8 foods to beat chemo-brain

Can this Indian spice help boost brain power?

Are you struggling with chemo-brain post treatment? Did you know that new research on so-called “brain foods” show that some chemicals in the foods we eat go right to our brain cells. So can we treat chemo-brain by eating certain foods? 


Pamela Harding believes we can. “ Although no one “miracle” food is going to boost your brain power instantly, it seems that regularly adding certain foods to your diet will help you function at your personal best, both physically and mentally, throughout your lifetime. ” writes Harding. Here is a list of foods she believes may help us boost our brain power.  

1. Berries  

Berries are full of memory-boosting nutrients. Research has shown that beneficial chemicals called ellagatannis in raspberries, strawberries and blueberries are also found right in the hippocampus, the brain’s memory control center.   

2. Cherries  

Cherries are nature’s own little anti-inflammatory pills. They contain Cox 2 inhibitors similar to those found in some pain medications, but they also contain compounds called polyphenols that keep platelets in the blood from clumping together, so they don’t produce undesirable side effects— like heart attacks and strokes—which are risks associated with the manufactured drugs.  

3. Apples  

Apples contain a group of chemicals that could protect the brain from the type of damage that triggers neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Studies also suggest that eating apples not only may help reduce the risk of cancer, but diminish the risk of neurodegenerative disorders too.  

4. Turmeric  

Turmeric, the yellow spice found in many curries, contains curcumin, which also has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.  In a study, elderly people who ate curry often or very often did better on tests of mental performance than those who never or rarely ate curry.  

5. Eggs  

While the egg has gotten bad press because of its cholesterol-rich yoke and the associations between dietary cholesterol and heart disease, it does contain one of the most important nutrients for building better brains: choline. Getting adequate amounts of choline, especially early in life—during fetal development and early childhood—may help us learn more readily and also help us retain what we learn. What’s more, sufficient choline intake early on may give us the mental building blocks we need to help keep memory intact as we age.  

6. Oily fish  

Oil fish like sardines contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are thought to be instrumental in maintaining brain function from early development throughout life. DHA, an omega-3, is present right in the brain, so having those good-for-you omega-3s in your diet is thought to boost brain function. In addition, components of fatty acids in fish go straight to the synapses of nerve cells, so they play an important role in how neurons communicate with one another, which may have a positive affect throughout life on learning and memory.  

7. Oysters  

The oyster is rich in iron and zinc.  A lot of research has linked decreased iron and zinc levels with poorer mental performance in children, but newer studies on adults suggest these elements help keep grown-ups’ minds sharp as well. In those studies, marginally low iron reserves reduced adults’ ability to concentrate, and lower levels of zinc slowed test participants’ ability to recall words   

8. Cocoa  

Several studies have shown that eating flavonol-rich cocoa can improve blood vessel function, boosting circulation throughout the body and blood flow to the brain. The beneficial compounds found in cocoa may even reduce the formation of damaging clots, which may cause heart attacks and strokes. However, while cocoa, the ingredient that carries “chocolate” flavor, is rich in beneficial compounds, it’s often combined with high-fat ingredients in chocolate bars and other desserts, so it’s best to keep chocolate treats to a healthy minimum.