nutrients required for healthy brain

“Your brain is largely made of fat, 60% by weight. Give it the healthy fats it needs, the kind found in avocados, olives, nuts, seeds, coconut oil, grass-fed butter, and fatty fish like salmon, tuna, or mackerel. You can learn more about eating a brain-healthy diet by reading our discussion of brain foods. Although food has classically been perceived as a means to provide energy and building material to the body, its ability to prevent and protect against diseases is starting to be recognised.”

Complex carbohydrates

The brain uses glucose for fuel, which is made from carbohydrates in the diet. Complex carbohydrates, found in starchy foods like wholegrain bread, pasta and rice, are the best way to provide these. They release energy slowly and help the brain to function in a stable way.

How to balance blood sugar?

Go for foods with slow-releasing sugars.

  • Oats
  • Brown rice 
  • Rye bread
  • Whole wheat pasta
  • Brown breadVegetables (Excluding Potatoes and parsnips)
  • Vegetables (Excluding Potatoes and parsnips)


Essential fatty acids:

The ‘dry weight’ of the brain is about 60% fat, and 20% of this fat is made from the essential fatty acids, Essential fatty acids cannot be made by the body so they have to come from the diet.

Source of essential fats:



Sunflower seeds


Pumpkin seeds

Sesame seeds


Chia seeds




Omega 3 rich eggs

Tuna steak







Vitamins and minerals

Vitamins and minerals are really important for the functioning of your whole body. The brain uses vitamins and minerals to help perform vital tasks such as making amino acids into neurotransmitters and converting carbohydrates into glucose for fuel. Therefore a vitamin or mineral deficiency can affect your mood, as well as other brain functions.

Why do we need vitamins and minerals?

Vitamins and minerals are the intelligent nutrients that keep the brain in tune. They are key to building and rebuilding the brain. They mainly come from fruit, vegetables and wholefoods and can be supplemented for optimum brain performance. Studies about having supplements show improved IQ.

How do I ensure I am having enough?

  • Make sure that you are eating at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day.
  • Choose whole foods, not refined foods.
  • take some chewable multi-vitamin and mineral supplements.

Your Brain Needs Oxygen

Oxygen is one nutrient your brain can’t live without for more than a few minutes, while clearly, you get enough oxygen to survive, you may not be getting a sufficient amount for your brain to thrive.

Here’s how to make the most out of every breath you take:

  • Practice good posture. Standing up straight can increase lung capacity by 5%.

  • Practice breathing from your diaphragm. Most people breathe shallowly instead of deeply.

  • If you smoke, stop. Smokers have less oxygen flow to their brains.

  • Exercise.


Foods and drink to boost your brain

There are some foods that seem to be particularly good for our brains. Eat them as part of a balanced diet, with regular meals. Always eat breakfast, as this will help your concentration and mental performance throughout the day.

Foods that are good for the brain include:

  • Oily fish, such as salmon, herring and m, ckerel. These are an excellent source of omega-3, which your brain needs to stay healthy.

  • Olive oil, which is a healthy source of fat in the diet and can help reduce cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Some studies have linked olive oil with a lower risk of ischaemic stroke, cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease.

  • Berries and other deep coloured fruits and vegetables, such as strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, acai berries, spinach, beetroot and beans. These foods are high in antioxidants, which help guard against disease by protecting cells in the body and brain from damage.

  • Foods containing ‘good fats’, like nuts, seeds and avocados. Foods containing polyunsaturated fatty acids (nuts, seeds, fish and leafy green vegetables) and monounsaturated fatty acids (olive oil, avocados, nuts) may reduce your risk of both depression and dementia.

  • Dark chocolate in small amounts! It contains high levels of antioxidants, but also high in sugar and fat. One small piece of dark chocolate per day is enough to get the antioxidant benefit.

  • Green tea, which is another rich source of antioxidants.

Food and drink that is bad for the brain

There are also some foods which are particularly bad for our brains:

  • Salty foods like crisps, tinned soups and ready meals. We know that salt causes high blood pressure, which increases our risk of stroke. Government guidelines state that you should eat no more than 6 grams per day.

  • Sugary foods and drinks like sweets and cola. These may give us a temporary energy kick, but the energy is released so quickly that we soon “crash”, feeling low and lethargic. Too many sugary foods and drinks in the diet can also make us overweight, which increases our risk of health complications.

  • Trans fats, which are often present in ready-made foods. Trans fats are particularly bad for us and may increase our risk of ischaemic stroke. They are also known as ‘hydrogenated fat’ or ‘hydrogenated oil’.