15 Foods That Make Us Smarter

15 Foods That Make Us Smarter
Written by Oana Schneider

In case you are preparing for a difficult exam or just want to improve your brain function, you don’t have to take lecithin. Scientists have shown that this wonderful substance doesn’t work for everybody and in order for it to work, you have to be active, eat and sleep well, which, if you think about it, already makes you smarter, so you can’t really credit lecithin for your wit.

However, you can and should increase your memory capacity, brain functionality and so on and the good news is that all you have to do is include these 15 super foods in your daily meals. Let’s find out together which the foods that make us smarter are.

1. Avocado

Few people know that avocado is actually rich in fats and proteins and tend to consider it a light snack, which is really not the case. First of all, the good thing about avocado is that you don’t have to buy it organic: conventional is just fine. You can use this beneficial fruit to prepare tasty omelets or fresh juices.

However, if you’re on a diet or your body weight doesn’t allow you to eat fatty foods, you should drop the omelet idea. Both eggs and avocados are beneficial for your brain cells and help you think clearer, but when combined, they turn into a caloric bomb.

2. Blueberries

Rich in fiber and low on sugar, blueberries are excellent for diabetics, but also help your brain activity. There is nothing bad about blueberries, so stocking up on them is a great idea! Plus, scientists believe that these sour berries can lower the risk of Alzheimer, provide the daily amount of vitamin C and boost your energy. Although there are many people who cook and sweeten them, this is something you shouldn’t do.

Cooking destroys all the important ingredients in fruits and vegetables, while sweetened berries totally defeat the purpose. Our advice is to prepare a blueberry smoothie and drink it daily: you only need a handful of fresh berries and a glass of milk or yogurt. Mix the ingredients together using a blender and you’re good to go!

15 Foods That Make Us Smarter

Try a Combination of Blueberries and Nuts!

3. Wild Salmon

A very important ingredient for your brain is Omega-3 fatty acids that you can find in salmon. Unlike other fats, these ones lower the risk of mental illnesses, Alzheimer, improve memory and overall stamina. Don’t eat it raw, fry it 3 minutes on every side, and add fresh vegetables and a blueberry smoothie and you got yourself a delicious meal.

However, you really have to be careful about which kind of salmon you’re going for: since the California salmon stock is threatened by a sea lice infestation, it’s best to go for the wild Alaskan salmon.

4. Nuts

Need protein, fiber and beneficial fats? We’ve got it all in just one ingredient: nuts. If you’re trying to avoid carbs, you may want to avoid macadamia nuts. Also, peanuts are under no circumstances good for you: low in proteins and active ingredients, all they do is make you gain weight due to the fact that they’re difficult to digest.

So your best options here are: pistachio and walnuts. Instead of eating chips and popcorn next time you watch a movie at home, try these lovely ingredients and your body will be a lot happier.

5. Seeds

And when we say seeds, we mean sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, poppy seeds and pumpkin seeds (which can be used as a salad dressing, instead of mayo or conventional dressing you usually purchase from the local store). They are very good for your brain thanks to their active compounds: protein, vitamin E, antioxidants and magnesium.

Our advice is to look for organic seeds and don’t overcook them: except for meat, all fruits and vegetables are way more effective when consumed raw.

6. Oatmeal

Not only that the fiber and Omega-3 fatty acids in oatmeal help your brain, but also your cardiovascular activity. Most people read articles like this and think: “Great! But how to prepare the oatmeal? What do I do with it?” You can’t eat it raw especially since its composition is a lot like flour. Try boiling it until you obtain a thick paste, add blueberries and eat it in the morning to boost your energy and enhance the green cells activity.

One thing you really shouldn’t do is buy already packed sugary oatmeal packs from the supermarket. Again, try finding a trusted provider in your area for that purpose.

7. Pomegranate

Pomegranates are a lot like blueberries in terms of active ingredients, antioxidants, and vitamin C. also, you should always choose the whole fruit and not the juice alone, because those tiny bits of pulp contain all the ingredients your brain needs in order to function properly.

After eating pomegranate, you will notice a few very quick effects: stress release, optimism, more energy and the ability to think clearer. Although pomegranate is less effective than blueberries, it kicks in a lot faster.

8. Brown Rice

Low in sugars and high in proteins, brown rice is a great ingredient for those who like carbs. Its benefits are numerous: brown rice can help your cardiovascular activity and therefore brain functionality, your blood flow and your digestive system. As long as you don’t buy it pre-packaged, you can’t go wrong with brown rice.

It may taste less sweet than white rice, but that’s actually what makes it so great. Most people don’t realize that not all beneficial substances taste in a certain way: some of them don’t taste like anything, but do wonders for our body!

9. Chocolate

You are going to love this one, we promise! Aside from the fact that it contains sugar and sugar is what your brain actually feeds on, the cocoa is rich in antioxidants and caffeine which increase your serotonin level, which means you’ll immediately feel a lot happier. You may want to choose dark chocolate (70-80% cocoa), because it’s rich in fiber. However, don’t eat too much or you’ll lose your appetite: one or two squares per day should be enough!

10. Olive Oil

One mistake people make when choosing beneficial foods is only being concerned about fiber and glucose, forgetting that fat is also good. Ever noticed that being on a low-fat diet made you cranky, confused and restless? It’s because fats are very important for your brain and, shockingly, the brain is in charge of you feeling tired, depressed, irritated and so on.

However, not all fats are good, of course, and one that you should avoid is the Omega-6 fats complex. But if you choose olive oil for your salads, you get the best of both world: maintain your overall energy and improve your brain activity!

11. Garlic

Although probably not your favorite spice/vegetable, garlic is very good for your body: it can treat hemorrhoids, neurasthenia, constipation and many other digestive tract illnesses. But few people realize how important the garlic for our brain: by normalizing your cholesterol and strengthening the circulatory system, the garlic also helps promote cognition, alertness and also memory. Just don’t buy it already peeled and sliced or the nutritional benefits will be nonexistent.

12. Eggs

15 Foods That Make Us Smarter

Eggs and Tomatoes: What More Could You Ask For?

If you’re not allergic and happen to actually like the eggs, then you’ll be glad to hear that including them into your everyday meals is not only a tasty, but also a very healthy idea. It’s best to eat them poached or boiled, not so much scrambled or fried. Also, you could use them as a salad dressing (a slightly poached creamy egg is better than any mayo in the world!). Try buying farm eggs, avoiding conventional ones.

13. Tomatoes

Aside from being rich in vitamin C, tomatoes also contain lycopene, an active ingredient that is particularly good for your brain. Curiously enough though, you have to cook the tomatoes in order to benefit from the lycopene, which means that ketchup is good for your brain! Of course, the sugar in the ketchup overshadows the good lycopene. If you could prepare your own ketchup at home, with tomato sauce or bullion and a tablespoon of honey, that would be great!

Don’t buy tomatoes that are big and beautiful, but don’t really taste like anything (some of them were grown on cotton pads with vitamins and water without ever even touching the soil!).

14. Oysters

Everybody knows that oysters are a good aphrodisiac, but thanks to its selenium, magnesium, protein and vitamin E, they are also very beneficial for your brain. A few studies proved that people who ate oysters on a regular basis improved their mood, became more optimistic and patient. If focusing is your biggest issue, oysters is the way to go!

15. Beans

In order to function properly, your brain needs fiber, vitamins, minerals and protein and cheapest way to get all of them in one ingredient is to choose beans. They may not seem sweet to you, but they are and their glucose is directed to your brain (your grey cells use 20% of the carbs you eat and drink, plus they like a steady supply, so not all carbs are pure evilness!).

You probably can’t grow your own beans, but the least you can do is buy them from a farmer’s market and try to avoid the supermarket labels.  

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15 Foods That Make Us Smarter

About the author

Oana Schneider

Oana Schneider is a published author located in Chicago, Illinois and was part of our team as a communication specialist and blog editor. She writes about lifestyle, family budget and has a degree in Communications.


  • What a great list! These are foods that taste delicious and are delicious for your brain. I like guacamole; does that count for avocado? I sure hope so. Blueberries are one of my favorite fruits, but I cannot stand pomegranates. All sorts of salmon, nuts, and seeds have lots of protein and Omega-3 in them, and they’re also healthy in addition to making you smarter. I personally love eating salmon. And thank goodness chocolate is on there; I don’t think I could function without it. Garlic and tomatoes are both things that can be delicious, or repulsive depending on the way you cook them. Raw garlic is disgusting, but raw tomatoes taste a lot better than cooked ones. You just have to be careful with their preparation to insure a good receiving. Who knows, maybe the pungent scent of garlic enhances your alertness and memory by never letting you forget that smell, and things that you’re working on. 🙂 Thank goodness you made a list of actually pleasant-tasting foods! It makes me actually want to eat them know. In fact, I think I’m going to prepare brown rice for dinner tonight. Thanks!

  • Avocados are a great food that contain tons of nutrients and vitamins. They’re the perfect brain food and I live in Southern California, which is basically a huge avocado growing area. You’ll find avocado on tons of things out here, and there are a lot of healthy food options that include it. It’s good for your brain and tastes great, too!

  • I love that these foods are not only healthy for you but taste good too. At first I was slightly scared seeing as the first food mentioned on this list was avocado and that’s something that I do go out of my way to avoid. I was hesitant to read the rest in case I didn’t eat any of the things on this list, thank god I am giving my body some good things!

    Blueberries are one of my favourite fruits, I love all berries but they are one of my favourites! I’m so glad they’re a good brain fruit I should definitely stock up on them before my exams. Salmon is possibly my favourite, I can’t get enough! I usually tend to get farmed salmon though, it’s a lot easier to get and cheaper. I’m sure the wild option is better for you though so maybe I should give it a go.

    We recently switched from white rice to brown/red rice as a family and I think it’s been a really great change for us, not just because of the brain boosting benefits but the reduced sugar too.

    I was actually just eating chocolate as I read this article, what a coincidence! It may have been a little bit more than two squares however, I just can’t help myself.

    @gavino You and this article have definitely convinced me to give avocado another shot, I’m one of those people that usually poke it out of my sushi (I’m not a huge fan of the texture) but it really is such a great food. Who knows maybe I’ll even grow to like it!

  • These are all foods that I absolutely love! One of my favorite foods is an avocado. My daughter and I usually split one right before bed time and it ties us over until morning. It is a vegetable that has healthy fat in it and it is a great snack.

    Garlic also not only makes you smarter, but it is great for your immune system too. Some people say that garlic works better than an antibiotic given by your doctor. I would have to agree with this as it has helped my family heal from some nasty bugs that we have had including sinus infections.

    • People tend to think that avocados aren’t healthy because they’re so high in fat, but I’m glad that you’re smart enough to know that those are healthy fats! It’s a great thing to feed your daughter, and she’s going to grow up knowing what a truly tasty and versatile food item this is. It’s actually a fruit (technically a berry) because of its seed, though.

  • Most sea foods like the ones you listed here: salmon, oysters, etc. have high doses of Omega 3 and Iodine that promote brain cell-growth. Vitamin E also helps tremendously. I really do try to incorporate a LOT of sea food in my diet for this reason alone, other diet benefits like them being low-fat and low caloric, but high protein are only a bonus.

  • I’m happy to know about half these foods are already staples for me. The only one I can’t eat is oysters, as I’m allergic. I’ve definitely noticed a difference in my overall health since I started eating oatmeal for breakfast every morning, and eliminating white rice in favor of brown rice. Which I love with garbanzo beans, olive oil, and vegetables. I also love avocado, but I don’t eat it very often. That’ll have to change.

  • Sometimes we eat without thinking– not realizing the nutrients, or the lack of it, in food. I think, it’s good and wise practice and discipline to add all these ‘brain food’ on a monthly basis as part of our budget. I believe in traditional cooking and diet (the way we eat). Investing on richly packed nutrients on food is worth it. Thanks for the research and putting out all the food-list for everyone to see! And eat!

  • It’s so refreshing to come across a list of food that is good for you that I actually enjoy eating. I can take or leave salmon, as I prefer most other types of fish over it, but the rest of the items on your list are favorites of mine, so I’m going to use this list to select from, when choosing my snacks.

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