It was just a few months ago when I experienced what some might call a "senior moment". I was in a conversation and, all of a sudden, I had a thought I wanted to get out, but could not think of the word I needed to express it. I knew exactly what I wanted to say, but the specific word I was looking for just wouldn't come.

Moments like this are not necessarily tied to age and have happened to anyone who has forgotten a name, misplaced their car keys, or found themselves tongue tied in a conversation. They just seem to occur more frequently as we get older and our brains lose vitality.

However, there are ways to ensure that your brain continues to operate at a peak performance level, even as we age. The key is to energize the cells of the brain by supplying it with a steady diet of brain essential fatty acids and ensuring that blood sugar levels remain consistent.

There are many supplements that have been designed to provide brain-rich chemical combinations, but it all starts with a healthy diet. There are many foods that provide brain essential nutrients, but six key staples excel in their ability to keep our brains young and sharp.


Berries of all types, but especially blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, cranberries, and strawberries, provide high levels of brain essential omega-3 fatty acids. A study at Tufts University showed that rats, when fed a diet that included blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and vitamin E, tested at a superior level for balance, memory, and speed while navigating a maze.

Fresh berries are best, but frozen will do in the off-season.


Cold water fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines, and tuna all contain high levels of the brain essential omegas. Wild, deep water fish are best as they typically avoid heavy exposure to mercury, dioxin, and the other toxins and bacteria that permeate shallower waters.


Eggs get a bad rap for their relatively high levels of cholesterol, but they actually provide multiple nutrients critical in the maintenance of healthy brain tissue. Eggs are rich in lecithin, a critical building block for brain membranes, and a natural emulsifier of cholesterol and fats.

Eggs are also contain high concentrations of lipids, serine, inositol, and the brain essential amino acids tryptophan and tyrosine. All are critical components in maintaining mental clarity, memory, and other brain functions.


Spinach, especially when served fresh and raw, protects healthy brain cells and rejuvenates old and damaged ones. The green leaves contain high levels of the B vitamin folic acid which is a powerful neuro booster. Studies have shown that diets rich in folic acid prevent the onset of Alzheimers and other mentally degenerative diseases.

Spinach also contains high levels chlorophyll, lutein, and flavonoids. Flavonoids are especially valuable for the long lasting antioxidant protection they provide.

Other green vegetables that feed the brain include kale, broccoli, basil, arugula, kelp, and cilantro.


Beans are at the top of the brain-essential food chain. The dark beans (black, red, and kidney), provide a healthy supply of low glycemic carbs, brain essential amino acids, and high concentrations of antiaging antioxidants.


A handful of walnuts provides over 3g of healthy omega-3s. They contain an optimal balance of the omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, ensuring that the maximum benefits from both are obtained.

Walnuts are best acquired while still in the shell to preserve the valuable oils inside. They make an excellent snack between meals and assist in stimulating healthy brain activity throughout the day.

Peanuts, hazelnuts, pecans, and almonds are also excellent sources of antioxidants.

A finely tuned brain is a critical component of any healthy lifestyle. It all starts with a diet rich in brain boosting vitamins and nutrients that will keep you sharp and focused. You can live younger if you include them in your daily eating habits.

Author's Bio: 

J.D. Bell is a former professional health, nutrition, and fitness counselor who, as a first time father at age 45, is focused on his own health and longevity.

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