Food is more than something to fill your stomach and satisfy hunger pains. Food is the fuel that feeds your body and keeps it functioning smoothly. It not only gives you the energy to get out of bed in the morning, but it keeps your most important asset — your brain — functioning properly. Your mental clarity, mood, memory, and ability to concentrate are all dependent on the fuel you put in your body. Simply put, a diet of doughnuts won’t keep you sharp and clear-minded.
If you find yourself forgetting your keys or struggling to keep up in work meetings, it may be time to ditch your current diet and replace it with brain-power foods that are proven to boost your memory and concentration.
Guacamole lovers now have an excuse to throw an extra dollop of the avocado-based topping on their burrito. Not only can avocados be paired with almost anything, but they’re one of the world’s healthiest fruits with a healthy fat content that keeps your blood sugar levels steady and your skin glowing. Avocados help improve overall cognitive function, specifically memory and concentration. They also contain vitamin K and folate, which protects you from stroke by preventing blood clots from forming in the brain.
2. Green tea
When mid-afternoon hits and your focus wavers, it may be time for a boost of caffeine. While coffee lovers may hit up the coffee pot, the addition of milk and sugar can quickly rack up your calorie intake. The caffeine in green tea is balanced by the presence of theanine, an amino acid found in the beverage. Studies show that theanine also improves mental focus and alertness. To top it off, green tea contains catechin, an active ingredient some studies show can amp up your metabolism and lead to a higher calorie burn.
3. Oily fish
Fatty acids are essential to the body’s function, but they must be obtained through food. The most effective omega-3 fatty acids come from oily fish like salmon, trout, mackerel, herring, and sardines. In addition to providing the body with omega-3s, fish is naturally full of docosahexaenoic acid, which can decrease your chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease and facing memory loss.
Not only are the tiny berries packed with an impressive number of antioxidants that protect against cancer, heart disease, and dementia, but blueberries can also boost concentration and memory for up to five hours. The natural antioxidants in blueberries improve brain function by stimulating the flow of blood and oxygen to your brain to keep the mind fresh and alert. Grab a handful for a snack or throw blueberries on top of your morning oatmeal.
5. Dark, leafy greens
When it comes to putting together a salad, opt for dark, leafy greens like kale, collard greens, spinach, and broccoli. Veggies like these are good sources of vitamin E and folate, which protect and strengthen your brain. Folate is proven to lower levels of homocysteine, an amino acid in the blood that triggers the death of nerve cells in the brain and has been linked to heart disease.
6. Nuts and chocolate
Keep your brain alert and prevent the loss of memory by indulging in this sweet treat of nuts and dark chocolate. Nuts and seeds are a great source of vitamin E, an antioxidant that several studies have linked to preventing against cognitive decline. Dark chocolate is also rich in antioxidants and has naturally occurring levels of caffeine, which enhances focus and concentration. Since nuts and chocolate are both high-fat, high-calorie foods, practice moderation by keeping your sweet snack to an ounce a day.