Foods For Great Brain Function
If brain fog or lack of concentration bothers you daily, it might be due to your diet. Certain foods may disrupt brain function while others are great for improving memory, concentration, and even mood. Research indicates certain nutrients may also help keep cognitive function intact as you age by reducing the risk of neurodegenerative diseases. Whether you are looking to get rid of the after-lunch brain fog at the office or your goal is to reduce your risk of one day developing Alzheimer’s disease, here are ten foods to get you there.
Have you ever noticed how some foods containing gluten make you feel tired and sluggish after eating them? For many people, gluten causes inflammation that can affect concentration levels and put you in a major brain fog after eating. Aim for high-quality non-gluten whole grains instead. Oatmeal is a good source of soluble fiber to promote gut health, which is also referred to as the “second brain.” Brown rice is another great option for keeping you full without the fog.
Broccoli is high in several key nutrients aimed towards keeping your brain sharp. Vitamin K, choline, and vitamin C are all needed for keeping your memory and concentration levels going strong. One cup of broccoli provides you with one hundred and fifty percent of your recommended daily value of vitamin C, which converts to an antioxidant in the body to fight disease and inflammation. Enjoy raw broccoli with hummus as a snack or steamed broccoli at dinner with wild salmon and brown rice.
Wild-caught salmon and other oily fish are high in omega 3 fatty acids, which are essential for improving brain function. Omega 3 fatty acids are full of anti-inflammatory properties that reduce the chronic inflammation responsible for brain fog and impaired memory. They have also been linked to better behavior and improved concentration levels in children with attention deficit disorders or hyperactivity. Aim for two to three servings of four ounces per week of wild-caught salmon. Stay away from farm-raised, which often contain added chemicals and food colorings.
Turmeric is an Indian spice proven to improve your brain’s oxygen levels. Curcumin is the active ingredient responsible for being one of the most powerful antioxidants in the world by fiercely combating inflammation. Research shows it is just as effective as the prescription drug Prozac at treating depression. Taking turmeric in supplement form is the best way to ensure you get enough. Look for a brand with ninety-five percent curcuminoids and added black pepper, which is needed for absorption.
Coconut oil is the king of good fats needed to fuel the brain. It also contains anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antiviral properties to suppress inflammation-causing cells. Coconut oil has been shown to improve memory in aging adults and can even destroy harmful gut bacteria, which is an important part of keeping the brain healthy as the two are greatly connected. Swap out your vegetable cooking oil for coconut oil or add some to your favorite baked goods.
Not many foods in the world have a higher antioxidant count than blueberries. They are full of vitamin K, vitamin C, and fiber, all of which are needed for great brain function and blood flow. They also contain large amounts of gallic acid, which is needed to protect our brains from neurodegenerative diseases in the future. Add a handful to your morning smoothie or eat them fresh as a snack along with some nuts or seeds.
Nuts And Seeds
In addition to being a great source of monounsaturated fatty acids, nuts and seeds are high in the antioxidant vitamin E, which is linked to less cognitive decline in aging adults. Vitamin E improves concentration by naturally detoxing the body of inflammation and free radicals that cause disruption in many areas, including concentration and memory abilities. Aim for an ounce per day of almonds, walnuts, Brazil nuts, cashews, and sunflower, pumpkin, flax, and sesame seeds.
Avocados are high in the right type of fats needed to improve brain function. Monounsaturated fats help improve blood flow to the brain and avocados are full of them. Avocados have also been shown to reduce the risk of hypertension and stabilize blood sugar levels, both of which put you at a higher risk for cognitive decline later in life. Add one-half of a chopped avocado to your daily salad at lunch and stay away from the gluten to eliminate brain fog.
Beans are high in fiber and are great for stabilizing blood sugar levels, which is absolutely essential for improving brain function. The brain depends on glucose for fuel, but too much or too little is counterproductive. Since the brain cannot store glucose, it relies on a steady stream of glucose to give it the proper amount of fuel for optimal functioning. Beans, such as lentils and black beans, control the flow of glucose to the brain.
Fresh Brewed Tea
Caffeine is a great way to help improve brain function almost immediately. Choose black tea or green tea, which has a modest amount of caffeine to perk you up. Tea also contains antioxidants called catechins to fight inflammation, increase blood flow, and even improve mood. Avoid adding any sugar to your tea as this may cause a spike in blood sugar levels. Two to three cups per day should be your limit to improve concentration without keeping you up at night.