Brain-boosting foods, supplements, etc

I need to add some voom to my thinking. I have seen all sorts of stuff advertised but frankly I can’t make head or tail of any of it, and if it’s possible to grab some food, either in an actual food or in a food supplement, I’m all for it. Vitamins, oils, whatever has helped you. Assuming it’s available in Britain!

Most of the supplements I see advertised are called things like “BRAIN LIGHTNING” with big lightning bolts across the label, which doesn’t fill me with confidence, I’m afraid. If there are genuine benefits to be had from the ingredients I’d rather hear about those!

Also interested to hear if people have noticed particular foods helping.

Lose the peanut butter, use almond butter instead.

Ground Flax Seed. Bake with it, put it in your oatmeal, mix it in with your banana/walnut/bran muffins, rub it in your belly, whatever. We mix a good protion of it in with out almond butter & make the kid’s lunch sammiches with it. Keeps their little brains chugging along all day.

VERY general dietary rule (more of a reccomendation, really):
Breakfast like a KING (Meat, nuts)
Lunch like a PRINCE (Veggies, fruits, dairy)
Dinner like a PEASANT (Starch/Carbohydrates & Vodka & Chocolate Chip Cookies)

One of the most popular is Ginko Biloba. It increases blood blood flow to the brain, which in turn delivers more oxygen, protects brain cells, which obviously helps the brain function better. It’s also a good anti-oxidant. It has other positive effects as well. I wish I could remember what they were. :smiley:


Noted. Where do I get that? Glasgow has a wide variety of vegetarian and health food shops, shall I look there?

Noted with vague feelings of not having any idea of what that is or where to get it, but as usual I expect I could probably find it on the internet.

Now, aha, yes, that’s interesting. I’ve seen it said to enhance the memory in the elderly. However my uncle’s a chemist and he had some Ginkgo Biloba in the bathroom and one day my cousin took some and he said she shouldn’t, because she was too young. He claimed it would do something bad to her, but she couldn’t remember what it was unfortunately. She’s my age, 28.

Noted. Why?

Yeah, health shops should have both. These items are becoming pretty poular here. Both can be found in the larger supermarkets.

Anywhere that you can buy almond butter should have flax seed. If they don’t have ground flax seed, you can grind it yourself.

Fish, eggs (with the yolk), flax, and almonds are all good sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for your brain, and pretty much all of the rest of you. That’s why they’re so highly recommmended.

Blueberries and other berries are a good source of fiber, and about as good as you can get for other antioxidants. I dunno that they’re specifically brain food, but you should eat them anyway.

You can probably help yourself out by cleaning up your diet. There’s nothing like unstable blood sugar to fuck with your head. Eat clean, try for 5-6 small meals a day, and all that jazz. And if you’re not getting 7-8 hours of good sleep a night, that’s a problem too.

Exercise could help if your lifestyle is fairly sedentary.

From the book Super Foods: 14 Foods That Will Change Your Life by Steven Pratt and Kathy Matthews


“A small but mighty nutritional force, the blueberry combines more powerful disease-fighting antioxidants than any other fruit or vegetable. As one positive report after antoher has come out on blueberries, the media have taken to calling them ‘brain berries’ and ‘youth berries’ and they certainly deserve the good press; just one serving of blueberries provides as many antioxidants as five servings of carrots, apples, broccoli or squash. In fact, 2/3 cup of blueberries gives you the same antioxidant protection as 1,733 IU of vitamin E and more protection than 1,200 milligrams of vitamin C.”

“Perhaps the most exciting news in connection with blueberries and your health is the discovery that blueberries seem to reduce the effects of age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.”

There’s a whole chapter on blueberries. The rest of the book is fantastic too! Here are the 14 super foods:

Tea (green or black)

Perhaps because it thins the blood, so excessive use could cause bleeding in the brain. But that excessive use for anyone, so follow the directions on the label. I have heard nothing about taking it too young though. But your uncle is a chemist; IANAE in the field. Has anyone else heard that claim?

On Flax: Flax seeds are excellent. I buy them bulk at the store and grind them up in my coffee grinder and add it to almost anything. You can even eat them plain. They are very high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, like you would typically find in Salmon and other fish oils. Great for the ticker too. A great site about flax is I found a place you could buy it online in the UK:

On Blueberries: They very also high in anti-oxidants, as are blackberries, thus able to help eliminate free radicals in your system.

On Preview: I see the others have already answered too. :wink:

Actually, there is some evidence that the good stuff in flax seed is significantly diminished when it’s heated. Best to stick with putting your ground flax seed or cold-press flax seed oil into/onto stuff that’s cold. In an almond butter sandwich, on a salad, in a cold pasta dish, etc.

A salad made of spinach, walnuts, tomatoes, turkey or tofu and chunks of pumpkin, with flax seed sprinkled on top and a vinegar based dressing served with low-fat yogurt mixed with blueberries is an excellent “brain food” lunch, and is good for you in a bunch of other ways too. :slight_smile:

Can you take in too much in the way of Omega III fatty acids? I already take supplements - fish oil it was for ages, then “vegetarian” which might include flax I suppose. If I start taking flax supplements too should I drop the other stuff, or what?
This is all very helpful, by the way. I will try to see if they have the Superfoods book in the library.

Thare was an article a little while ago (no cite) saying how important breakfast and bacon in particular was for children.

I really really like the SuperFoods book. I need to lose around 40 lbs and have developed my own diet, based on watching calories, fat, carbs, fiber and superfoods. I have a goal for each category every day :slight_smile: I have a goal to eat 10 different Super Foods (or as the authors say their “side kicks” ie romaine for spinach, sweet potato for pumpkin, raspberries for blueberries) every day.

So far, I’ve lost 12 lbs!

Still don’t have the book (not in the library and too expensive) but I collected the foods and have been munching on them daily.

Makes a kick-ass salad. Raw spinach is nice, eh?

Sorry you haven’t been able to get ahold of the book! Since only seeing the 14 Super Foods might be kind of limiting, I’ll grab the book tonight and type out each of the Super Foods’ lists of sidekicks. For example, pumpkin includes sweet potato, carrot, orange/yellow pepper, etc.

In addition to foods, make sure you’re getting enough exercise, too. There have been several studies that have proven that exercise significantly improves memory and other cognitive skills, plus exercise can help fight stress and depression. It’ll also boost energy levels and make you feel mentally and physically more alive and alert.

Actually I just found the book on Amazon for a fiver. I think I’ll just go for it, because it’s making me feel better.

I seem to be… well, is it possible these foods are making me detox? I don’t want to list the things that are making me think I’m detoxing, I’m sure you can guess…

I have begun to resume exercise too. I realise that I can’t really expect one to help without the other. So I’ve been doing my old running route, just walked it the first day but I ran a few bits this morning. I was KNACKERED, but the feeling immediately after stopping running was wonderful!

Heh. Wasn’t expecting the thread to make such a difference to me, but it is. I feel a lot better, if only because I’m munching on non-damaging foods instead of Mars Bars and deep-fried Irn Bru. All yesterday I was eating raw spinach from the bag like crisps. My little girl wanted some, but predictably kept spitting it out. I managed to convince her to chew and swallow a blueberry, though (I had to promise to fall over if she did so, but at least she ate it).

Safeway do all the superfoods. No Almond Butter but I’ll find it yet.

Rather glad I started the thread!

If your diet was low in fiber and complex carbohydrates, and now it’s not, then yeah, you’ll shit easy.

Applause. I would go further by saying that maybe you’re expecting things out of a diet regimen that may or may not be there. I’m not saying the various foods and supplements suggested may not be good for you, I’m just saying there’s a limit to what optimal body chemistry can do for you even if you achieve it. You wouldn’t take dietary supplements for strength and endurance, sit around watching television, and expect to see muscles grow. Einstein was famous for being careless about what he ate, Voltaire was a nutritional ascetic, Charles Bukowski consumed a large proportion of his daily calories in the form of cheap wine, yet they managed to succeed in their intellectual endeavors.

If you want to think better (and I could use some improvement too, to tell the truth), do what you do to get better at anything else. Practice. It’s an old saw that the more you put into a brain, the more it will hold, but I believe it. Use your brain and it will get stronger. Do crossword puzzles. Play chess. Get a used textbook and practice your algebra. Read the newspaper and notice whether the facts presented lead to the suggested conclusions. Argue with the television set (alone, please, my wife always reminds me). Draw. Listen to children, if you have any available – they are marvels at the association of disparate concepts, which is what we often admire about adult thinkers who can do the same thing. Also, practice putting thought into questioning what you put into your body before you swallow it.

And you’re smart to lay off the brain lightning. For all you know, it might just do exactly what the label implies.