Last Modified on Jun 24, 2014
Do you remember when you were a kid, and your parents said, "eat your vegetables, they will make you smarter?" Well, they were definitely on to something, even though they were just trying to make you eat your dinner. The brain requires many nutrients to process the information that our body requires to remain functional.
Brain foods contain elements that can enhance brain development or cognitive function. Likewise, many foods that people ingest have a direct correlation to the brain's control of certain hormones. There are foods in every category of the food pyramid that have properties that would qualify them as a brain food. Also there are quite a few supplements and extracts derived from foods and plants that are considered brain foods. Many Earth Clinic users highly recommend some of the brain foods in this section to be very beneficial.
Brain foods not only are for enhancement of brain development or cognitive function, but can also be a very useful home remedy for several conditions. Such foods have been shown to help enhance the secretion of many hormones which can positively affect conditions such as insomnia, depression, and energy levels.
Please feel free to comment on any of the brain foods that are listed below!
[YEA] 11/30/2007: Susanne from Indianapolis, In: "I began taking 5-HTP for depression and anxiety and sleeplessness during a very emotionally stressful breakup. I have Not had an anxity attack since 3-07 which I had suffered from off and on for several years. I sleep so much better. I am able to think clearer and stay focused and concentrate so much better as well as improved my memory. I am thankful for this. My dr. wanted to put me on Wellbutrine. NO Thank U!"
EC: More about 5-HTP here.
01/31/2013: Cocooilfan from Howard County, Maryland, USA replies: "I'm so glad 5-HTP worked for you. It does a lot of good for a lot of people.
Sometimes I think differing body chemistry leads to different outcomes. For 5-HTP didn't work. It didn't seem to impact depression, anxiety or sleeplessness. I also tried passionflower, valerian root in increasing doses. Also tried them together.
What works best for me is a good comedy, doing an activity that truly engages my imagination and finally letting the mind wander instead of trying to resist thoughts while trying to sleep.
As for supplements, L-Arginine and L-Ornithine and lots and lots of antioxidants seem to have an overall helpful impact. I think of it as tuning the system."
[YEA] 01/24/2008: Tracey from Chicago, USA: "... I use 2 t. of ACV in an 8 oz. glass of water with a little honey. I drink this in the morning, and I think it's helping my tendonitis (from typing too much) and my brain fog. I am thinking much more clearly and I feel that I have more energy."
05/06/2009: Deirdre from Earth Clinic: "Article on Yahoo! today about the best brains foods: http://health.yahoo.com/experts/eatthis/31477/best-and-worst-brain-foods/
We'd love to get actual feedback on any foods, supplements, & herbs that you've noticed improve brain function like memory. We'll start looking on the site for existing remedies and add them to this new page.
[YEA] 05/15/2011: Jane from Portland, Or replies: "Certainly Tumeric is a spice to examine for its ability to stave off Alzeimers and Dementia, brain fog etc. Good for so much, it is worth doing anyway."
08/26/2012: Gd from Grand Haven, Mi replies: "My back was injured and I noticed a profound decrease in brain function and memory. After a few visits to the chiropractor, I'm almost 100% normal. I feel the brain was being compromised by a kink and the manipulations helped get the flow back. Consider getting an adjustment."
01/02/2011: Rob from Manhattan, Ny: "Mind Body Super Brain Yoga
Increase mental energy.. Balance right and left hemispheres of the brain.. For autism and hyper active disorders. Try this simple brain yoga:
[YEA] 10/29/2006: Carol from Southern NJ: "I eat about 1 cup of raw Savoy Cabbage a day with a meal. It relieved my roller coaster episodes of diahrrea in one day...and constipation for the next week. Also it helped with PMS. I can think more clearly, I have a higher energy level, my mood is improved, and I feel really healthy."
EC: Savoy cabbage pic here: http://www.recipetips.com/glossary-term/t--34293/savoy-cabbage.asp
[YEA] 06/01/2007: Laura from Sunderland, Vermont: "Thank you for this wonderful site! I started using ACV and Baking Soda about four months ago. My aches and pains are gone, mood more stable and PMS improved. Sleep and energy are much better.
I added Blackstrap Molasses and noticed my appetite decreased, even more improved PMS, even more enery and my flimsy fingernails are growing!
I then added EVCO. My appetite became even more stable! No snack craving, energy all day long, no more caffeine cravings! EVCO also cleared up my ADHD/Perimenopausal fog-brain. I can focus and think clearly again and my memory is better. (this is truly a miracle, some women with ADHD will get worse symptoms as hormones change. It was almost debilitating and forced me to change jobs!) I stopped taking my Ritalin with no negative effects! Overall menopausal symptoms are much improved. It's the best skin care I've ever used!
I added Oil Pulling a few weeks ago. It's worth trying just for gums and teeth. My teeth are whiter, gums stopped bleeding and nasty stains are fading. It also helps with focus and energy and managing my appetite. I have hope that I will finally be successful at losing weight, which has been a life-long struggle (I have 100 lbs to lose) I'll keep you posted on the weight loss.
Thank you everyone for your testimonials! This site is the best ever!"
EC: EVCO = Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
04/18/2013: Nickky_shygirl from Sydney, Nsw, Australia: "Hi, Lately I've been having a lot of problems concentrating at work. I recently quit smoking and belive the two matters may be related. Does anyone know of anything that will improve concentration?"Replies
04/18/2013: Joy from Battleground, Wash replies: "CONGRATS!
Yes, a healing crisis, I smoked like a chimney 30 yrs. ago., quit cold turkey (eating carrot sticks), gained 10 pounds and got an ear problem, dizzy all the time, it finally went away.
Lecithin is what the body uses to make choline and inositol that the brain uses.
Smokers don't have vitamin c, so get on a good multi vitamin and mineral with high B-12 for stress, quitting is stressful. Stress affects memory.
You were probably using it to cope. Now you have to find other ways to deal with stress.
Water is also good for the brain, and many other systems in the body. Too much is not healthy /// don't drink to much all at once... Add a cup a day until you are up to 8-8oz. Drink half hour before meal or two hours after meal.
Try not to make a new negative habit as you transition, like sugar or coffee or alcohol.
Walking can refresh your brain and help your body detox."
04/19/2013: Molly from Corte Madera, Ca replies: "I'd also suggest coconut oil for brain function. Get a raw and unprocessed brand, and use it for cooking and sneak it into your meals or eat it by the spoonful if you can. (It's really helped my mom who has Alzheimer's.)
Fish oil helps my son greatly with a neurological issue, and I believe it helps with depression as well. I believe it would also be good for overall brain function. Nordic Naturals is a reputable brand. You might research how to take it so you are getting a good balance of the different Omega fats.
Cutting gluten, dairy and sugar from my diet has helped me to think and feel better overall. I seem to react poorly to those things, and I think a lot of other people are also finding that as well."
10/24/2013: Robert Henry from Ten Mile , Tn: "HI YA'LL, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Just got a UBI today inlieu of a flu shot. If you are not up to speed on this procedure then you are about 50 years behind the times. This procedure was prior to antiboitics and works when they won't.
Anyways, being long in tooth , I am trying to avoid dementia and such. Learned that our Doctor is doing DHA to protect his brain. Stirred my interest and seek counsel from all you Yahoos. Talk to me.
Yo Ole Redneck buddy........ ROBERT HENRY........."Replies
10/24/2013: Prioris from Fl, Usa replies: "To protect yourself from neuro degenerative disease here is what you should do.
1) Minimize MSG, excitotoxins and pesticide exposure. Just minimize process foods.
2) Raise your glutathione levels with something like immunopro.
3) Remove mercury from your system and teeth if you can. It has been proven that the toxic fumes from your mercury fillings exist in your mouth so the ADA can't deny it anymore.
4) Avoid vaccines.
5) The brain is made of EFA's especially DHA
The area of Omega N supplements is getting kind of murky.
Some say take Omega 3 supplements and avoid Omega 6 because it is inflammatory.
Some say the Omega N fish oils are actually toxic to our system and that Omega 6 oils are good. We need to concentrate on Parent Omega Oils. I'm being pulled in this direction because fish oils become rancid in the body causing excessive oxidation. Also the ratios of EFA are different than conventional view.
You don't have to have a perfect compliance. It's all about reducing the load of toxins in your system that cause neuro degenerative diseases especially as you get older. It's all about pushing the odds in your favor."
10/25/2013: Timh from Ky, Usa replies: "@R.H.: DHA is present, to some degree in cold water fish like Mackerel, Salmon, and Sardines. Consuming Flax Oil or Walnut Oil also boost DHA levels. Vit-E is recommended when using much EPA's.
To keep the brain sharp in the 4th quarter, 2-5 gms Glutamine daily will definitely help."
10/25/2013: Mike 62 from Denver, Colorado replies: "Robert Henry: For the brain and more I take 3ml. skate liver oil dissolved through the gums, 30g raw cocoa powder, 10g dessicated liver, 3g cold processed maca, vanilla bean, and raw wildflower honey. You can google them and cellular biologists can explain the substances."
[YEA] 05/24/2009: Susie from N.Y., N.Y.: "brain food! GABA is wonderful. I take one GABA in the AM and I am calm during the day and my mind seems to work better. Sometimes I get tongue tied and I see a difference when I take GABA."Replies
[NAY] 05/24/2009: Alex from Eugene, OR replies: "Hi everyone, I love Earthclinic and am very thankful to everyone who makes this site available. My feedback is on GABA. I have taken it in the past and it did NOT work for me. I believe that, as with everything, different things work for different people, so it may be worth trying it. The one I took was of a very reputable brand and the purpose of my taking it was to make me calmer and help me concentrate while I was studying for an exam."
[YEA] 02/07/2010: Kathy from Las Vegas, Nv replies: "I feel much more calmer when I take GABA and my thought process is clearer. I have my husband on it because he has such a hot temper and it works for him too."
[YEA] 12/08/2010: Vinumentis from Belgium replies: "I use GABA from organic green tea (sencha). Very easy to order your loose tea leafs online from respectable tea farms in Japan, from different regions. Not to mention all the other postive side effects of every single cup of tea. IMHO, why taking the pill when brewing a cup of tea will bring you much more relief on different levels then a simple tablet? With my warmest thanks to all the people who share their experiences and knowledge."
08/10/2012: 22wolle22 from Poland, Ny replies: "What is gaba????"
[YEA] 04/17/2009: Deirdre from Atlanta, GA: "I've been taking lecithin now 2x a day with every meal. I bought the gel caps at Whole Foods (their generic brand). The first thing I noticed was that my memory improved dramatically. I was frustrated the day before I started the lecithin that I couldn't for the life of me remember the name of one of my childhood friends! The next day, a few hours after taking lecithin, the full name of my childhood friend popped into my head along with the name of her dog (Chadsie). Not sure yet about the pulling oil effect that Ted speaks about, but will report back in a month or two. Wanted to report my initial findings..."Replies
05/06/2009: Deirdre from Atlanta, GA replies: "Update: I continue to take a lecithin capsule 2x a day (lunch and dinner). On the days I get lazy and don't take lecithin, I can absolutely feel the difference in brain function. I think taking lecithin daily helps me stay very focused and "on task""
[SIDE EFFECTS] 05/13/2009: Deirdre from Atlanta, GA replies: "My lecithin update: Unfortunately I had to stop taking lecithin last week due to terrible bloating and weight gain side effects! It's the soy!!! Since all supplemental forms of lecithin are made from soy beans, I guess I am going to have to start eating more egg yolks. Apparently a slightly cooked egg (soft boiled) is another good source of lecithin."
05/14/2009: T from Maryland, USA replies: "Don't forget the humble dandelion! It's a great source of lecithin, and easy enough to take in capsules."
EC: Thank you T, good to know!!
05/26/2009: Kristy from Los Angeles, CA replies: "Actually, you can find egg-yolk lecithin in capsule form at your local independent health food store (I checked whole foods, they didn't have it). The brand is the one with the yellow label and green writing... Contains a fraction of the cholesterol in an egg yolk--worth checking out! I open the capsules and empty the contents into smoothies, or use them to aid in making raw nut milks."
[YEA] 07/05/2010: Anne from New London, Mn Usa replies: "Sunflower seeds are a great source for lecithin. I just got some raw S.F. Lecithin- it is WAY better than soy."
07/04/2013: Natalie from Longview, Tx: "Have you heard of anything naturally that helps with memory loss? I've been suffering from them memory loss for 8 years now since the birth of my child. Any and all help is appreciated."Replies
07/04/2013: Tinydancer from Dayton, Ohio, Usa replies: "Lions Mane mushroom caps. Takes about 2 weeks to see results. Results were amazing for me."
07/04/2013: Muslim from Oslo, Norway replies: "Hi, The reason for the poor memory of yours because of the nutrients stored in your body was transferred to the child under your pregnancy. This is the reason for many pregnancy problems during and after. All I can say is go on a natural high nutrient diet. What I mean by this is to eat different foods high in different minerals especially and vitamins. For example iron = red meat. Copper = Dark Chocolate. Zinc = General nuts and seeds. Magnesium the same. Calcium = Milk. Potassium = Coconut water. Bananas. Search for essential nutrients on Google and after that search for each food for highest each of the nutrients. There are also herbs and such that can work good but they are temporarily and only stimulates and fixes for maximum what your body can repair with the nutrients it have from before. First renutritionize yourself than use herbs. Search for herbs for Multiple sclerosis. MS is actually what you have but it is small and temporarily. Don't be afraid pray to God for guidance :-)"
07/05/2013: Mom from Naples, Fl replies: "Tinydancer - Could you tell me how many mg's and dosage? I would love to know which brand you use too. I would appreciate it very much. Thanks!"
07/09/2013: Gokhals from San Francisco, Ca, Usa replies: "You are probably severely short on Cholesterol. Eat 2-4 pastured eggs daily. Your brain consumes 25% of your total cholesterol production. Your developing fetus requires lots of cholesterol to develop its own brain and if you did not have enough in your diet, you body is likely severely deficient, because it routed what you had preferentially to your growing baby. Eat butter, eat liver. Your mind will come back to you.
The 'Cholesterol is bad' hypothesis is nothing short of scientific fraud. Ignore it and be well."
05/11/2009: Lupe from Helendale, California: "Hi I have a question I went in to a health store today and asked for a supplement for my father that is 79 years old and is getting very forgetful well i wanted something for his mind and the girl thier recommended NADH 5mg, what is this supplement used for? How should he use it? and should he use it ? I LOVE THIS SITE THANK YOU"
EC: "NADH is the abbreviation used for Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide, one of the most important coenzymes in the human brain and body." Source: http://www.antiaging-systems.com/extract/nadh.htm
[YEA] 05/10/2009: Patricia from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada: "I've been taking Rhodiola for 5 weeks and have increased energy and have lost about 15 pounds that I have been struggling with for the last 5 years. I have had breast cysts that have disappeared and my memory has definitely improved. 6 weeks ago I attempted to climb the 7 flights of stairs to my condo when the elevator was out. I had to stop and rest at each floor. Today I take the stairs instead of the elevator without stopping at all.
When I started taking Rhodiola, my daughter had told me about it but I didn't know much about the herb only that it would give me an energy boost that I really needed. The only negative factor that I have experienced is insomnia, so now I make sure that I don't take the herb after about 3pm. I take 2 - 250 mg per day. One in the morning as soon as I get up with 10 oz of warm distilled water and the juice of 1/2 freshly squeezed lemon, and one around 3pm at my work breaktime with lots of water."
EC: More about Rhodiola here: http://www.earthclinic.com/Supplements/rhodiola.html