Food for thought: Best foods to improve brain performance

Science and Health

The occasion of the opening of the academic year has given reason for Orna Avidan, naturopath at Maccabi Tivi, to give recommendations on what to eat in order for us to concentrate and study better.

Avidan recommends these foods in particular: 

1. Berries

Berries are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber. Blueberries, in particular, have been linked to improved memory and cognitive performance. Only a handful of berries is necessary for a brain boost!

2. Dark leafy greens

Kale, spinach, and other dark leafy greens are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These nutrients support brain function and provide an energy release that will be sustained throughout the day. These should be eaten throughout the day to maximize benefits.

3. Nuts and seeds


Almonds, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds are excellent sources of vitamin E, which improve cognitive function. Additionally, nuts and seeds provide a minerals such as magnesium and zinc, which support overall brain health. 


4. Whole grains

Whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice, and oats provide a steady release of sugars for the brain. These complex carbohydrates support sustained energy levels and improve focus throughout the day. Whole grains offer a more stable source of energy than refined carbohydrates like white bread. 

5. Turmeric

The active compound in turmeric, curcumin, has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Studies suggest that turmeric may have the potential to benefit brain health. 

6. Eggs

Eggs are a nutrient-rich food containing choline, which can improve mood and memory regulation. 

7. Avocado

Avocados are rich in healthy monounsaturated fats and support healthy blood flow, which optimizes brain function. 

8. Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are crucial components of cell membranes in the brain. Fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, and sardines), flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts all contain omega-3 fatty acids and should be included in your diet to improve cognitive function and overall brain health.

Examples of a daily menu 

Orna Avidan says, “Fueling your body with a nutritious breakfast, lunch, and dinner is not just about satisfying hunger; it’s a profound investment in your overall well-being. These meals serve as the cornerstone of vitality, providing essential nutrients that nourish not only your body but also your mind. Each bite is an opportunity to support your immune system, balance your energy levels, and cultivate a resilient foundation for optimal health.”


Meals recommended for breakfast include oatmeal with berries and nuts, greek yogurt with granola, nuts, and honey, and whole grain toast with avocado and eggs.

Oats provide complex carbohydrates for sustained energy, while berries offer antioxidants and nuts contribute omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E.

Greek yogurt is rich in protein, promoting alertness, while the combination of nuts and honey adds healthy fats and natural sweetness.

The whole grain toast, avocado and eggs combination provides complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, and protein.

Midday Meal

For lunch, Avidan recommends a salmon quinoa bowl with vegetables, chicken, and vegetables, or a sweet potato and chickpea salad. 

Salmon supplies omega-3 fatty acids, quinoa offers complex carbohydrates, and vegetables provide essential vitamins and minerals.

Chicken is a lean protein, which supports neurotransmitter function, while vegetables offer a range of antioxidants and vitamins.

Sweet potatoes provide complex carbohydrates, and chickpeas offer protein and fiber for sustained energy.


For dinner, Avidan recommends a stuffed bell pepper with quinoa, black beans, tomatoes and spices or grilled chicken and vegetable skewers. The stuffed bell pepper dish combines plant-based protein, fiber, and complex carbohydrates.

The skewers support neurotransmitter function and provide a range of vitamins and minerals.

Snack Ideas for Brain Breaks

Below are snack recommendations to improve brain health and performance:

1. Trail mix including nuts, seeds and dark chocolate. 

2. Fresh fruit with nut butter provides a mix of carbohydrates, healthy fats, and protein for sustained energy.

3. Whole grain crackers with hummus offers complex carbohydrates and plant-based protein.