Modern diets, schedules, and stressors can leave you feeling drained, out of focus, and just really out of it after a long day.
While it’s true that you can eat, exercise, and restfully sleep your way to greater energy and focus, there are certain herbs, spices, and foods that can boost your levels of both and positively affect your cognitive wellness. Here are some that are worth exploring.
Good Ol’ Breakfast
There’s great truth to the saying that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. According to research, eating breakfast may enhance your short-term memory and attention, with breakfast-eating students tending to perform better than those who aren’t. If you don’t have a trusted breakfast list yet, some items to consider include whole grains, dairy, and fruits. While brain fueling, these shouldn’t be overeaten, as a high-calorie breakfast may cause the opposite and prevent concentration.
Popular in its essential oil form, peppermint is a beautiful hybrid of spearmint and watermint. Studies show that it may effectively boost energy and alertness, as well as mood and athletic performance. Inhaling peppermint essential oil is also deemed beneficial for improving your memory. While peppermint has a good safety profile, essential oils are still potent and may come with certain toxicity risks when overdone.
When it comes to supercharging energy and focus, fatty fish might as well be unrivaled on top. This type of fish, which includes salmon, sardines, and trout, is so rich in omega-3 fatty acids. With 60% of your brain made up of fat (and half of which is the omega-3 type), then there’s no reason not to consume fatty fish for this nutritional requirement. Now, what your brain does is use omega-3 fats to build brain and nerve cells, thus being instrumental or learning and memory. As an additional perk, omega-3s may help slow age-related brain decline and fight the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. But if you’re deficient, expect having a greater risk for learning impairment and depression.
Perhaps this is the most controversial for energy and focus on this list. Caffeine is a stimulant and may not be the right fit for everyone. While there’s no magic bullet for staying awake, a steaming cup of joe might as well be the next best thing. Found in coffee, chocolate, and energy drinks, caffeine offers that wake-up buzz you think will sustain you throughout the day. Note, though, that the effect is short-term; overdo it and you will risk getting jitters and an uncomfortable feeling.
This plant holds a wealth of potential benefits for brain enhancement from adults, as it’s found to be high in powerful plant compounds such as luteolin and rosmarinic acid. Its rich medicinal profile makes sage a natural mood enhancer, memory improver, and even attention retainer, both in healthy young and older adults. Note, too, that sage acts as an inhibitor of acetylcholinesterase, an enzyme that breaks down the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which plays a crucial role in cognitive function.
These berries aren’t deemed a superfood for nothing. Animal research reveals that they may have brain-protective properties, particularly against the damage caused by free radicals. Hence, they may reduce the nasty effects of age-related brain illnesses such as Alzheimer’s or dementia. With a blueberry-rich diet, older animal models had improved learning and muscle function, making them mentally equal to their much younger counterparts.
These favorite snacks contain potent antioxidants that protect both body and brain from free radical damage. They are also a reliable source of minerals namely magnesium, iron, zinc, and copper, each having a role to play in cognitive cognitive health. Zinc is important for nerve signaling, a factor in neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Magnesium, on the other hand, promotes learning and memory, while iron has to be at optimal levels or you have a higher risk for brain fog and impaired cognition. While the research still largely focuses on the micronutrients in it, pumpkin seeds are a wonderful everyday treat to munch on.
While these are easily accessible foods and herbs, it’s good to be realistic enough that the modern standard diet contains them in pitiful amounts. You have to consciously decide about making your own meals to get them to ideal levels.
If this is the case, supplementation may be key. Choose a high-quality brain enhancement supplement for this purpose but don’t forget to consult your health care provider if you’re taking medications or have an existing condition. The benefits should always come with safety.