Health & Well-Being

The Best Way to a Healthy Brain is the Food We Eat

The field of Nutritional Psychiatry helps us better understand the vital role our food plays in health outcomes. This research highlights the critical role of diet in protecting our mood, memory, and overall brain health.

An important take-away of this new area of research is that the cardiovascular system supplies our brains. Hence, a healthy heart diet has many similarities to a healthy brain diet!

Such a healthy diet includes an emphasis on colorful fruits and vegetables daily (at least five servings per day!), intending to eat the full rainbow of color across 2-3 days.

The antioxidants and Phyto-nutrients uniquely present in fruits and vegetables cannot be found in other places.

Flavonoids, found in dark berries like blueberries and strawberries, are particularly beneficial and associated with improved memory.

Other significant sources of flavonoids include citrus fruits, spinach, and tea.

Another essential contributor to brain health, omega-3 fatty acids, are an excellent source of inflammation-fighting fats. While supplements are often easier, research supports that the benefit from real food is more significant. So it is best to get your nutrients through food whenever possible.

Adding fatty fish, such as salmon, to your weekly diet, would be a great start. Whitefish also contain healthy fats and are a nutritious dietary addition.

Another great source of omega-3 fats is walnuts, which can easily be enjoyed as a snack or sprinkled on a salad or oatmeal.

The good news is that many of the powerful foods that help our brains stay at their best are delicious and enjoyable to add to your diet!


Jaclyn Albin, MD, FAAP, FACP

Dr. Albin treats patients of all ages and trained in combined internal medicine and pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. She joined the Departments of Pediatrics and Internal Medicine at UTSW in the fall of 2014 where she practices primary care in the Combined Internal Medicine/Pediatrics Clinic at UTSW. Dr. Albin serves as the Associate Program Director for the Internal Medicine/Pediatrics (Med/Peds) Residency Program and loves teaching about health promotion across the lifespan. She is passionate about nutrition, lifestyle, and other environmental influences on health, and she teaches her patients and students to prioritize these areas. In 2017, Dr. Albin launched UTSW’s Culinary Medicine program and serves as the director, working to teach nutrition through hands-on cooking classes to medical students, residents, healthcare professionals, and the community. Dr. Albin loves blending her passion for nutrition and wellness with growing a garden, cooking, traveling, and spending time with her husband and children.

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