Are you having one of those days when you just can’t concentrate? You could go outside and take a walk, exercise, or move your workstation somewhere else to get your brain back on track. But, not all of us have those luxuries.
We do, however, have to eat at some point in the day - because both were hungry and it’s a requirement. And, that’s the perfect time to strengthen your cognitive powers.
Instead of visiting the vending machine, again, brown bag your lunch or bring-in the following seven superfoods that can help your brain tick throughout the day.
Steven Pratt, MD, author of Superfoods Rx: Fourteen Foods Proven to Change Your Life actually calls blueberries ‘brainberries’ on WebMD since he has found that they can “help protect the brain from oxidative stress and may reduce the effects of age-related conditions such as Alzheimer's disease or dementia.”
Research from Reading University has discovered that children who consumed blueberries, around a cup and half, helped improve their memory and concentration.
The yolks found in eggs contain choline. This is B vitamin-like nutrient is used to make acetylcholine - which is a neurotransmitter that can help maintain memory and communication among brain cells. Eggs are also packed full of protein which plays a major part in neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and norepinephrine. Overall, this food can help you feel more energized and alert.
The downside with eggs is that they’re high in cholesterol, so make sure that you limit the intake of other foods that have high cholesterol or stick with egg whites when eating breakfast. Many studies are now suggesting that eggs may be one of our most important foods and that the cholesterol in eggs may actually be good for you.
I’m personally a huge fan of avocados. Not only do I think that they’re delicious - either as guacamole, plain out of the shell, or as a spread on a sandwich - avocados are one of the best superfoods you can enjoy. Avocados contain monounsaturated fat, which increases blood flow. With an increase in blood flow, you’re preventing potential concerns like stroke or hypertension, as well as increasing your brainpower with functions like planning and critical thinking.
There have been numerous studies that have discussed the overall health benefits of snacking on nuts. However, when it comes to brainpower, the walnut has been found to be the top choice. Research conducted by Dr. Lenore Arab at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles discovered that consuming just a handful of walnuts per day can improve memory, concentration, and cognitive health thanks to being a significant source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) - which is a plant-based omega-3 fatty acid.
5. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate, and not milk chocolate, has several benefits like relieving stress, curbing food cravings, improving your mood, and protecting you from free radical damage. Dark chocolate, which is full of flavonoids and a little bit of caffeine, can also increase learning, memory, and focus.
Even though dark chocolate contains a number of benefits, don’t use that as an excuse to eat blocks of cocoa everyday. Stick with smaller portions.
Did you know that 60% of the human brain is composed of fatty acids? More than two-thirds of the brain’s fatty acids are docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). We can’t make this fatty acid and must obtain it from our diets. And, that’s where an oily fish like Salmon comes into play.
Salmon has the power to boost our memories, improve mental performance, and support behavioral function. In the long run, Salmon may also be able to reduce Alzheimer’s disease.
7. Kale, Spinach, and Other Cruciferous Veggies
These green, leafy vegetables - such as kale, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage, and bok choy - are full of phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals, and fiber that can potentially reduce the risk of cancer, oxidative stress, and offer protection against cardiovascular disease.
Since these veggies also contain essential brain vitamins like folic acid, B6, and B12, they’re also able to improve brain function and reduce both brain atrophy and brain shrinkage.