Top 6 Foods for Brain Function and Memory

Fried eggs in a cast iron pan, with avocado slices garnished with spinach.

As a human, your brain is both your biggest resource and your largest weakness in a cruel twist of fate that isn't easily off-set. Living without a care for the overall function of your brain is uncomfortably easy to do. In fact, you may be doing it right this moment without even trying. Thankfully, eating healthy foods that improve the function of your mind both physically and in more esoteric ways can be accomplished with just a hint of knowing what to work into your diet.

Foods That Improve Your Brain Function

While there are many components of food that improve brain function, knowing which foods deliver those chemicals and components most effectively and deliciously can make all the difference between sticking with a healthy head food diet or leaving it behind.

  • Avocados

    If there ever happens to be a competition for superfoods, avocados may be in the lead by a wide margin. A simple half of one of nature's most interesting fruits -- and they are a fruit, surprisingly provides dietary fiber and healthy fats without overloading on calories in the process.

    Benefits for your brain enter the picture with monounsaturated fats found in the avocado which are the healthier side of fat that helps the inner workings of both your heart and your brain. One of these good fats include oleic acid and it just so happens to be directly linked to memory strength and brain function.

    You can always make a classic guacamole, but it also makes a stellar co-star for chicken soup. Some countries feature cuisine with avocados playing dessert roles, too; Those feeling adventurous might try diving into chocolate avocado pudding or other classic chocolate pairings.

  • Eggs

    Eggs really got the short end of the stick in the eyes of the media for the past few decades, with unjust cries of cholesterol painting them in an unfortunate light. The day of the egg may be right around the corner, however, as choline found in foods such as eggs plays an essential part in your brain's long-term function. It helps to begin eating them early, but their biggest benefits show in slowing brain degradation caused by age. Preparing them properly, on the other hand, isn't quite so straightforward.

    Overcooking or burning foods is an unfortunately easy way to nullify a lot of their most helpful properties, as many upsides to eating foods requires them to be cooked appropriately but without allowing heat to destroy their more delicate chemical chains. Finding the best nonstick pan for eggs may help keep your brain going strong without leaving healthy nutrients stuck to the bottom of a cheap pan. Fry them, poach them or work them into a stir-fry, but make sure they leave the pan in the form you intended.

  • Dark Chocolate

    Healthy foods don't always have to be obvious, as shown by how one study showed an improvement in blood flow to the brain in test subjects who ingested dark chocolate. Cognitive function in the elderly may also see improvement after the ingestion of cocoa, which dark chocolate hosts in spades.

    Pairing dark chocolate up with avocados is one of the strongest, if not least common, superfood pairings you can prepare for yourself. A traditional cake is tempting but cocoa cakes without frosting can provide cocoa's upsides without the downside of loading up on sugary frosting.

  • Spinach

    Put aside nightmares of canned spinach and think of it more as a fresh green if you hold your brain health in high regard: Leafy greens like spinach contain vitamin K, which contributes to improved cognitive function over time much in the way cocoa can help improve elderly brain function. Fighting age with a delightful salad is far easier and more affordable than medicinal alternatives.

    If eating it raw isn't in your future, garlic spinach is easily prepared, and the addition of garlic adds even more health benefits such as lowered cholesterol and it may even reduce the rates of certain kinds of cancer.

  • Green Tea

    Tea has been used in medicinal and cultural contexts for hundreds if not thousands of years and for very good reason. Cognition, awareness and mental alertness are all reportedly much more efficient after ingesting green tea, which also helps alleviate some of the downfalls that come with ingesting caffeine found in other forms of tea

    As a beverage it's always a lovely drink to pair with a meal, but green tea can also be made into ice cream with ginger, a pairing you're unlikely to find unless you make it yourself.

  • Lentils

    Like many legumes, lentils keep blood sugar in check through the regulation of glucose, which very directly keeps your mind in working order by providing a constant stream of power to your mind without allowing you to succumb to a sugar overdose. Eating as little as a half cup of lentils a day can keep your blood sugar regulated properly, which can be easily achieved by sprinkling cooked lentils into salads or making a delightful lentil curry.

Healthy Foods for a Healthy Brain

If you're tired of eating foods that keep you satiated without offering all the health benefits you could reap through dietary changes, throwing in a handful of some of these healthy foods in the place of sugary, low-substance offerings can go a long way in keeping you alert and healthy through your whole life. Just don't forget to put that brain power to good use!


Amanda Wilks

Amanda Wilks is a passionate writer, contributing author at and cooking enthusiast. She enjoys writing about nutrition, healthy eating, and cooking methods. Through her writings, she hopes to inspire others to make smart choices regarding their own diet. Learn more about Amanda on Twitter.