How to Eat for a Sharper Mind

Smart food for every age

Are you getting enough of the right nutrients to support healthy cognitive function and improve memory? EatingWells quick guide to food solutions will show you how.

Prenatal

Go fish. Women who eat fatty fish, such as salmon, during their third trimester of pregnancy have babies who tend to perform better on cognitive tasks. Researchers think the omega-3 fatty acid DHA is needed during this time to build neurons and their connections.

Food solutions: Salmon and other fatty fish, DHA-fortified eggs and yogurt.


Infant/Baby

Add iron. By 5 or 6 months, babies have used up the iron stores they're born with and need to get iron from food or supplements to support brain development.

Food solutions: Iron-fortified cereals.


Child/Teen

Morning fuel. School-aged children should start their day with low-glycemic-index breakfast foods. Food solutions: Bran cereals, oatmeal or whole-wheat bagels.


Young Adult

Got iron? 10 percent of women are anemic, and new studies show that being even mildly iron-deficient affects learning, memory, and attention. Luckily, restoring iron levels to normal also restores cognitive function.

Food solutions: Dark leafy greens, beans, meat or soy.


Older Adult

Eat your antioxidants. People who eat more brightly colored fruits and leafy vegetables have less cognitive decline than those who don't antioxidants in produce may mop up free radicals and protect neurons from damage.

Food solutions: Berries and other fruits, greens and turmeric (which contains curcumin).


Reprinted with permission from EatingWell Magazine.