11 Brain Foods

A white porcelain bowl filled with red Chinese dates.

Modern studies show that Chinese red dates contain protein, saccharides, and organic acids. (Image: Mona Mok via Unsplash)

Everyone wants to be smart and have the ability to learn and memorize things quickly. In fact, to get these benefits, some people are willing to spend a lot of money on supplements to boost their brain function. The truth is, there are 11 common brain foods that are readily available and they won’t break your bank.

Brain foods you should be eating

1. Jujubes (Chinese red dates)

Jujubes are often called the natural vitamin C pill. One serving of jujubes (a small handful or about 100 gm) contains 380-600 mg of vitamin C. Vitamin C supports brain health and has a protective effect on thinking and memory.

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2. Walnuts

Walnuts are traditionally known to the Chinese as one of the brain foods. They are rich in unsaturated fatty acids and are beneficial for children’s brain development. Eating 2 to 3 walnuts a day over the long term nourishes the brain, enhances memory, and eliminates brain fatigue.

3. Eggs

Egg protein is a high-quality protein. The yolk of the egg is rich in lecithin, triglycerides, cholesterol, and vitellin, which all play an essential role in the development of nerves. Regular consumption enhances your memory and strengthens your brain function, making them one of the best brain foods.

4. Fish

Fish is filled with omega-3 fatty acids. Regularly consuming fish can enhance your memory, cognitive and analytical capabilities, control brain cells’ degeneration, and delay aging.

Salmon is an excellent brain food.
Salmon is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. (Image: Casey Lee via Unsplash)

5. Bananas

Bananas are rich in nutrients, low in calories, and contain phosphorus. Bananas are also a super source of tryptophan and vitamin B6. They are rich in minerals, especially potassium ions. A medium-sized banana contains 451 mg of potassium, which helps invigorate the brain.

6. Pumpkin

Pumpkin is an excellent source of β-carotene. Pumpkin contains more vitamin A than green vegetables and is rich in vitamin C, zinc, potassium, and fiber. Traditional Chinese medicine considers pumpkin a treatment for dizziness, agitation, and thirst.

7. Kelp

Kelp is a type of seaweed that is rich in linoleic acid, lecithin, and other nutrients that boost brain function. The sulfurous substances in seaweed are indispensable in the brain.

8. Sesame seeds

Consuming large amounts of sesame seeds improves brain function. There are a variety of ways to consume sesame seeds. You can fix yourself a sesame seed drink by pouring boiled water over smashed sesame seeds with a small amount of sugar. You can also eat sesame paste, add sesame seeds to cookies, or mix sesame syrup with food. 

A bowl containing sesame balls sits beside a white porcelain teapot on a cloth napkin.
There are a variety of ways to consume sesame seeds. (Image: Ja San Miguel via Unsplash)

9. Peanuts

Peanuts are rich in lecithin and cephalin. It is a vital substance needed by the nervous system. They help delay the decline of brain function, inhibit platelet aggregation, and prevent cerebral thrombosis. Studies suggest that regular consumption of peanuts can improve blood circulation, enhance memory, and delay aging. It is a veritable “longevity food.”

10. Millet

The vitamin B1 and B2 in millet are higher than that found in rice and its protein contains more tryptophan and methionine. Clinical observations have found that eating millet has the effect of preventing aging. If you regularly eat some millet porridge or millet rice, it is among the brain foods that will benefit brain health.

11. Chili peppers

The vitamin C content of peppers ranks first among all vegetables, and the content of carotene and vitamins is also abundant. Capsaicin in chili peppers can stimulate taste, increase appetite, and promote blood circulation in the brain. In recent years, some people have discovered that chili’s “spicy” taste is a hormone that makes people energetic and invigorates thinking. The effect is better when the peppers are eaten raw.

Translated by Patty Zhang and edited by Angela M.

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