Cruciferous vegetables & dark leafy greens

Cruciferous vegetables and dark leafy greens have proven brain health benefits. In a very large study in women in their 60s, researchers found that those who ate more leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables--like broccoli, cabbage, kale, and Brussels sprouts--showed less decline in memory, attention, and verbal abilities than women who ate less of those foods.  Spinach, kale, chard, and other dark leafy greens are true superfoods, packing in almost 400% of the recommended daily value of vitamin A in just one cup, with healthy doses of vitamin C and E and folic acid as well. All of the foods in this category are fantastic sources of antioxidants.

Pistachio Parsley Pesto

Recent research on pistachios has found that they contain several types of antioxidant compounds that can be beneficial to the brain and body. This is a fast and easy recipe that also happens to be vegan, and incorporates pistachios with garlic, olive oil, and fresh parsley, which all offer brain health benefits as well.

Garlic Salmon over Spinach

Salmon is chock-full of DHA, the omega-3 fatty acid with the most evidence for brain benefits. Almost any salmon is a good choice for the brain, not just because of high good-for-you DHA levels but also because of relatively low levels of bad-for-you mercury. Wild salmon is probably a better choice than farmed salmon, due to lower levels of PCBs. Spinach and garlic may add to the brain benefits of this recipe!

Chicken & Pecan Enchiladas

Foods with brain-boosting properties abound in this recipe. Garbanzos are a good source of folic acid, which has been shown to protect fetal brain development, improve memory performance, and may even help ward off Alzheimer's disease. Onions are rich in quercetin, an antioxidant that may protect against certain types of stroke. Chicken is rich in choline, an essential building block in acetycholine, a memory-forming brain chemical. Spinach, garlic, and peppers are also foods that are likely as good for your brain as they are for your body!