5 Foods to Make You Smarter

Add these brain foods to your grocery list for a brighter, healthier diet.

By Reader's Digest Editors

1. Blueberries
The tiny but powerful blueberry helps protect the brain from oxidative stress and may reduce the effects of dementia. A study on rats found that diets rich in blueberries dramatically improved both the learning capacity and motor skills of aging rats, making them mentally equivalent to much younger rats.

Sources: WebMD, CBS, Mind Power News

2. Coffee
A cup of coffee before a big exam can help your brain perform at its best. That’s because caffeine improves short-term memory and speeds up reaction times. Studies have also linked caffeine to a lowered risk of Alzheimer’s disease. But don’t overdo it—too much caffeine can make you jumpy or irritable.

Sources: New Scientist, WebMD, Sciencedirect.com, BBC.com

3. Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are terrific sources of vitamin E, which can help prevent cognitive decline as you age. And it’s not just your brain that benefits from almonds, walnuts, cashews, Brazil nuts, pistachios, and peanuts. Your heart will be happier too. Nuts have been linked to a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Sources: Harvard Health Publications, WebMD

4. Avocado
Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fat, which contributes to healthy blood flow. This helps every organ in your body—particularly the brain and heart. Avocados also lower blood pressure. Because high blood pressure can impair cognitive abilities, lower blood pressure helps to keep the brain in top form. The fiber in avocados also reduces the risk of heart disease and bad cholesterol.

Source: WebMD

5. Whole grains
Whole grains, like brown rice, whole wheat, oats, and barley, also enhance the flow of blood to the brain. They contain more intact nutrients than processed white flour, including vitamin E, antioxidants, and fiber. When these work together to increase blood flow, the integrity of brain cells is better preserved.

Sources: Mind Power News, Science Daily

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