Back to School Brain Boosting Foods

Dr. Shawn Talbott (Ph.D., CNS, LDN, FACSM, FACN, FAIS) has gone from triathlon struggler to gut-brain guru! With a Ph.D. in Nutritional Biochemistry, he's on a mission to boost everyday human performance through the power of natural solutions and the gut-brain axis.

My monthly nutrition segment on KUTV’s Fresh Living focused on healthy foods for boosting brain function in these “back to school” weeks…

The brain basically needs 3 things to function at it’s best:

  • Healthy nerve cells (neurons)
  • Healthy carbs and glucose control
  • Healthy blood flow

Make sure you have meals and snacks that deliver specific nutrients such as:

  • Omega-3’s – brain cell growth
  • Flavonoids – blood flow and neurotransmitter balance
  • Slow carbs and Fiber – blood sugar control


  • Rainbow Omelette with Omega3 cage-free Eggs (choline and lutein), Brightly colored veggies (red tomatoes, green/yellow peppers)
  • Whole grain toast (fiber)
  • Oatmeal (“slow-carbs” with fiber and B-vitamins)
  • Berries (flavonoids)
  • Scoop of whey protein (blood sugar control)
  • Splash of half & half (blood sugar control)


  • PB & Banana sandwich (Not Pizza!) with Nut Butter (vitamin E), Banana (fiber – blood sugar), Whole grain bread (fiber)
  • Tuna sandwich with Tuna in oil (omega-3, protein), small amount of mayo with Sriracha, Turmeric (anti-Alzheimers and anti-diabetes)


  • Salmon (omega 3s and astaxanthin) – cooked in Malaysian Red palm oil, sweet potatoes (amylopectin and beta-carotene) and Kale (or any other green – for fiber and B-vitamins)
  • Beef and Bean Burrito with Beef (zinc, iron, B12), Black Beans (fiber, polyphenols, B-vitamins), Guacamole (monounsaturated fats) and Salsa (lycopene)


  • Nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews, peanuts)
  • Dried blueberries
  • Dark chocolate pieces
  • Berries

Brain Boosting Smoothie

  • 1 cup milk (or coconut/almond)
  • handful frozen berries
  • 1 scoop protein powder (whey)
  • 100mg Suntheanine (L-theanine)
  • 50mg Enzogenol (NZ pine bark extract)
About the Author

Exercise physiologist (MS, UMass Amherst) and Nutritional Biochemist (PhD, Rutgers) who studies how lifestyle influences our biochemistry, psychology and behavior - which kind of makes me a "Psycho-Nutritionist"?!?!

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