Today I’m talking about the best brain food. It’s natural to focus on foods that provide natural energy, boost the immune system, or strengthen bones. Yet, what about foods that strengthen the brain, provide cognitive longevity, prevent memory loss? Let’s focus on some brain-healthy foods!

bright green smoothie in a decorative glass.
Table of Contents
  1. Brain Healthy Foods
  2. How to Focus on Brain Healthy Foods
  3. Best Brain Food Smoothie Recipe
  4. Brain Food Smoothie Recipe

Brain Healthy Foods

When I turned 30, I started hearing all about how to focus on my skin. Products to make it look younger, glow longer, wrinkle less. Yet, I never heard anyone talk about how to focus on brain health.

After starting Simple Green Smoothies, I noticed a lot of emails from the community asking about foods to help with cognitive decline related to a variety of neurological diseases. I learned long ago how effective food is at healing and preventing things like cancer, so why can’t food also help keep my brain healthy? Here is a great list of plant-based, whole food that can help strengthen the brain:

Avocados

This delicious ingredient rounds out our list of brain healthy foods due to its large concentration of unsaturated fat. This reduces blood pressure, which can greatly decrease cognitive decline. I use it in my brain food smoothie recipe to add creaminess, and healthy fat.

sliced and whole avocados on a wooden cutting board.

Leafy green vegetables

Ever wonder why I based my company around green smoothies? I love leafy greens, not just because they’re delicious. I love that they are powerhouses of nutrition, and blending them into a smoothie is often easier than stuffing my face with salad every day.

Leafy greens also contain nutrients like vitamin K, folate, and beta carotene, which have been linked to slowing cognitive decline. So, just indulging in a daily green smoothie gives your brain access to ingredients from the best brain food list.

Berries

Bright + colorful berries contain numerous phytochemicals, that have neuroprotective effects on neurodegenerative diseases, according to research by the US National Library of Medicine. They also contain antioxidants, which can not only delay memory decline in the long run, but also improve memory. This gives them a top spot on my list of brain healthy foods.

Coffee

Did you know that coffee is actually good for you? More specifically, the caffeine in coffee and tea releases serotonin, which improves mood (aka a great brain food). Coffee also improves focus on daily tasks, when consumed in small amounts throughout the day. I have a daily cup of coffee that is delicious + healthy.

Walnuts

While all nuts contain healthy fats + protein (I LOVE using nuts as a plant-based protein source), walnuts are specifically high in the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid. This omega-3 lowers blood pressure and protects arteries, which help keep the blood flowing correctly through the brain, giving it a shout out on this best brain food list. Maybe that’s why walnuts are brain-like in shape?

Turmeric

This brain healthy root has been linked to improved cognitive function in a study regarding patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Turmeric is also known as curcumin, which is an antioxidant + anti-inflammatory.

Hemp Hearts

Hemp hearts are packed with omega-3s and omega-6s, which are essential fatty acids. These acids can help improve working memory. I chose organic hemp protein as the main ingredient in my homemade protein powder, because it is a complete protein.

I also love blending hemp hearts in my brain food smoothie recipe, or leaving them whole on top for a nice crunch.

How to Focus on Brain Healthy Foods

I’m continually learning how to be proactive about my health. I want to age gracefully on the outside, but more importantly, I want to age gracefully on the inside. This is a huge reason why I cleanse on a quarterly basis.

My Seasonal Cleanse includes all the foods on the above list, except coffee (due to the caffeine content), because I’m serious about wanting to protect my health through plants. This cleanse helps detox the body, while also helping to fuel it through whole food and rest.

Cleansing shouldn’t only have short term benefits. It should be delicious, and leave you with an even better version of yourself.

a tall glass of brain food smoothie along side sliced pears and pineapple.

Best Brain Food Smoothie Recipe

I created this smoothie specifically for a Seasonal Cleanse. This is a plant-based, whole food cleanse focused on detoxifying the body, kickstarting weight loss, and on foods that nourish me from my brain to my toes. It’s quite a delicious smoothie, because I don’t believe the lie that tells us healthy eating has to be bland, gross, or boring.

Like every recipe in this cleanse, this brain food smoothie has the perfect balance of fat, carbs, and plant protein to help you feel full, while also giving your brain some extra lovin’ through the omegas.

a milkshake glass full of brain fuel smoothie recipe, topped with best brain food ingredient, hemp hearts.
bright green smoothie full of the best brain food
4.95 from 20 votes

Brain Food Smoothie

This brain food smoothie has everything you need to get you going in the morning— protein, healthy fats, and replenishing electrolytes. Adding avocado to smoothies gives you a lovely dose of omega-3 essential fatty acids, which are vital for brain development and nerve function. Not only that, but the avocado also assists the body in absorbing nutrients from the greens.
Prep: 5 mins
Total: 5 mins
Author: Jen Hansard
Course: Beverage, Breakfast, Smoothie
Cuisine: Plant-Based, Vegan
Serves: 1 smoothie

Ingredients  

  • 1 ½ cups spinach
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 1 pear ripe + cored
  • ½ cup mango frozen
  • ¼ avocado
  • 2 tbsp hemp hearts

Instructions 

  • Blend spinach and coconut water together until smooth.
  • Add remaining ingredients and blend again. You can either blend in hemp hearts or sprinkle on top.

Notes

Nutrition

Calories: 392kcal, Carbohydrates: 56g, Protein: 12g, Fat: 17g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Sodium: 294mg, Potassium: 1440mg, Fiber: 14g, Sugar: 35g, Vitamin A: 5323IU, Vitamin C: 61mg, Calcium: 158mg, Iron: 5mg
Tried this recipe? Show me!Mention @SimpleGreenSmoothies or tag #SimpleGreenSmoothies!

About the Author

Jen Hansard

I went from exhausted mama to running across the Grand Canyon, riding & hiking to the top of the tallest waterfall in North America with my kids. How? I fell in love with the smoothies and plant-based meals you can find on my blog.

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Comments

    1. Hey Phil,

      We love hearing about that “feel good” energy! So happy you are enjoying this recipe!!

      Cheers 🙂

    1. Hey Christy,

      I am so happy that you loved this smoothie recipe! 🙂

      Anything with avocado is always a winner for me too.

      Cheers!

  1. 5 stars
    This is my second day blending Brain Fuel as part of the Fresh Start: Autumn Cleanse. I love how bright the flavors are, and knowing my body is being fueled with leafy greens, fresh fruits, healthy fats + protein! Truly, a KALE YEAH!

    1. 5 stars
      Hey Cassandra,

      Is is delicious, hope you enjoy it!!

  2. Is there another fruit you can substitute for pear? I just really dont like pear but the rest of it sounds awesome

    1. Hey Rocio,

      You can totally swap out the pear for an apple if you prefer that. Hope you enjoy it!!!

  3. 5 stars
    This recipe and all the other green smoothie recipes in Fresh Start are a really helpful start to the day.

    1. Hey Polly,

      If you leave the seed in your avocado it will last longer in the fridge. Also, you can always cut up your avocado and freeze the rest. It will make a delicious cold additive to your next smoothie 🙂

    1. This one is so great for a brain boost and a great kickstart to the day! 🙂

  4. 5 stars
    You had me at avocado! Hahaha! I also love the pear in it because it bulks it up and almost adds a sweet honey taste, yet it’s still not very sweet. I’m trying to balance my natural fruit sugars with natural fiber and this was my dream smoothie, I’d have to say! I will definitely be making this again. Thanks Jen + the rawkstar team!

    1. 5 stars
      It really is a dream! I love this smoothie so much and anything with avocado is always a hit! So happy you love this recipe as much as we do 🙂

      Cheers!

    1. You could sub the coconut water for normal water and then use coconut oil instead of MCT oil. You could even do a whole tablespoon of coconut oil. MCT oil is more concentrated, so you only need a little to get the benefits.

  5. Hi! Is there a sub for hemp heart? Very hard to find where I live. Will changing this ingredient affect the brain power effects?

    1. Exactly! The hemp hearts are there to add healthy fats and protein— so you can swap with chia or flax to get the same health benefits. Another option is to just leave out of the smoothie and eat a handful of almonds or trail mix along with the smoothie to get the protein/fat in AND the fresh produce.

  6. I really don’t like coconut water or coconut milk. Would it be okay to use unsweetened almond milk?

    1. I’d even use just water, enough other flavors and avocado adds volume

    2. I’m with Bojana on this one— I’d just to water instead to keep it light and refreshing. The almond milk weighs it down and sometimes dilutes the natural sweetness and flavors, which are the best part.

  7. This sounds really good! And I could definitely use a boost for my brain health. 🙂

    1. It really is delicious, Terrie!

      I hope you enjoy it and yes the benefits are a HUGE plus!!

      Cheers!