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Healthy Foods to Eat for Brain Power

These natural brain foods can boost concentration and performance.

Natural Brain Foods for Long-Term Benefits

1. Natural Brain Foods for Alertness:Fish for Omega-3s

"People who eat lots of omega-3s maintain brain capacity, concentration and alertness much better," says Somer.

Kulze recommends getting your omega-3 fatty acids from oily, cold-water fish, such as salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines and trout.

"Wild Alaskan salmon is best," Kulze says. "It has a lot of omega-3s, plus other brain nutrients such as the B vitamins and selenium."

Aim for three servings per week. You can also get omega 3s in fortified eggs.

2. Natural Brain Foods for Cognition: Dark Fruits and Veggies for Antioxidants

"The antioxidants in fruits and vegetables protect the brain from oxidants that damage delicate cell membranes and brain cells, and may cause dementia," Somer says. "Maintaining a high antioxidant level is important for cognition and memory."

Look for darker colored fruits and vegetables for highest levels. Most nutritionists name blueberries as the ultimate antioxidant powerhouse.

3. Natural Brain Foods for Memory: Spinach, Broccoli, and Beans for B Vitamins

"Vitamins like B-6 and B-12 are important in maintaining your nervous system in general and are associated with improved memory and alertness," Somer says.

While B-12 and folic acid (folate) are best absorbed in supplement form, she says, "be aware that as you get older you need more B-12. Foods like spinach, broccoli, or beans are a good source of folate."

2 Eating Tips for Brain Power

1. Don't Skip Breakfast

Hunger hinders concentration. Period. Breakfast will get your neurons popping. And here's one of the best natural brain foods to get your day off right: oatmeal.

"Steel-cut oats would be a great choice," Kulze says. "They are an excellent source of glucose delivered over a long period of time."

2. But Do Skip the Late Nights

No amount of food can help if you're not getting enough rest. Get a good night's sleep, and when you wake up, select foods that will stimulate your taste buds - and your brain as well.

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Reviewed on February 01, 2007

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