Some days, you are fully energized, motivated and ready to take on any challenge. But there are days when you feel exhausted and mentally fatigued. You find it difficult to concentrate. Your brain seems to short-circuit in the middle of a conversation or a work assignment. As a result, everything you do seems harder and takes longer than usual.
If you’ve experienced an instance like this, you might be dealing with a condition known as brain fog (AKA mental fatigue or cloudy consciousness.) This “cloudy-headed” feeling stems from a variety of symptoms, including problems with memory, focus, and decision-making. However, there’s one particular culprit that often gets overlooked by most people – food.
Some foods can negatively affect the processes of the brain. The more you eat these foods, the more they impact your memory and mood and increase your risk of dementia. What’s worse is that certain foods we consume may contain pesticides and other harmful chemicals that can affect the way we think and how our body operates.
Your brain needs fuel to function efficiently, and getting the proper nutrients can help with that. Here are 15 powerful foods to help you regain your cognitive powers for a more productive life.
Eggs are a top breakfast food for many people. They are packed with choline, a B-vitamin that helps your brain produce acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that plays a critical role in mental processes such as memory and cognition. Fish, beef, collard greens, Brussels sprouts, and asparagus are other very good sources.
Spinach is an incredible superfood. It is probably the best way to obtain lutein, an antioxidant that protects the brain from inflammation and free radical damage. Green leafy vegetables like spinach are also rich in magnesium, which is a vital nutrient for maintaining muscles and nerve function. They may also help combat memory lapses, thus improving focus and memory fitness. Egg yolks, chard, collards, and kale also contain good amounts of lutein.
Yogurt is a probiotic-rich food. Put simply, it contains healthy levels of good bacteria, which have been shown to help the body reduce stress and anxiety, and improve mental outlook. These bacteria also help keep the gastrointestinal tract healthy. It is estimated that 90% of the serotonin (a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and behavior) in the body is produced in the digestive tract. Therefore, you must keep your intestinal tract in good health.
If you are looking for a healthy dose of vitamin E, avocados are a great choice. Vitamin E has been shown to prevent or delay cognitive decline in older people. Besides, avocados are high in monounsaturated fats (good fats), which are said to help absorb fat-soluble vitamins from foods like kale, spinach, and other leafy vegetables.
Celery is rich in luteolin, an antioxidant that shields the brain against cognitive aging and neurodegenerative diseases. It can also increase spatial awareness, memory, and learning. Other sources of luteolin include parsley, sage, artichokes, juniper berries, peppers, and radicchio.
Salmon contains high amounts of omega-3 fats, which have been shown to reduce cognitive decline in the elderly, improve mood and cognition and prevent Alzheimer’s. Apart from fish, chia, flax, and walnuts are excellent sources of alpha-linolenic acid, a fatty acid that the body can convert to omega-3 fatty acids.
When you eat healthy portions of turmeric, you obtain an antioxidant called curcumin. This substance may halt the development and accumulation of plaque formations associated with Alzheimer’s. According to several studies, curcumin can delay cognitive decline, stimulate the production of new brain cells, and reduce impairment in traumatic brain injury.
Cocoa is packed with a group of natural brain-boosting compounds called flavanols. Flavanols contain popular flavonoids (antioxidant plant compounds) that researchers say may stimulate learning, enhance memory, increase overall brain power and also help slow down age-related mental decline. Some studies show that flavanols are even more effective when combined with regular exercise. Red wine and tea are two other great sources of flavanols.
Studies show that carnosic acid, a phytochemical found in rosemary enhances spatial memory and learning, prevents neuron damage and lowers oxidative stress. Some studies suggest that it can ward off Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. Carnosic acid is also present in sage and usually found in small amounts in other foods.
Nutritional yeast is a valuable addition to many diets. It is loaded with B-vitamins, including riboflavin, thiamine, vitamin B6 and folate. Folate has been shown to impact mood and cognitive function, particularly in older adults. It also helps develop the fetal brain and improve overall cognition. Besides, nutritional yeast is high in vitamins B6 and B12, which are tied to brain health improvement and memory performance.
When you take high doses of B-complex vitamins with vitamin C, you can benefit from improved brain health and mood. Vitamin C is the most common antioxidant in the brain and is found in its highest concentrations in areas that are rich in neurons.
If your brain doesn’t have enough serotonin, vitamin D functions as a hormone to help release more neurotransmitters, including serotonin, which may help fend off depression and improve mood. You can optimize the serotonin concentrations in your brain by simply pairing vitamin D with omega-3. Together, these nutrients may help enhance cognitive function and prevent and regulate neurological disorders.
Based on certain studies, zinc may help ward off Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. It achieves this by preventing beta-amyloid plaques from accumulating. When these plaques build up, they can lead to Alzheimer’s.
Cognizin is a form of Citicoline, which is a natural substance found in every cell in the body. Cognizin is important for brain health and helps you concentrate and recall, and enhances your thought processes.
Sage and Bacopa herbs are traditionally used for maintaining brain health. They’ve been scientifically proven to improve memory and may have protective powers against Alzheimer’s.
Brain fog can be a frustrating experience. You know that you are capable of producing quality work, but somehow, you constantly feel demotivated and mentally exhausted. There are various causes for this, but the food that you eat is a major deciding factor as to whether or not you experience this “cloudy-headed” feeling. So, try these 15 foods to help reduce mental fog and regain your cognitive powers.