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The One Food to Eat for a Sharper Brain, Says Dietitian

Eat this for a brain boost.

When you think of brain food, does wild sockeye salmon come to mind? If it doesn't, we encourage you to think again.

As Vanessa Rissetto, MS, RD, CDN, and co-founder of Culina Health points out, adequate consumption of omega-3 fatty acids can help us retain information as we're learning it. Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, trout, herring, and sardines are all rich sources of two types of omega-3 fatty acids: EPA and DHA.

Aside from helping you retain information in the immediate term, omega-3 fatty acids may also help combat age-related mental decline.

"Omega-3 fatty acids regulate the brain's functions and help fight off memory decline," says Rissetto.

RELATED: 26 Best Omega-3 Foods to Fight Inflammation and Support Heart Health

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Mental health is another key element of brain health. In fact, studies have shown that not consuming enough of the omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish is linked to depression.

"Not only can adding salmon to your diet help with these cognitive functions, but it can also contribute to your emotional health by reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety," says Risetto.

Of course, fatty fish isn't the only brain-boosting food. Here are a few more you can incorporate into your diet, and for even more healthy eating tips, check out our list of the 100 Easiest Recipes You Can Make.

1

Blueberries

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Blueberries are rich in plant compounds called anthocyanins that research shows have both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects on the body. Antioxidants play a key role in reducing inflammation that's associated with neurodegenerative diseases.

2

Turmeric

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It's the active ingredient in turmeric called curcumin that's known to carry all of the brain health benefits. Studies have shown that when combined with black pepper, turmeric can help clear plaque in the brain and improve memory in those with Alzheimer's. 

Check out What Happens to Your Body When You Eat Turmeric!

3

Dark Chocolate

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As if you really needed another reason to break off a few squares of dark chocolate. Researchers have indicated that a group of antioxidant plant compounds known as flavonoids may help to enhance memory and delay age-related mental decline. The key is to buy dark chocolate that has a 70% or greater cocoa content.

4

Eggs

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Eggs offer so many nutrients, especially the egg yolk—so don't just stick to egg whites if you want to improve your brain health! More specifically, egg yolk is rich in a nutrient called choline, and two studies from 2012 and 2011, respectively, suggest that a higher intake of this choline is associated with improved mental function and memory. 

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Cheyenne Buckingham
Cheyenne Buckingham is the news editor of <Eat This, Not That!, specializing in food and drink coverage, and breaking down the science behind the latest health studies and information. Read more