There’s really no other way to put it: your brain has everything to do with how you function every day. This bodily organ is a powerhouse that works non-stop, whether consciously or subconsciously, voluntarily or involuntarily.
When it comes to mental clarity, cognition, and energy, most of us know that it’s the brain isn’t “firing on all cylinders.” The good news is that we can eat foods to kick those synapses and neurotransmitters into action.
Here are five foods that will minimize brain fog and help you sharpen your brain for energy and focus.
Mmm…caffeine. You may already feel like coffee gives you mental clarity, but it may be more than just the caffeine in a cup of joe that’s doing the trick. Coffee contains brain-boosting antioxidants, too. Caffeine helps your brain reach a more alert status by:
- blocking adenosine, which can make you feel sleepy
- boosting feel-good transmitters like serotonin in the brain
- sharpening your ability to concentrate
As long as you are consuming caffeinated coffee in moderation, you’re bound to reap these brain-boosting rewards. Just make sure you do not consume so much caffeine, or it may have the opposite effect causing the jitters and a crash in energy.
Need a mid-afternoon snack that is going to be fulfilling enough to carry you through the rest of the day and jumpstart your sleeping synapses? Broccoli may just be what it takes.
This touted superfood is suitable for all kinds of things, but it is also good for your brain. Broccoli contains vitamin K, which is not always abundant naturally in other foods. The fatty parts of brain tissue are filled with sphingolipids, which are created directly with the help of vitamin K.
One cup of chopped raw broccoli is going to deliver you all you need of vitamin K for the entire day. Therefore, it never hurts to have a mid-afternoon cup of broccoli stalks and florets with a slice of cheddar cheese. Vitamin K intake has also been linked to better memory function in older adults.
3. Dark Chocolate
There’s no harm in a little chocolate, especially if you feel like your brain is lagging. In these instances, it’s really no surprise we often crave something sweet.
Dark chocolate offers a trio of good things for your brain: antioxidants, caffeine, and flavonoids. In a study of 900 people, those who ate chocolate did better with mental capacity tasks that involved memory than the people who didn’t. Chocolate also seems to boost mood, which really is no news to chocolate-lovers across the planet. The study findings are clear, but researchers are not sure why.
Like with caffeine, chocolate is something you’ll want to eat in moderation.
4. Fatty Fish
You really can’t mention brain power or cognitive energy without bringing up fatty fish.
Take your pick: tuna, salmon, or even sardines—all of these fall within the designation of “fatty fish” because they contain omega-3 fatty acids.
It may come as a surprise that about 60 percent of your brain is fat, and you may be able to guess what kind of fat it is. If you said omega-3s, you’re correct. Omega-3s are vital to brain functions like memory and learning.
So, have some dry tuna, smoked salmon, or a can of sardines if your cognitive functions are especially slow.
5. Whole Grains
Stash some whole-grain crackers in your purse or nab yourself some whole-grain toast on break. Whole grains offer a powerful punch of vitamin E, which has been shown to boost cognitive function.
If you need whole grains and want to steer clear of the net carbs, buckwheat, bulgur, and oatmeal are the best candidates, according to Livestrong.
There you have it: a nice little list of brain-fog-clearing foods you can munch and nibble when your brain is dragging. From fatty fish to whole grains, finding something to feed your brain and get it on the move may not be as difficult as you think.