Brain Foods: Nutrients for Memory, Clarity, and Focus
By: Pura | May 11, 2017

It’s hard not to feel totally overwhelmed or just burnt out by the time we sit down for dinner. Most of us are taking in thousands of messages every day, many of them negative news stories, world challenges, and day to day obstacles. There’s probably a reason we drink so much coffee every day!

It’s funny that we rest an injured limb, eat to sooth a virus, or relax when we’re exhausted but what are we doing to re-charge and energize our minds? Many of us take solace in meditation, yoga, or a creative outlet but it’s actually pretty simple to eat or take supplements for brain health as well.

Scientists have made some fascinating links between foods and brain function. Here are some nutrients that have been discovered to boost memory, clarity, focus, and overall brain health.

Almonds are one of many foods rich in magnesium.

Foods for Memory

Turmeric

 

This root plant has been getting a lot of attention lately for all of its medicinal and healing properties including boosting your memory and brain function. Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric which has been studied for its numerous health benefits.

Not only that, but turmeric is commonly used to reduce inflammation, reduce risk of heart disease, and contribute to the prevention of diseases like cancer, while alleviating symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

 

Magnesium

 

Magnesium is essential to the health of our bodies, as it enables us to produce energy and regulates over 300 chemical reactions in our bodies.

A deficiency in magnesium is often linked to symptoms of anxiety, depression, fatigue, and irritability. If you think you might be magnesium deficient, go see your health care provider.

For many of us, taking a magnesium supplement has been shown to improve brain function, fight memory loss, and fight the early on-set stages of Alzheimer’s.

Ensuring you are getting enough Omega-3 fatty acids will support your ability to focus and think clearly.

 

Foods to Focus

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

 

Fish and fish oil is the most well-known source for Omega 3 but vegetarians and vegans know that it can be found in flax oil, chia seeds, and walnuts. These fatty acids are essential to cell make-up not only fight off heart disease, joint pain, and inflammation, but also showed to improve clarity and focus in children with ADHD in a recent study.

Omega 3 is essential to good health and yet it’s been estimated that almost 60% Americans deficient in these fatty acids. That means that omega 3 supplements is a smart idea for many of us.

Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALCAR)

 

This amino acid is naturally produced by the body to turn fat into energy. Countless studies have looked at the effects of taking it in a supplement form. Patients with Alzheimer’s have reported increased focus and clarity after taking ALCAR supplements which might make sense considering it has shown to increase blood flow to the brain.

Taking ALCAR in supplement form has also shown to help alleviate symptoms of depression. However if you are currently taking other medication or suffering from any other ailments or symptoms make sure to check with your doctor before taking ALCAR supplements.

Drinking Tea with Ginseng can help lower your stress.

Foods for Stress Relief

Ginseng

 

Ginseng truly is a wondrous food that is studied all over the world for its medicinal and healing properties. People have used this herb for thousands of years to treat a variety of ailments in China but North Americans have embraced its healing qualities as well. As an adaptogenic herb it supports your adrenaline system and has the ability to both calm and energize you by making you better prepared for mental and physical stresses.

It’s also an antioxidant that supports your brain function and can fight memory loss. In addition, it has been shown to help with insomnia, fatigue & anxiety, and some effects of menopause. Plus there have been some studies that have shown that ginseng can reduce the chances of cancer!

All this makes for one powerful superfood!

 

Melatonin

 

Many of us have heard or maybe tried melatonin supplements to help us sleep but this hormone is actually a powerful antioxidant that has more than one benefit for our bodies and minds. Studies have shown that it’s a powerful supplement in preventing migraines, reducing incidences of type 2 diabetes, and preventing cancer.

Melatonin supplements are also a great therapeutic resource as well, not only helping you control your sleep cycles and keep your stress manageable.

 

Valerian Root

 

Like melatonin, valerian root is a powerful sleep aid but studies show that it is less likely to leave you feeling drowsy the next morning. It has also been found to increases the amount of a chemical called gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain which reduces symptoms of anxiety or stress.

 

Vanilla Extract

 

Most of us know vanilla as the delicious oil that we add to baking for flavour but vanilla extract from the vanilla root has some powerful properties. It contains numerous antioxidants that fight inflammation and could potentially lower cholesterol.

Scientists have been able to prove that inflammation is directly correlated to anxiety, stress, and depression which means vanilla extract can help fight symptoms of these illnesses. Not only that but vanilla oil has been shown to reduce high blood pressure.

 

Want more articles on eating for mental health? Read Easing Anxiety with Nutrition next.

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We should start our kids from being these foods with nutrients.