We could all do with a little mental sharpening, am I right? There are days where we just don’t feel as awake and alert as usual, like we’re walking around in a fog.
The good news is, there are ways to help banish the brain fog – and all we have to do is eat, drink, and enjoy the benefits!
No surprise here; a cup of coffee can provide a quick and effective jolt to wake up the brain. One 8 oz cup of coffee contains 75-100 mg of caffeine on average. According to the Mayo Clinic, up to 400 milligrams of caffeine per day appears to be safe for healthy adults.
That’s no more than 4-5 cups of coffee per day. If we consume more than 400 mg of caffeine daily, symptoms can range from insomnia to irritability. Upset stomach, muscle tremors, and elevated heart rate can also occur, so enjoy your cups of Joe in moderation.
Speaking of coffee, starting your day with a healthy breakfast sets up your brain for success. Do your brain (and blood sugar a favor) and trade in the packaged pastry for this Smoked Bacon and Asparagus Popover!
Truly one of the most super of the super-foods, avocados offer countless health benefits. Their good fats fuel both brain and body, and their high fiber content keeps blood sugar more stable over time. The folate and vitamin K in avocados improve blood flow, preventing blood clots in the brain. This protects against stroke, as well as, improves memory and cognitive performance.
Do you have scarring childhood memories of your mom or grandma forcing you to eat beets? Well don’t be afraid, there is hope; beets can be delicious and their brain-healthy benefits make them worth another try. They are high in antioxidants and help to reduce inflammation. Beets also improve blood flow and can help increase energy levels.
The antioxidant component of cocoa has been found to battle free radicals, reducing cell and tissue damage. Research has suggested that cocoa’s flavanols (phytonutrients with antioxidant properties) contribute to maintaining a healthy brain and can positively affect learning and memory functions. Findings have also found that cocoa-based products enhance the flow of blood to the brain. Not to mention, cocoa possesses mood-enhancing properties and is rich in minerals such as iron, magnesium, calcium, zinc, and potassium.
Leafy, Green Vegetables
Research has shown that eating veggies like romaine lettuce, kale, and Swiss chard on a regular basis can help reduce risk for dementia. In one study, adults experienced slower mental deterioration after eating one to two servings of leafy, green vegetables every day versus those who ate no vegetables. The study even included other variables like age, family history, and other risk factors. The major benefits are due to vitamins A and K that fight inflammation.
Packed with omega-3 fatty acids, salmon is a true brain food! These fatty acids keep your brain running in tip-top shape, improving cognition, memory, and focus. These same fatty acids also help prevent the development of cancer cells and have even been shown to kill them. Be cautious of the type of salmon you purchase. The above benefits can be found in Alaskan wild-caught salmon. Benefits decrease and potential health dangers increase when you choose farm-raised varieties.
The high levels of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals in walnuts improve focus, alertness, and provide a boost of energy. The vitamin E found in walnuts has also been shown to decrease risk for Alzheimer’s dementia. Enjoy a handful of walnuts as an afternoon snack, or add walnut butter to your favorite cookie recipe.
Enjoy not only these delicious foods, but better concentration and brain power – focus on that!