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Types of Food That Stimulate the Brain

by
author image Skyler White
Skyler White is an avid writer and anthropologist who has written for numerous publications. As a writing professional since 2005, White's areas of interests include lifestyle, business, medicine, forensics, animals and green living. She has a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology from San Francisco State University and a Master of Science in forensic science from Pace University.
Types of Food That Stimulate the Brain
A cup of green tea and teapot on a bamboo mat. Photo Credit Jayshiao/iStock/Getty Images

Overview

Whether its unconscious processes like breathing and blinking, or a thought-provoking analysis of classical literature, the brain is the driving force behind your every move and idea. You can eat certain foods to stimulate and nourish the brain to improve its function, while also contributing to your overall health.

Herbs

Consuming herbs with caffeine can help improve concentration and focus while promoting your circulatory system. Green tea, jasmine and paullina cupana are naturally rich in caffeine. Unlike coffee, however, the caffeine in herbs slowly releases causing an extended stimulation of the brain, according to Nancy Brunzel, et al., in the book “Herbs and Natural Supplements.” Many of these herbs are also rich in antioxidants, which help to protect the brain from oxidative stress caused by free radicals. The authors recommend adding the herbs fresh or brewing them in tea to garner their brain-stimulating benefits.

Fish

Fatty fish like sardines, tuna, mackerel and herring provide a brain-stimulating compound known as omega-3 fatty acids. Regularly consuming this compound can improve your mood, memory and blood flow to the brain, Dr. Andrew Stoll says in his book “The Omega-3 Connection.” High levels of eicosapentanoic acid and docosahexanoic acid found in omega-3s may even help to mitigate certain psychiatric disorders relating to mood.

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Raw Nuts and Seeds

A single handful of raw nuts and seeds can boost your levels of B vitamins, iron, magnesium, calcium, vitamin E, selenium, potassium, zinc and omega-6 essential fatty acids, which are all important nutrients for brain stimulation and function, according to Nicola Graimes in the book “Brain Foods for Kids.” Walnuts are commonly known in Chinese medicine as “brain fruit” as they have both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids that help to optimize brain processes. Beneficial nuts and seeds include almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds.

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References

  • “Herbs and Natural Supplements”; Nancy Brunzel, et al.; 2010
  • “The Omega-3 Connection”; Andrew Stoll, M.D.; 2001
  • “Brain Foods for Kids”; Nicola Graimes; 2005
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