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8 Brain foods that help with concentration and other brain function

8 Brain foods that help with concentration and other brain function

Concentration, focus, attention—centering your interest on the task at hand can sometimes feel difficult, even for the best of us. While it might be tempting to reach for an energy drink, caffeinated soda, or that fourth cup of coffee, consider loading up on brain foods that help with concentration and other cognitive skills. Here are 8 of the best options to keep your brain at peak performance:

1. Brightly colored berries

Blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, oh my! These berries contain flavonoid antioxidants that reduce inflammation and oxidative stress. These compounds may improve communication between brain cells, help the brain cells form new connections, boost learning and memory, and reduce or delay cognitive decline.

2. Nuts and seeds

Rich in omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants, almonds, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, and walnuts may be the best bet to improve cognition.

3. Oily fish

Tuna, salmon, mackerel, herring, and sardines are all high in omega-3s, which help build membranes around each cell in the body, including brain cells. Studies have shown increased blood flow in the brain among people with high levels of omega-3s, as well as better thinking abilities.

4. Broccoli and kale

Cruciferous vegetables—like broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower—are rich in compounds called glucosinolates. These compounds produce isothiocynates, which are believed to reduce oxidative stress and lower the risk of neurodegenerative diseases. (Broccoli also contains vitamin C and flavonoids, which can boost brain health.)

5. Avocado

The healthy unsaturated fat in avocados is believed to reduce high blood pressure, which has been linked to cognitive decline.

6. Eggs

A good source of vitamin B-6, B-12, and folic acid, eggs may prevent brain shrinkage and delay cognitive decline.

7. Soy

Soybean products like tofu and soy milk are rich in polyphenols. This group of antioxidants has been linked to a reduced risk of dementia and improved cognitive abilities. 

8. Dark chocolate

Now we're talking! Look for chocolate that's at least 70% cacao, which contains a type of antioxidant called flavonoids. These appear to encourage neuron and blood vessel growth in parts of the brain that deal with learning and memory and may stimulate blood flow to the brain.