Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables are rich in fiber and nutrients.

As well as being a low-calorie source of dietary fiber, broccoli may be good for the brain.

Broccoli is rich in compounds called glucosinolates. When the body breaks these down, they produce isothiocyanates.

Isothiocyanates may reduceTrusted Source oxidative stress and lower the risk of neurodegenerative diseases.

Broccoli also contains vitamin C and flavonoids, and these antioxidants can further boost a person’s brain health.

Other cruciferous vegetables that contain glucosinolates include:

  • brussels sprouts
  • bok choy
  • cabbage
  • cauliflower
  • turnips
  • kale
11. Kale

Leafy greens, including kale, may support brain health.

Like broccoli, kale contains glucosinolates, and leafy greens also contain other key antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. This is why many consider kale to be a superfood.

12. Soy products

Soybean products are rich in a particular group of antioxidants called polyphenols.

Research has linkedTrusted Source polyphenols with a reduced risk of dementia and improved cognitive abilities in regular aging processes.

Soy products contain polyphenols called isoflavones, including daidzein and genistein. These chemicals act as antioxidants, providing a range of health benefits throughout the body.

Supplements for brain function

In addition to making dietary changes, some people consider taking supplements to improve their brain function. But do these supplements actually work?

Taking vitamins B, C, or E, beta-carotene, or magnesium may improve brain function if a person has a deficiency in any of them. If a person does not have a deficiency, these supplements are unlikely to improve mental performance.

ResearchTrusted Source suggests that taking ginseng may improve this performance. However, further studies are needed before doctors can recommend ginseng to enhance brain function.

Summary

The foods listed above may help improve a person’s memory and concentration. Some may also reduce the risk of stroke and age-related neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Some of the foods contain compounds such as healthful fatty acids, which can help improve the structure of brain cells called neurons. Other compounds, such as sugars and saturated fats, may damage brain cell structures.

Brain-boosting foods tend to contain one or more of the following:

  • antioxidants, such as flavonoids or vitamin E
  • B vitamins
  • healthful fats
  • omega fatty acids

Beyond adjusting the diet, a person can optimize their brain function by:

  • not eating too much or too little
  • getting enough sleep
  • keeping hydrated
  • exercising regularly
  • reducing stress through yoga, mindfulness, or meditation
  • reducing alcohol intake

Eating a brain-boosting diet will also provide many benefits for the entire body.