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Fuel Your Mind: Top Foods for Cognitive Performance

Fuel Your Mind: Top Foods for Cognitive Performance

As we age it is no secret the memory starts to fade. It becomes difficult to remember what you even had for dinner last night! While this is very normal, I have some good news. There are many foods you can add into your routine to help fight memory loss. 

  1. Protein is essential when it comes to cognition and brain function. Proteins are used in the brain to allow communication via neurotransmitters which are made from amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, so consuming adequate protein through your food is essential. High protein foods include meat, fish, yogurt, nuts, seeds, beans, and tofu.

  1. Omega 3s. Foods high in omega 3 fatty acids are full of DHA, which has been found to improve overall brain function and cognition. In one study, it was even found to help patients diagnosed with Alzheimers improve their memory. Some superfoods that combine both protein and omega 3s include nuts, seeds, and salmon. 

  2. Supplements: If you don’t eat much fatty fish or nuts, a fish oil supplement can help you to reach your daily goal. Nordic Naturals sells a high quality fish oil supplement.

  1. Fiber allows the body to digest food more slowly. This avoids a high blood sugar spike and drop which results in more balanced blood sugar and controlled hunger levels throughout the day. Fiber keeps your brain and memory working without that afternoon crash. 

  1. Antioxidants are the next main character in your brain health. Antioxidants protect against free radicals and help prevent cognitive damage in your brain. Not only can antioxidants help you from getting sick, but they also benefit your body in a multitude of ways. They help remove free radicals from the body, which can prevent disease and illness, they support eye health, reduce inflammation and can prevent aging. Some foods high in antioxidants include berries, broccoli, sweet potatoes, spinach and carrots. 

  1. Vitamin E is another nutrient that can help protect against free radicals by protecting cell membranes. Incorporating dark leafy greens into your diet will ensure you are getting that protection. 

  1. Finally, iron is another key contributor in the production of neurotransmitters which enhances brain function and communication. It also helps carry oxygen in the blood throughout the body, resulting in the removal of free radicals. Improving oxygen flow also helps bring oxygen to the brain which improves memory and cognition. 

It is important to remember that consuming a balanced diet full of antioxidants, healthy fats, quality sources of protein, and complex carbohydrates will aid you the best memory and cognition. Here is a list of some foods to include in your daily/weekly diet plan: 

  • Eggs

  • Almonds

  • Berries

  • Spinach

  • Salmon

  • Chicken breast

  • Tuna 

  • Dark chocolate 

  • Greek yogurt 

  • Chia seeds 

  • Hemp hearts 

  • Sprouted grains

  • Quinoa 

  • Oatmeal 

  • Probiotics 

  • Sweet potatoes 

  • Olive oil 

Further Learning

For more insights into nutrition and healthy living, tune into my podcast RDs vs BS, available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Stay tuned for more tips in the coming months!

Instagram: @emily_rd_

Here's to a balanced, joyous, and healthy new year. Stay tuned for more tips.

In the world of nutrition, it can often seem like there's a lot to figure out. It seems like everyone is trying to sell a specific diet or plan, but the truth is that everyone’s nutrition needs are unique. Know that you don't have to go on your nutrition journey alone. Check out to sign up for a free nutrition intro session where we can talk about creating a nutrition plan that works best for you.

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