Do you find it hard to get through a day without a cup of caffeine on hand? Ginkgo biloba, ginseng, caffeine… there are a whole range of foods out there that are supposed to help us concentrate more. But really works?
Tiredness and an inability to concentrate can be a common problem, often remedied through improved lifestyle habits such as additional sleep, stress reduction and dietary changes. Certain foods and nutrients can be significant determinants of a person’s energy and cognitive (brain) function.
The good news is that you can increase your chances of maintaining a healthy brain — if you add “smart” foods and beverages to your diet.
Research in animals shows that blueberries may help protect the brain from the damage caused by free radicals and may reduce the effects of age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Studies also show that diets rich in blueberries significantly improved both the learning and muscle function of aging rats, making them mentally equivalent to much younger rats.
Nuts and seeds are good sources of the antioxidant vitamin E, which is associated with less cognitive decline as you age. Enjoy up to an ounce a date to provide all the benefits you need.
Dark chocolate also has other powerful antioxidant properties. And it contains natural stimulants like caffeine, which can enhance focus and concentration.
A protein source associated with a great brain boost is fish — rich in omega 3 fatty acids, essential for brain function and development. These healthy fats have amazing brain power: higher dietary omega 3 fatty acids are linked to lower dementia and stroke risks; slower mental decline; and may play a vital role in enhancing memory, especially as we get older.
For brain and heart health, eat two servings of fish weekly.
Every organ in the body depends on blood flow, especially the heart and brain. Eating a diet high in whole grains and fruits like avocados can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and lower bad cholesterol. This reduces your risk of plaque buildup and enhances blood flow, offering a simple, tasty way to fire up brain cells.
Whole grains, like popcorn and whole wheat, also contribute dietary fiber and vitamin E. Though avocados have fat, it’s the good-for-you, monounsaturated fat that contributes to healthy blood flow.