The older I get, the more I feel my idea of wellness is expanding. My initial passion for wellness started in fitness at a young age playing soccer and basketball. Then I got into food around high school (I was so passionate that I became an Registered Dietitian!). Now I consider my sleep, my stress and energy levels, my gut health, and recently I’ve been learning all about brain health. I’m currently 36 weeks pregnant, and it’s crazy how much you learn about the human body while growing a baby. I’ve learned so much information when it comes to the foods and supplements to take for brain health for both me and baby. Here are my top four picks for brain-boosting foods:

  1. Eggs: Do not overlook the power of eggs when it comes to brain health. And never skip the yolks! Eggs are a fantastic source of choline, which is essential for the production of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter important for memory and cognitive function. Eggs also contain other nutrients like DHA (a key Omega-3 fat), folate, vitamin B12 and vitamin D, which support overall brain health and function. I wrote more about why I make sure to eat eggs regularly while pregnant in this blog post. If you’re looking for a specific choline supplement while pregnant to ensure you’re supporting your baby’s cognitive development at an early stage, I highly recommend this one.
  2. Leafy Greens: Ok we’ve all heard it before, but try and sneak greens into at least one or two of your meals daily. Spinach is my personal go-to because it blends right into smoothies or chopped finely and added to soups or mains like this Baked Feta Pasta (with 4 cups of spinach). You’ll never notice it & neither will your husbands or kids. Leafy greens are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, which act as your brain’s personal defense system, combating oxidative stress and inflammation. Plus, vitamins like folate are essential for cognitive function and mood regulation. I recommend buying organic as often as you can.
  3. Berries: Berries are nature’s brain food candy. A pro-tip for berries is buying the frozen organic berries and using them in smoothies, yogurt bowls, desserts, etc. Fresh organic berries can be expensive, and frozen has the same nutrient-density but cost much less. (Why buy organic? Check out the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists here). Berries are packed with flavonoids, which support cognitive function, protect against age-related memory decline, and enhance communication between brain cells.
  4. Fatty Fish: Loaded with omega-3 fatty acids like DHA and EPA, and wild-caught especially for higher nutritional value, fatty fish supports optimal brain function. These healthy fats play a crucial role in building the structural integrity of your brain cells and ensuring smooth neurotransmitter function, which keeps your memory sharp and your mood stable. My personal favorite is wild-caught salmon. If you’re interested in more protein-rich fish recipes, try my Copycat Niçoise Salad or these insanely delicious Sesame Salmon Rice Bowls.

Brain-Boosting Foods During Pregnancy

During pregnancy, eating for brain health becomes even more crucial. The nutrients you consume play a vital role in your baby’s brain development, particularly during the early stages of pregnancy. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fatty fish, are essential for the development of your baby’s brain and nervous system. Leafy greens provide essential vitamins and minerals, including folate, which is crucial for preventing neural tube defects. Additionally, the antioxidants found in berries help protect both you and your baby from oxidative stress, supporting overall brain health during this critical time. There are more examples of how to eat for pregnancy in this post. Know that by keeping yourself fueled and healthy you’re also taking care of your baby.

With these brain-boosting foods on your plate, you’ll not only feel amazing, but you’ll support the health of your brain now and for the rest of your life. For more nutrition & fitness advice, follow along on IG. I’m always sharing what I’m learning over there!

Welcome! I’m Rachael.

I enjoy sharing my love for food and fitness. I'm a registered dietitian, certified personal trainer, and a New York Times Bestselling author. Here you'll find all kinds of recipes and kitchen hacks, as well as workouts and fitness motivation. Enjoy! — xx Rachael

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