You’ve probably heard about common “brain foods” like pomegranates, blueberries, dark chocolate, salmon, and red wine – but there are many other foods that offer brain benefits, and chances are you haven’t even heard about their brain-boosting powers. Here we present seven surprising brain foods!


Watermelon was recently found to have high concentrations of antioxidants, including lycopene, which may help prevent cognitive decline. It also offers a strong complement of beta-carotene. It’s important to note that to get the most concentrated nutrients, the flesh must be fully red and ripe.



Many people are surprised to hear that chicken has brain health benefits. But chicken is a great dietary source of vitamins B6 and B12, as well as choline—all of which play an important role in brain health and neuroprotection.



Protein-rich quinoa contains all of the essential amino acids, especially lysine, which may play a key role in regulating stress and anxiety. It also contains antioxidants and a small amount of Omega-3 fatty acids.



In many cultures, sage has been used medicinally for thousands of years, and recent research has found scientific evidence supporting its efficacy. Studies have shown that sage may improve memory recall and help delay cognitive decline.



Legumes like lentils are high in folic acid. Studies suggest that folic acid is important for brain plasticity across the lifespan, from developing the baby brain to maintaining good brain function in older adults.



Winter squashes like butternut squash are full of beta carotene, vitamin C, folic acid, antioxidants, and niacin. They offer a lot of brain and body health benefits while adding few calories to your diet.



Sesame seeds contain lipophilic antioxidants, which may prevent age-related diseases. Adding sesame seeds and other small but high-impact foods (like flaxseed and turmeric) to your dishes is a simple, tasty way to put a little brain boost in every bite.