The 7 Best Brain-Boosting Foods

african american man sitting with a cup of coffee on the counter(BlackDoctor.org) – There’s an amazing amount of buzz out there about the best ways to sharpen focus and concentration and to enhance memory, attention span, and brain function.

But what really works? There’s no denying that as we age chronologically, our body ages right along with us. The good news is that you can increase your brain’s ability to continue functioning as efficiently as ever.

Brain Boosters To Try:

Caffeine
There’s no magic bullet to boost IQ or make you smarter — but certain substances, like caffeine, can energize and help you focus and concentrate. Found in coffee, chocolate, energy drinks, and some medications, caffeine gives you that unmistakable wake-up buzz — though the effects are short term. And more is often less: Overdo it on caffeine and it can make you jittery and uncomfortable.

Sugar
Sugar is your brain’s preferred fuel source — not table sugar, but glucose, which your body metabolizes from the sugars and carbohydrates you eat. That’s why a glass of something sweet to drink can offer a short-term boost to memory, thinking processes, and mental ability.

Consume too much, however, and memory can be impaired — along with the rest of you. Go easy on the sugar so it can enhance memory, without packing on the pounds.

Breakfast
Tempted to skip breakfast? Studies have found that eating breakfast may improve short-term memory and attention. Students who eat breakfast tend to perform significantly better than those who don’t. Foods at the top of researchers’ brain fuel list include high-fiber whole grains, dairy, and fruits. Just don’t overeat; researchers also found high-calorie breakfasts appear to hinder concentration.

Fish
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.

Nuts & Chocolate
Nuts and seeds are good sources of the antioxidant vitamin E, which is associated with less cognitive decline as you age. Dark chocolate also has other powerful antioxidant properties. And it contains natural stimulants like caffeine, which can enhance focus and concentration.

Enjoy up to an ounce a day of nuts and dark chocolate to provide all the benefits you need without excess calories, fat, or sugar.

Avocado & Whole Grains
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.

Blueberries
Research in animals shows that blueberries help protect the brain from oxidative stress 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 capacity and motor skills of aging rats, making them mentally equivalent to much younger rats.

A Balanced Diet
It may sound trite but it’s true: If your diet lacks essential nutrients, it can decrease your ability to concentrate. Eating too much or too little can also interfere with your ability to focus. A heavy meal may make you feel lethargic, while too few calories can result in distracting hunger pangs.

Benefit your brain: Strive for a well-balanced diet full of a wide variety of healthy, wholesome foods.

Vitamins, Minerals & Supplements
Store shelves groan with supplements claiming to boost health. Although many of the reports on the brain-boosting power of supplements like vitamins B, C, E, beta-carotene, and magnesium are promising, a supplement is only useful to people whose diets are lacking in that specific nutrient.

Researchers are cautiously optimistic about ginseng, ginkgo, and vitamin, mineral, and herb combinations and their impact on the brain.

Check with your doctor before incorporating any supplements into your diet.

Get Ready for a Big Day
Want to power up your ability to concentrate? Start with a meal of 100% fruit juice, a whole grain bagel with salmon, and a cup of coffee. In addition to eating a well-balanced meal, experts also advise:

• Get a good night’s sleep.
• Stay hydrated.
• Exercise to help sharpen thinking.
• Meditate to clear thinking and relax.

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