The brain is the most energy-hungry organ in the body. Despite weighing just 1.5kg, it steals roughly 25% of the body’s energy requirements. Much like a performance car, the brain functions best when it runs on premium fuel, provided by the food we eat.

Nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, phospholipids and plant antioxidants have all been demonstrated to support brain cell integrity and cognitive function.

In honour of our 15th birthday this month, we’ve selected 15 foods that may help support optimal brain health.

  1. Oily fish, particularly salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines and herring

Provides DHA and EPA, types of omega-3 fatty acids essential for brain function

  1. Monounsaturated fats like avocado and extra virgin olive oil

Increases the production and release of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which plays an important role in learning and memory

  1. Wholegrains including oats, quinoa and buckwheat  

Feed your gut microbes, creating short-chain fatty acids and important neurotransmitters 

  1. Good quality meat and fish

Provides B12 needed for methylation, a process involved in neurotransmitter production, and iron, needed for oxygen transport to the brain

  1. Chia seeds, flaxseeds and walnuts

Good vegan sources of omega-3 

  1. Green vegetables including spinach, swiss chard, broccoli and kale

Excellent source of magnesium, a vital mineral that protects the brain against stress and aids relaxation in preparation for sleep

  1. Fermented food like sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir and kombucha 

Support your microbiome, strengthening your gut/brain connection 

  1. Dark chocolate (with a cacao percentage of >85%)

Contains flavonols, which increase brain derived neurotrophic factor 

  1. Beans and Lentils

High in folate, an important B vitamin needed for methylation, and fibre 

  1. Eggs

Great source of phospholipids, a vital component of brain cell membranes, and choline, which the body uses to make acetylcholine

  1. Almonds and sunflower seeds

Rich sources of the antioxidant vitamin E 

  1. Bell peppers and other rich sources of vitamin C

Helps combat free radicals that can damage brain cells

  1. Turmeric

Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and can cross the blood brain barrier 

  1. Pumpkin and sesame seeds

High in zinc, which helps regulate communication between brain cells

  1. Berries including blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and blackberries

Rich source of antioxidants that help protect brain cells from damage