The brain benefits of eating fish — particularly oily fish like salmon, sardines and herring — can’t be overstated. That’s because fish is one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids, including docosahexaenoic acid. DHA helps build brain cell membranes (which contain a high degree of fatty acids) and is essential for optimal cognitive power. Research shows that DHA deficiency may be behind age-related cognitive declines, and that older adults who eat seafood regularly are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s and other dementias. If you’re a vegetarian, opt for omega-3-rich flax seed oil, soybeans and chia seeds.
Fish is also an excellent protein source, rich in amino acids that help build your brain’s neurotransmitters (chemical messengers that allow it to communicate with the rest of your body). Plus, it’s high in vitamin D, which research shows aids in brain function and information processing.