Your brain is a powerhouse organ with a huge job description. Doing what you can to support its health can likewise boost mental performance, including concentration and memory. Keeping your brain in tip top condition requires exercise, stress management, staying hydrated, and a diet rich in brain-supporting nutrients.
Check out these 10 brain foods that can help you clear the mental fog and enhance your performance.
Sharpen your brain with salmon
This fatty fish is high in DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acids, which have been found to offer an array of neuroprotective properties, including anti-inflammatory effects that protect healthy brain cells. Research has shown that DHA can be helpful in preventing dementia, while evidence suggests EPA is particularly useful in improving cognitive performance.
Eating salmon at least two times per week can help you reap the brain benefits of omega-3s. Try this Sesame Seed Crusted Salmon recipe for a delicious weeknight meal.
Boost your memory with eggs
Packed with protein, vitamins, choline, and lutein, eggs can play a big role in brain development—a great reason to get cracking. Choline aids neurotransmitter synthesis, meaning eggs can help your brain’s neurons better communicate. Research has shown that consumption of egg yolks helped boost memory performance, as well as attention span in children. Further, evidence suggests that the lutein content in eggs may help prevent age-related cognitive decline.
Feel the love of blueberries
Whether it’s in the form of whole berries, juices, or extracts, blueberries have shown a wide array of cognitive benefits. These benefits are tied largely to its anthocyanin content, a flavonoid offering antioxidative and antimicrobial properties. Research has shown that consuming blueberries on a regular basis can improve brain function, including learning and memory abilities.
Add broccoli to your day
Broccoli, among other leafy greens, is rich in vitamin K, lutein, folate, and beta carotene, nutrients that are great for brain health. Studies suggest that one serving of leafy greens, like broccoli, every day can help put the brakes on cognitive decline associated with aging. Broccoli has also been shown to offer potential improvements in learning and memory impairments.
Need a brain boosting study snack? Try this Raw Broccoli, Cauliflower, and Blueberry “Caviar”.
Get sweet on oranges
Oranges are high in vitamin C, a crucial antioxidant for the brain. Vitamin C deficiency has been linked to a reduced number of neurons, a smaller hippocampus—the area of the brain associated with memory and learning—as well as increased risk of age-related cognitive decline. Research suggests that daily consumption of oranges can help protect your cognitive function.
Fire up your neurons with avocados
Rich in healthy fats, your brain loves avocados. The monounsaturated fat in avocados can help improve blood flow, which is important for oxygen circulation to the brain, keeping your neurons firing and healthy.
Avocados are also a source of lutein, which has been shown to improve memory and problem-solving efficiency. Including avocados in your diet is recommended to protect cognitive health, and there are so many creative and delicious ways to add avocados to your day. For example, an Avocado and Salmon Cocktail can offer a double hit of powerful brain food to your lunch.
Spice things up with turmeric
Adding this vibrantly colored spice to your cooking and teas can boost not only flavor, but your brain function as well. Turmeric’s active ingredient is curcumin, a chemical associated with reduction of inflammation and improvement in memory and thinking abilities. Research has shown that including turmeric in your diet can help enhance learning and memory in the face of impairments.
Go nuts, eat some walnut
A source of protein and healthy fats, nuts make a great snack, and walnuts may be a variety you particularly want to add to your regular rotation. Walnuts are high in the omega 3 fatty acid ALA and vitamin E, both of which have been shown to prevent cognitive decline. Research also suggests that inclusion of walnuts in your diet could help to avoid and delay the onset, and even slow the progression, of Alzheimer\’s Disease.
Sip on some green tea
Aside from its attention-boosting caffeine content, green tea is rich in polyphenols that offer antioxidant effects. Among these polyphenols is Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a powerful compound credited with protecting against neurodegenerative diseases and boosting cognitive function.
Green tea also boasts an amino acid called l-theanine, which has anti-inflammatory and antioxidants effects. L-theanine has also been shown to boost concentration and attention while reducing anxiety, meaning a cup of green tea can make for a great study or work companion.
Indulge in a little dark chocolate
Sugar has been demonstrated to enhance alertness, but dark chocolate also offers other mind-boosting properties, including antioxidants to support brain health and caffeine to improve focus. Research also shows that 70 percent dark chocolate can improve memory two hours after consumption—a great reason to allow yourself this sweet treat.