspects of mental and physical health. Higher levels of fatty acids and protein are associated with better memory and a healthier brain. 

For better brain health, try to add these foods into your regular diet: 

Nuts and Seeds – Protein is the second largest matter in the brain, second only to water, so it’s critical to nourish your brain with protein-rich foods; Amino acids are also found in protein, and they are packed with omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. Omega fatty acids aid in building cells to maintain normal brain function. Examples of brain healthy nuts include walnuts, almonds, peanuts, sunflower and/or pumpkin seeds. 

Salmon – Oily fishes, such as salmon, are high in omega 3! 

Beans – Rich in fiber, B vitamins, and omega fatty acids; fiber helps keep you fuller longer, and it also creates a slow release of sugar, which helps with concentration and memory. 

Blueberries – as well as other dark berries – Rich in antioxidants, which protect against free radicals (unstable molecules that attack cells within our body). 

Regularly consuming unhealthy foods, alcohol, and fish with mercury can negatively impact cognitive function. 

You don’t have to avoid them all together, but moderation is key! These foods include: 

Sugary Drinks – An excessive intake of sugary drinks increases the risk of dementia, obesity, high blood pressure, and arterial dysfunction. 

Alcohol – Chronic excessive alcohol use can result in a reduction in brain volume, metabolic changes, and disruption of neurotransmitters, which are chemicals the brain uses to communicate. 


Fish high in mercury – While oily fish has cognitive benefits, fish high in mercury can have the opposite effect. Mercury is a heavy metal contaminant and neurological poison that can be stored for a long time in animal tissues. After a person ingests mercury, it spreads all around their body, concentrating in the brain, liver, and kidneys. Examples include swordfish, tuna, and orange roughy. 

Your diet has a big impact on your brain health! For more information on nutrition and your brain health, contact the Functional Pathways Therapy Team!