9 Brain-Boosting Foods for Back-to-School Meals (Slideshow)

Cook with these nine ingredients for improved brain function

Avocado

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Avocados are a good source of the antioxidant vitamin E, which helps protect the brain from free radical damage. Use guacamole as a topping for burgers or sandwiches and try adding cubes of avocado to fruit salad in your kid’s lunch box.

Coconut Oil

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Coconut oil, which is found in the meat of the coconut, is being studied as a possible treatment for Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Try using coconut oil in your baking or add fresh coconut meat to breakfast smoothies.

Blueberries

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Dark berries are good for the brain and improve memory, learning, and cognitive function. Add fresh blueberries to cereal in the morning or cook them down in a pan to make a sweet glaze for grilled chicken.

Broccoli

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Broccoli is full of nutrients and may help remove heavy metals from the body — metals that can damage your brain. Add broccoli to stir-fry dishes or try roasting it in the oven with a drizzle of olive oil for an easy and delicious brain-boosting meal.

Nuts

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Several nuts are also a good source of free-radical-fighting Vitamin E. Pulse nuts in a food processor with basil, garlic, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and olive oil to make pesto for pasta, or grind the nuts even more until they form a rich, creamy nut butter.

Quinoa

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Quinoa is a healthy way to get your brain the glucose it needs to perform its best. Use quinoa in place of rice when you’re cooking dinner or try it with milk and honey at breakfast time instead of oatmeal.

Red Cabbage

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This crunchy vegetable is rich in polyphenol, an antioxidant that’s good for your brain. Shred cabbage and use it instead of lettuce on your next taco dinner night (added bonus: it's also more authentically Mexican).

Rosemary

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Both memory and cognitive function have been shown to benefit from rosemary. One of the easiest ways to use rosemary is to chop it and sprinkle it over potatoes when you’re roasting them in the oven. Rosemary is also delicious with caramel; try adding a pinch (ground) to sundae sauce at dessert time.

Sunflower Seeds

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Sunflower seeds are rich in nutrients and contain tryptophan, a mood-boosting compound that also combats depression. Try sprinkling sunflower seeds on yogurt parfaits for extra flavor and nutrition.