Brain Food: Food that Makes You Feel Smart

Eating well is good for you mentally and physically. The brain requires nutrients just like your heart, lungs and muscles. Simply, your brain likes to eat, And it likes powerful fuel: quality fats, antioxidants and small, steady amounts of the best carbs. The path to a bigger, better brain is loaded with Omega-3 fats, antioxidants and fiber. Give your brain a kick start By Eating the following foods regularly for results you will notice.

Smart Ingredients

Blueberries are possibly the best brain food on earth. They have been linked to reduce risk for Alzheimer’s and shown to improve learning ability and motor skills in rats. They are also one of the most powerful anti-stress foods you can eat. 

Wild salmon contains a good amount of Omega-3 fatty acids that are essential for your brain. These beneficial fats are linked to improving cognition and alertness, reducing risk of degenerative mental disease (such as dementia), improving memory, improving mood and reducing depression, anxiety and hyperactivity. 

 Eat more tomatoes. There is evidence to suggest that lycopene, a powerful antioxidant found in tomatoes, could help protect against free radical damage to cells, which occurs in the development of dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s. Flavor cooked tomatoes and enjoy with a little olive oil to optimize absorption and efficacy. 

Broccoli is a great source of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function and improve brainpower. Researchers report that because broccoli is high in glucosinolates, it can slow the breakdown of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which we need for the central nervous system to perform properly and to keep our brains and our memories sharp. Low levels of acetylcholine are associated
with Alzheimer’s.

Like everything else in your body, the brain cannot work without energy. The ability to concentrate and focus comes from an adequate, steady supply of energy in the form of glucose in our blood to the brain. Achieve this by choosing whole grains, which release glucose slowly into the bloodstream, keeping you mentally alert throughout the day. Opt for “brown” wholegrain cereals, granary bread, rice and pasta (

Plan and Shop Smart

What sort of shopping decisions would make us healthier, wealthier and wiser? Buy fresh and make a shopping list for the week. Check out the Rochester Downtown Farmers Market on Saturday mornings. It’s exploding with fresh fruit, veggies, eggs and meat this time of year. You may also still be able to find blueberries and broccoli. All vendors are within a 50-mile radius of Rochester, so you know that the food is super fresh, and buying from the market supports the local economy.

Are you running out of time and off to ball games and lessons with your kids after school? Make shopping easy with Hy-Vee’s Aisles OnlineT. By shopping online and getting your groceries delivered, you can spend more time with people who matter. Hy-Vee offers online shopping and delivery straight to your door. Just a few minutes online and your groceries will be delivered for a minimal fee in as little as four hours. Pick-up is also available.

 Spend a little time planning and preparing meals that give you more brain function, clarity and energy. Your family will be smarter and more successful throughout the day. 

Oven Roasted Wild Salmon with Warm Quinoa & Roasted Broccoli Salad

(serves 2 people)

  • 2 wild-caught salmon filets
  • 3/4 cup of quinoa
  • 1 cube of vegetable bouillon
  • 1 small head of broccoli
  • 4 Tbsp. of olive oil, divided
  • 2 Tbsp. of white wine vinegar
  • 1 small tomato, sliced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Lemon zest to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
  2. Chop the broccoli, toss with 1 Tbsp. of olive oil, salt and pepper and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, add the quinoa to a pot of boiling water with the bouillon cube. Cover and reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes, or until tender. Set aside.
  3. Rub salmon filets with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, sprinkle with lemon zest, salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 8-10 minutes. 
  4. Make the vinaigrette for the salad by mixing some lemon zest, white wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper in a large bowl. Toss the cooked quinoa and broccoli with the vinaigrette. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 
  5. Plate the salmon and salad by placing a large serving of the quinoa and broccoli salad on the plate, top with the salmon and add some sliced tomatoes for color.

Dawn Sanborn is a foodie and professional photographer and believes that healthy eating is the only way to live.

Learn How to Cook

Check out the fall cooking class/event schedule at Rochester Hy-Vee stores. Here are a few of the events coming up in September:

September 14, 6-7 p.m., DISH – Dinner is Solved, Hy-Vee Barlow Plaza 

In less than two hours you can create entrees to prepare home cooked meals for your family. Register on

September 15, 6-7:30 p.m., DISH – Dinner is Solved, Hy-Vee Crossroads

In less than two hours you can create entrees to prepare home cooked meals for your family. Register on
September 22, 3:30–6 p.m., Gluten-Free Gala Appetizers and Dips, Hy-Vee Crossroads

Join your Hy-Vee South Dietitian Jess, Cheese Specialist Karen and HealthMarket Team for an appetizer and dip themed Gluten-Free Gala.

September 24, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., Vegetarian Sampling Event, Hy-Vee 37th Street

 Join Hy-Vee Dietitian Kelly Melhorn for free samples of vegetarian foods.