Connect with us

Uncategorized

Top 12 Brain Fuel Foods To Boost Memory And Concentration

Published

on

best-foods-brain-memory-on-pink

A healthy brain is central to the health of your whole body. 

But, we generally don’t even think about our brain and its health until we see the effects of its decline. 

Your brain, like your heart, lungs, or any other major organ, relies on needed nutrients for both proper functioning and to fight the natural decline that happens with age. 

Ever heard of the age-old saying “You are what you eat?” Well, that saying greatly applies to your brain, and thus your ability to learn, your thought processes, your memory, and your ability to focus as well. 

So, what foods can you incorporate to get the most brain-boosting bang for your buck? 

Let’s look at the top 12…

1- Berries

Berries contain antioxidants and deliver what are known as anthocyanins. 

Anthocyanins are plant compounds that contain both antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. 

Some of the antioxidants in blueberries, specifically, can accumulate in your brain, improving how your brain cells communicate with one another. 

  • blueberries
  • strawberries
  • raspberries
  • blackberries
  • mulberries
  • black currants

These all contain antioxidants that can increase plasticity which boosts memory and learning by helping brain cells form new connections. 

As antioxidants work to prevent damage in your body from free radicals, berries (loaded with antioxidants) combat this damage in the cells of your brain to improve learning and prevent decline. 

Research also shows that the flavonoids in berries are responsible for memory improvement, and consuming just two or more servings of berries per week delayed memory decline in women by two and a half years. 

2- Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate, due to its cacao content, also contains antioxidant-rich flavonoids. 

As we mentioned above, antioxidants benefit your body by protecting your cells against oxidative stress, damage that is done by free radicals.

Your brain is especially sensitive to oxidative stress which causes mental decline as you age, making foods high in antioxidants, like dark chocolate, an important part of your diet.

Cacao flavonoids have been observed in studies to facilitate the growth of blood vessels and cells within the brain involved in both learning and memory. 

And, in studies done on snails, these flavonoids showed a reversal in memory problems.  

3- Fatty Fish

This type of fish could easily make the top of the list when it comes to brain boosting foods! 

  • salmon
  • mackerel
  • sardines
  • trout
  • tuna 
  • herring

Each of these kinds of fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids, the exact kind of fat that makes up nearly 60% of your brain. 

Omega-3s help to build membranes of brain cells. They have been shown to increase needed blow flow to the brain, and they are proven to be essential for both learning and memory. 

Fatty acids found in these types of fish have even been shown as a potential aid in preventing Alzheimer’s disease, as they slow cognitive decline associated with the natural process of aging. 

4- Coffee

One of the most consumed, and loved, beverages in the world, coffee contains so many benefits to your health! (minus the unhealthy additions like sugars, syrups, and some milk of course)

Its antioxidant content is off the charts, making it a powerful superfood…or drink. 

Drinking 3-5 cups of coffee daily has been shown to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 65%. 

The caffeine content of coffee is helpful to your brain, keeping you alert by blocking the chemicals that make you feel tired. 

Drinking coffee in the morning, or even throughout the day has shown to improve concentration effectively when performing tasks. 

Some studies have found that the caffeine in your coffee may even raise your brain’s capacity for processing information, increasing complex and variable brain activity.  

5- Eggs

You know the jingle, “the incredible, edible egg.” Well, just how incredible is this wonderful edible in regards to brain function?

First, eggs are high in vitamins B6 and B12, as well as folate, all of which are linked to delaying mental decline and even preventing brain shrinkage. 

Eggs also contain choline which aids in your body’s production of a neurotransmitter that regulates memory. 

6- Nuts & Seeds

Like the fatty fish that we mentioned earlier, many kinds of nuts and seeds contain brain-benefiting omega-3s. And, they are also high in antioxidants which can fight oxidative stress that occurs within the body. 

The omega-3 and antioxidant content found in most nuts and seeds combine to protect against cognitive decline that occurs with aging as brain cells are protected from free radical damage. 

Some seeds, pumpkin in particular, contain high levels of zinc which is needed for nerve signaling within the brain, and magnesium which is essential for learning and memory. 

Many nuts also contain high levels of vitamin E, a needful antioxidant known for improving brain function and preventing mental decline. 

Consider adding these seeds and nuts to your diet to boost the health of your brain:

  • sunflower seeds
  • pumpkin seeds
  • hazelnuts
  • almonds
  • walnuts 

7- Broccoli

Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables such as those listed below all contain glucosinolates. 

  • bok choy
  • Brussels sprouts
  • cauliflower 
  • cabbage 
  • turnips

And, as your body breaks down these glucosinolates, isothiocyanates are produced to combat and reduce oxidative stress. 

This type of interaction within the body, reducing oxidative stress, is thought to lower a person’s risk of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, and Parkinson’s diseases as well as other memory disorders. 

The vitamin C content found in these vegetables can also protect lost memory as you age. 

8- Avocados

Avocados uniquely help your brain by their ability to lower blood pressure. 

While high blood pressure is often associated primarily with detriments to your heart, it can also lead to mental decline. 

Both high blood pressure and a high bad cholesterol level can cause a buildup of plaque in your arteries, hindering blood flow. 

And, limiting blood flow to the brain can not only lead to things like strokes, but this can also lead to dementia, early brain aging, Alzheimer’s, and overall problems with thinking. 

9- Turmeric

The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, a compound with both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. 

What’s special about curcumin though regarding brain health is that it can cross the blood-brain barrier, allowing it to directly enter and provide needed benefit to your brain’s cells.

Curcumin has been found to improve memory, delay cognitive decline brought on by aging, and even boost the growth hormone responsible for brain cell growth.  

10- Whole Grains

Whole grains, like those listed below, are a great source of vitamin E. 

  • whole grain pasta
  • whole grain bread
  • oatmeal 
  • barley 
  • bulgur wheat
  • brown rice

Vitamin E has been linked to slowing Alzheimer’s disease, benefiting both memory and overall brain function. 

Like avocados, whole grains also help brain function by promoting healthy blood pressure and thus a healthy flow of blood to the brain. 

11- Green Tea

Green tea has been linked specifically with improved memory. 

Its antioxidant levels combat the nasty damage caused by free radicals that we’ve mentioned in several points already in this article. 

And, the caffeine content, though not as high as the amounts in coffee, can improve memory, increase concentration, and make you more alert. 

Green tea also contains an amino acid that is known to increase the activity of neurotransmitters in the brain that help you feel relaxed, aiding in sleep (a crucial need in keeping your brain functioning optimally). 

12- Oranges

While I wouldn’t advise reaching for candies and cookies as a source, sugar is needed by your brain for fuel. 

Actually, not just sugar, but glucose…which is why your body prefers oranges to Snickers when it comes to brain function. 

Too much sugar, as is the case with that candy bar, can impair memory. 

But, your brain does use the carbs and sugars you eat to make and utilize glucose, thereby making an orange or a small glass of orange juice, a great boost to your short-term memory, learning processes, and overall cognitive abilities. 

Oranges are also a rich source of vitamin C, a proven need in preventing overall and age-related cognitive decline. 

Oddball Food Reverses Memory Loss

Oddball or not, researchers say this food with a nutty flavor

reverses memory loss and protects against dementia.

alzheimers and itching

This oddball food reverses memory loss >>

References:

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Uncategorized

Afternoon Naps Found to Improve Mental Acuity

Published

on

beautiful-brunette-young-woman-sleeping-on

Remember those days as a child when afternoon nap time would roll around and you fought tooth and nail to avoid this downtime?

I mean, come on, who wanted to take a nap? We were kids! We had forts to build, Barbies that needed to be put on fashion shows, bikes to ride, trees to climb, and hey, those tea parties weren’t going to happen all on their own, right?!

Ah, but now, as an adult…

Raise your hand if you miss afternoon nap time. Look at that, it’s like the whole world just did ‘the wave.’ Hands raised for miles! 😉

And, why do most of us miss nap time? I’d say it’s because not many of us are immune to these sentiments that arrive roughly mid-afternoon:

  • My brain is fried.
  • I need a pick-me-up.
  • I just need some coffee (for energy and mental clarity).
  • Is it 5:00 yet, I just can’t think any longer! 

Well, not only are you not alone in those feelings, science actually confirms the benefit of a mental recharge come midafternoon in the form of…you guessed it…a NAP! (Maybe Mom was right, or maybe she just needed a break, but I digress.) 

So, while you may feel like your afternoon coffee break is the only thing that will free your mind so your work will productively follow, the childhood practice of an afternoon nap may actually be what the doctor ordered! 

Nap Stats

Sleep is said to be just as crucial to your health and wellness as eating, drinking, and even breathing! 

Sleep can help manage inflammatory responses within the body in regards to both disease and cell damage. 

While you sleep, your body repairs itself and processes information. 

But, you don’t need an entire night of sleep to reap some of these benefits! 

Afternoon naps have been linked to:

  • Boosted memory
  • Improvement in job performance
  • Increased levels of alertness
  • Improved mood
  • Reduced stress
  • Improved consistency (task-related)
  • Boosted creativity
  • Greater problem-solving capabilities

Some companies have realized the brain-boosting (and thus profit-boosting) power of an afternoon nap and have implemented time for employees to do so as the practice has proven to save money and result in a happier and more productive workforce. 

A 15-20 minute nap, also known as a power nap, is most associated with an increase in both alertness and cognitive function. 

Extending your nap to 30 minutes (and up to an hour) has been shown to increase problem-solving skills and creativity. 

And, a longer nap (roughly 90 minutes) is recognized as a full sleep cycle. 

Most research suggests this length of napping time also boosts brain function, alertness, and creativity. Though some say in elderly people, a 90-minute nap may be too much, potentially having the opposite effect on cognitive function. 

Nap Studies

Recent research conducted in China involved the study of 2,214 people (each over the age of 60 in this particular study). 

The participants were studied in regards to their napping habits and were given a series of tests measuring various types of cognitive ability (in particular here: focus and problem solving). 

The results? Those individuals who claimed to regularly take afternoon naps received much higher scores in their cognitive performance abilities than those who did not nap. 

The areas where such afternoon napping seemed to provide the most benefit in this study were locational awareness, verbal fluency, and working memory.  

And, while there have been a few studies yielding results opposite to this one, the findings in the above listed study are consistent with many others, showing improved cognitive performance to be a result of midday napping. 

Sleep aids in your body’s ability to store memories, making your afternoon nap helpful in remembering tasks you performed earlier in the day. Some studies show that a nap can aid in this type of memory functioning as much as a full night of sleep. 

One study found that napping helped the brain to “draw connections,” (referring to brain connections) which is what makes it easier for a person to piece together information they’ve been given at earlier moments in the day. 

And, in other studies, nappers saw a great benefit in “associative memory” and even experienced boosts in their overall capacity for learning. 

But, what if you’re not sleepy?

According to a review in the Journal of Sleep Research, naps even benefit the well-rested, improving reaction time, logical reasoning, and symbol recognition. 

Nap Specifics

So, how long should you nap? 

  • Even though there are brain-boosting benefits to be had with naps lasting upwards to 90 minutes, the experts advise keeping naps at 30 minutes or less, ideally between 10 and 20 minutes. 
  • Even a 10-minute nap can prove beneficial when it comes to improving mental sharpness. 
  • Frequent naps lasting longer than 60 minutes can potentially cause nighttime insomnia. 

When should you nap? 

  • Try to get in your short afternoon snooze prior to 3 pm. Napping after this time could possibly interfere with your nighttime sleep schedule. 

Where/how should you nap? 

  • A dark, quiet room is best for your afternoon nap, complete with comfortable temps and no distractions. 
  • Some recommend ear plugs, an eye mask, and a blanket to aid in comfort and help the body quickly fall asleep (as some may struggle to fall asleep in the middle of the day). 

Anything else? 

  • Getting some fresh air after a nap is advised to avoid feelings of grogginess. 

Sleeping in THIS position is linked to Alzheimer’s

Though bizarre, Harvard researchers have discovered a shocking link between your sleep and the onset of Alzheimer’s.

The big question is — do you sleep on your side or on your back?

Further research shows, ONE of these positions is linked to the first signs of dementia.

Sleeping In THIS Position Is Linked To Alzheimer’s >>

References:

Continue Reading

Trending