Updated: Aug 15
Do you believe what you eat makes you smarter? Chances are it won’t make you a genius, but it has a strong ability to sharpen your thinking and concentration. Studies show that your brain functions better if fueled by healthy fats, protein, vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants. Here are 10 healthy foods that will aid in making you smarter and more productive:
1. Dark Chocolate
The perfect excuse to keep some sweets on your desk, as long as you don’t overdo it! Compounds in cocoa called flavanols help produce a surge in blood flow to your brain when you eat dark chocolate. This helps you feel more awake and alert, making it easier to complete difficult tasks.
Adding nuts into your diet on a regular basis helps by boosting your energy and improving your ability to think. Peanuts are the best nuts for your brain. Walnuts, almonds, peanuts, pistachios, cashews, and Brazil Nuts offer the most health benefits. Just be sure to limit yourself to a handful or two per day, as nuts do tend to have a high calorie and fat content.
Blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, and strawberries are beneficial to the brain in many ways. The high antioxidant that berries contain helps protect brain cells from damage by harmful radicals, which are set loose within the body by the process of “oxidation.” Berries also change the way neurons in the brain communicate with each other. These changes can prevent inflammation leading to brain cell damage and improve movement, control, and function. Studies from Brigham and Woman’s Hospital determined that eating berries could delay cognitive aging by up to 2.5 years.
4. Fatty Fish
Salmon, albacore, tuna, and sardines highly contain Omega 3 fatty acids. Studies from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that an increased amount of fish intake could help reduce the risk of dementia by as much as 20%.
Oatmeal is a slow-digesting food that provides both sustainable energy and brainpower that normally lasts for several hours.
Avocados contain high amounts of monounsaturated fatty acids. A study published by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology found that monounsaturated fatty acids helped protect nerve cells in the brain known as astrocytes, which provide support to information-carrying nerves.
7. Dark Leafy Green Vegetables
Broccoli, kale, spinach, and collard greens are great sources of folate and vitamin E. It is unclear how folate may protect the brain, but scientists believe that it may lower levels of amino acid “homocysteine” in the blood. High levels of homocysteine can trigger the death of nerve cells in the brain, while folic acid helps break down homocysteine levels. Studies have proven that high homocysteine levels are also linked to an increased risk for heart disease.
8. Coffee and Tea
Drinking coffee and tea in moderation helps provide immediate energy that will help you focus on important tasks. Green Tea is packed with antioxidants that increase neuron production in your brain. An inorganic compound in green tea helps prevent memory loss and degenerative diseases.
9. Egg Yolks
Egg yolks supply a quality source of chlorine, which strengthens your memory and brainpower. Boston University of Medicine performed a study that found high chlorine intake to be associated with better scores on memory tests and reduced likeliness of brain changes that precede dementia.
Always keep your body hydrated by drinking at least 8 cups of water per day. Dehydration damages your ability to think and to recall information. Be sure to stay hydrated for a healthier and happier brain.
Eating some of these foods on a regular basis should help your brain stay healthy and alert. Always remember it is important to add at least one of these foods into your diet mid-day to help keep you energized and focused throughout the completion of your workday.