9 Foods for Thought: The Best in Brain Food

By Taylor Burton Published on August 30, 2023

Estimated reading time: 6 Minutes

The life of a lawyer is never easy. The difficult work and long hours can often leave you feeling run down or mentally burned out. When your battery is at 0%, it can be tempting to rely on a cup of coffee, an energy drink, or another sugary snack as a savior. However, did you know that there is a plethora of healthy foods out there that are proven to give your brain a boost, both in the short-term and long-term?

These "brain foods" can boost your memory, improve your concentration, and keep the most important organ in your body at the top of its game. Once you've helped yourself to a nutritious, brain-boosting snack, make sure to register for PBI's upcoming CLE, "A Day on Health Law" to hear the best of the best from the Health Law Institute. After all, good health is one of the most important things in life.

Now let's find out what qualifies as the best in brain food...


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1. Coffee. Coffee-lovers, rejoice! We all know the caffeine in our morning coffee can help us wake up, but did you know coffee is also a great source of antioxidants? Antioxidants are substances that prevent some types of cell damage and fight against disease-causing free radicals. This certainly won't be the last time you hear about them in this article.

The next time you need to increase your alertness or improve your morning mood, don't be afraid to break out the coffeemaker. If coffee isn't your thing, tea is another excellent option, particularly green tea, which also contains an amino acid that can help you relax. Be wary that too much caffeine can have downsides such as anxiety, insomnia, headaches, and an elevated heart rate. Caffeine addictions are no fun, especially when you're trying to cut back.


2. Fish. Fatty, oily fish such as salmon, tuna, and sardines should be on every list when it comes to brain-healthy foods. This is because they contain omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s build brain cells, improve cognition, and can even fight against the development of depression, dementia, and Alzheimer's. Now that is one incredible superfood!

Sadly, the number of Americans living with Alzheimer's disease is growing with each passing year. On October 25th, PBI will offer a valuable course, "Alzheimer's Disease and Other Types of Dementia" to educate you on the science of the disease, and how to best advocate for your clients who have been affected by it.


Cropped image of waitress displaying salmon dish in restaurant


3. Nuts. Nuts are chock full of nutrients such as healthy fats, antioxidants, and vitamin E, which fights free radicals in the same way fish does. Walnuts in particular have the coveted omega-3 fatty acids, while also boasting twice as many antioxidants as other nuts. This prevents brain inflammation and keeps you feeling sharp. The next time you encounter a fancy nut platter, make sure to sample a few walnuts.


4. Berries. Though all berries contain antioxidants, blueberries sweep the category as one of the highest antioxidant-rich foods in existence. They're also teeming with vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese, and phytonutrients, which stimulate blood flow to the brain and improve concentration. You can enjoy berries in a variety of ways--have them with your breakfast, as a snack, or with your favorite dessert. 


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5. Eggs. Eggs are a great way to start your day because they're an excellent source of protein and keep you feeling full for longer than empty carbs can. They also contain B vitamins and a nutrient called choline, which improves memory. As for the B vitamins, they have the ability to synthesize chemicals and regulate sugar levels in the brain, which can lessen your chances of developing depression. Try incorporating eggs into your morning meal, or enjoy hard-boiled eggs as a snack or in a salad--because guess what else qualifies as brain food?


6. Leafy Greens. The darker the green, the healthier it is! Dark green vegetables such as kale and spinach are overflowing with beneficial vitamins such as vitamins K, A, and E. Like most foods on this list, leafy greens fight against diseases such as dementia. If you're wondering what to put on your delicious, brain-healthy salad of leafy greens, try some extra virgin olive oil. It comes equipped with the same benefits.

Broccoli is another fantastic option if you need your fill of Vitamin C, fiber, and of course, antioxidants. There's a reason we were often encouraged to eat our vegetables while growing up.

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7. Citrus. Citrus is another excellent option for getting your vitamin C, which can improve your focus, attention, and decision-making! They're low in calories and jam-packed with all sorts of vitamins and minerals to keep you healthy and ward off disease. Check out 7 reasons to add citrus to your diet here on Healthline!


8. Avocado. Avocado is a superfood that is beloved by Americans for its health benefits. These fruits are high in fat, but they are healthy, monounsaturated fats, which can reduce the risk of hypertension. Since our brains are mostly made of fat, they respond well to healthy, fatty foods.


9. Dark Chocolate. Good news for anyone with a sweet tooth! If you've ever heard that dark chocolate can prevent cancer, it might have sounded too good to be true. Asking Google about it greets you with mixed opinions. However, there's no denying that dark chocolate contains those wonderful antioxidants and coveted caffeine that stimulate blood flow to the brain. The cherry on top? Chocolate is a mood-booster and can give you a little lift in dopamine when you need it most. So don't hesitate to hide a bit of dark chocolate in your desk. Just make sure it's higher than 70% in cocoa--milk chocolate doesn't come with the same benefits. The darker the chocolate, the healthier it is.



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Remember, everything in moderation! Don't start drinking coffee with every meal or eating a pound of dark chocolate as a snack each day. Continue to maintain a balanced diet while also wielding this new knowledge to power up your brain, get your work done, and stay on top of compliance with PBI.