Food for Brains: What You Need to Eat for Your Head to Work Well

Rosemary has grown in popularity after research showed that the herb can improve mental performance. This is very important for thousands of students preparing for exams.

Holland and Barrett's health food stores in the UK saw a 270% increase in rosemary essential oil sales after researchers at Northumbria University found that students who worked in a rosemary-scented class performed better on tests. memory.

Lucy Pottinger, head of cosmetics and aromatherapy at Holland & Barrett, said the majority of clients are "parents hoping to increase their children's chances of passing exams."

Rosemary isn't the only brain-enhancing food, here are five more ...


In 2015, researchers at the University of Reading found that wild blueberry juice improved memory and concentration in primary school children.

Professor Claire Williams found that children who drank a glass and a half of blueberry juice performed better on tests that required remembering words and where it was important not to be distracted when completing assignments.

Williams explained this by the fact that blueberries contain anthocyanin, an organic compound that activates the brain. "We've known for a long time that anthocyanin is good for the brain in adults, but now we can see the beneficial effects of anthocyanin on memory and attention in children."

Ice cream

Although not everyone agrees with him, Japanese scientist Yoshihiko Koga claims that eating ice cream for breakfast makes you smarter.

Professor Koga found that eating ice cream improved concentration and mental performance in his subjects. Participants in the experiment ate ice cream immediately after waking up, and then they had to complete certain tasks.

Compared to those who did not eat ice cream, the professors tested did show faster reactions and were better at processing information.


A 2011 study by British scientists found that eating foods rich in omega-3s like fatty fish increased blood flow to the brain, leading to improved performance during mental tasks.

In an experiment involving volunteers aged 18-35, subjects also showed better response and less fatigue after completing the task.

Study author Dr. Philip Jackson said, "Evidence suggests that regular consumption of oily fish or omega-3 supplements can prevent mental decline and dementia."

Orange juice

Scientists from the University of Reading suggested that 37 adults consume 500 ml of orange juice daily for eight weeks. By the end of the experiment, the subjects had improved cognitive functions by 8%.

Study co-author Dr. Daniel Lamport attributed this improvement to natural "flavonoids" present in orange juice.

Lamport said, "Eating flavonoid-rich fruits and vegetables every day can significantly help brain health."


Researchers at Rush University in Chicago monitored nutrition and mental performance in about 950 seniors over a 10-year period. They found that those who ate green leafy vegetables such as spinach at least once a day had significantly less mental impairment than those who did not.

Lead researcher Martha Claire Morris said leafy greens are so beneficial to the brain, likely due to their high content of vitamins and nutrients such as vitamin K, lutein, folate, and beta-carotene.