There is no denying that the brain is the most remarkable and complex organ in the human body. It’s truly mind-blowing that our consciousness, memory, intelligence, emotions, sensations, and motor abilities are all processed and stored beneath our skulls. If maintaining or improving these important functions is your top priority, eating a balanced diet rich in brain-supporting nutrients is key.
According to a study published in 2021 nutrition review, Top nerve-boosting nutrients include omega-3 fatty acids, polyphenols, fiber, B vitamins, vitamin D, iron, zinc, iodine and protein. Of the nutrients mentioned, there is one that plays a crucial role in the production of neurotransmitters, the chemical messengers that carry messages from one nerve cell to the next. And this nutrient is protein! As the body’s master control center, the nervous system requires adequate amounts of protein for amino acids to function optimally.
If you find it difficult to meet your daily protein needs, high-protein snacks can help you fill in the nutritional gaps. Here are seven of the best high-protein snacks to support brain health.
1. Canned salmon
Salmon is pink, rich in flavor, protein and nutrients, making it an ideal brain-boosting food. According to the USDA, salmon contains 22 grams of protein per 3-ounce serving. If you choose to buy the product in a can, you can easily turn it into a healthy midday snack, like our salmon avocado or a quick and easy salmon salad with crackers or chips. Not to mention, salmon is an excellent source of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids. 2022 Comments posted by Culeus Emphasizes that 35% of the brain is composed of omega-3 fatty acids, which promote brain cognition, memory, learning and blood flow. To reap these benefits, try making our Five Star Ginger Soy Salmon Balls.
If you’re looking for a crunchy, grab-and-go snack that’s good for your brain, protein-packed mixed nuts are a great option.From walnuts to almonds, hazelnuts and peanuts, 2020 study published in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research Studies have found that regular consumption of a variety of nuts can reduce the risk of cognitive decline and improve cognitive function. Nuts such as peanuts also contain a fair share of protein, with 7 grams of protein per 1 ounce, according to the USDA. But the mini-brain-shaped nut (walnut) in particular is known for its brain support due to its high content of omega-3 fatty acids.
If you want to go the extra mile, you can use nuts and nut butters and dried fruit to make one of our delicious and balanced energy ball recipes. Recipes like our Peanut Butter Energy Balls are portable, delicious, and loaded with cocoa powder for an extra boost of brain-supporting antioxidants.
3. Greek yogurt with blueberries
The creamy texture of Greek yogurt, paired with the sweet and tart taste of blueberries, is a high-protein between-meal treat that can do wonders for your brain health. According to the USDA, a 7-ounce serving of plain Greek yogurt contains 20 grams of protein.If that’s not impressive enough, reviews posted in 2022 Journal of Gerontology Probiotics, like those in Greek yogurt, have been found to promote interactions between the gut and brain, improving cognitive and mental health. By adding blueberries to this delicious snack, you also get the added benefit of brain-protecting antioxidants. So next time you head to the store, be sure to pick up Greek yogurt and a box of blueberries to prepare our easy-to-make blueberry yogurt.
Chewing on plant protein sources like edamame is another way to boost brain function. According to the USDA, one cup of cooked edamame contains 18 grams of complete protein. In addition to their protein content, edamame is rich in fiber, folate, iron, choline, and isoflavone plant compounds that may benefit brain health.In fact, a study published in 2020 nutrition review Point out that soy isoflavones can improve cognitive function, namely memory, in adults. If supporting your memory machine is one of your goals, try snacking on our delicious edamame and Aleppo peppers.
5. Quinoa Bites
Edamame isn’t the only complete plant protein on this list. Quinoa is also a complete protein, containing 8 grams per cup, according to the USDA.Comments posted in 2023 on supporting your mental health Advances in nutrition Noticed consuming more Whole grains, including quinoa, may be linked to improved mood and reduced anxiety. When paired with the fiber-rich broccoli and satisfying cheddar cheese in our Roasted Broccoli Cheddar Quinoa Slices, it makes for a balanced, brain-healthy snack.
6. Boil eggs
When you need a mid-morning snack to boost your brain power, consider boiling an egg or two. According to the USDA, one hard-boiled egg provides 6 grams of protein. This means if you choose two hard-boiled eggs, you can get up to 12 grams of protein. Eggs are also an excellent source of choline and lutein, according to a 2018 study. Journal of the American College of Nutrition Emphasis is placed on two important nutrients that are critical to normal development of the brain and nervous system during the first 1,000 days of life. It has even been mentioned that lutein may help reduce the risk of cognitive decline in adulthood. If you need an easy way to poach eggs, you may want to plug in your air fryer to make our Air Fryer Poached Eggs.
7. Pumpkin seeds
Pumpkin seeds may be small, but they pack a ton of protein in every serving. According to the USDA, one ounce of pumpkin seeds contains 8 grams of protein. More specifically, pumpkin seeds are high in the amino acid tryptophan. A study published in 2022 plant Highlights: The tryptophan in pumpkin seeds converts into the neurotransmitter serotonin, which has been shown to help support mental health, memory, and more. One way to get more pumpkin seeds into your diet is to whip up a batch of our Super Seed Snack Bars.
Even though the brain is one of the most complex organs in the human body, nourishing it with high-protein snacks doesn’t have to be complicated. The trick is to look for foods that are high in protein but also rich in omega-3 fatty acids and brain-boosting vitamins and minerals. A few snacks that top the list include salmon, Greek yogurt, nuts, hard-boiled eggs, edamame, quinoa and pumpkin seeds. By adding some of these foods to your snack rotation, your taste buds and brain will thank you.