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15 Foods to Help Beat Brain Fog

Foods to help beat brain fog

Cocoa

Cocoa is high in flavanols, antioxidants that have been shown to help increase learning, improve memory and boost overall brain power. Some studies show the effect is greatly enhanced when combined with exercise. Other good sources of flavanols include tea and red wine.

_ Try this: _ Add a handful of raw cacao nibs to smoothies; stir dark cocoa powder into your morning coffee; sprinkle dark chocolate shavings over a bowl of fresh raspberries.

Nutritional Yeast

Nutritional yeast is high in folate, a B vitamin linked with healthy fetal brain development and overall cognitive improvement; deficiencies can lead to neurological disorders such as depression, cognitive decline and dementia. Additionally, nutritional yeast is an excellent source of vitamins B6 and B12, which are both important for brain health and memory performance.

_ Try this: _ Purée cashew butter, nutritional yeast and water for a creamy “cheese” sauce; toss with cooked pasta and olive oil; sprinkle over steamed broccoli tossed with olive oil.

Turmeric

Turmeric contains curcumin, an antioxidant that may prevent the development and accumulation of plaque formations linked with Alzheimer’s. Studies show that curcumin can protect against cognitive decline and lessen impairment in traumatic brain injury, and it may even stimulate new brain cell production.

_ Try this: _ Combine with warm milk and honey for a traditional Ayurvedic beverage; toss warm chickpeas with turmeric, coconut oil and chopped tomatoes; add grated fresh turmeric root to sautéed garlic and kale.

Spinach

Spinach is high in lutein, an antioxidant that protects the brain from free radical damage and inflammation. People with mild cognitive impairment have been shown to have reduced lutein status, and boosting lutein levels has been shown to enhance learning and memory. Other good sources of lutein are kale, chard, collards and egg yolks.

_ Try this: _ Finely chop spinach and stir into pasta sauce; purée with white beans, garlic and olive oil for a fast dip; add a handful to breakfast smoothies.

Avocado

Avocado is rich in vitamin E, which has been shown to slow cognitive decline in the elderly. It also contains monounsaturated fats, which help improve the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins from foods such as spinach, kale and other leafy greens.

_ Try this: _ Mash avocado with cooked potatoes or cauliflower just before serving; purée with olive oil and apple cider vinegar for a creamy dressing; halve avocado lengthwise, remove pit, brush with olive oil and grill.

Eggs

Eggs are loaded with choline, a type of B-vitamin that can enhance memory and cognition. It’s a component of phosphatidylcholine, a critical part of cell membranes, especially brain cells. Beef, fish, asparagus, collard greens and Brussels sprouts are other good sources.

_ Try this: _ Make deviled eggs, but mash yolks with avocado instead of mayonnaise; scramble eggs with tikka masala sauce for a fast egg curry; bake eggs and minced vegetables in ramekins, then top with shaved cheese.

Celery

Celery contains luteolin, a flavonoid antioxidant that protects the brain from inflammation, cognitive aging and neurodegenerative diseases, and it can greatly enhance memory, learning and spatial awareness. Other sources include radicchio, peppers, parsley, artichokes, juniper berries and sage.

_ Try this: _ Stuff celery stalks with almond butter and top with dried cranberries; juice it with carrots and ginger; toss sliced celery with garlic and olive oil and roast until golden.

Rosemary

Rosemary is high in carnosic acid, a phytochemical that enhances learning and spatial memory, reduces oxidative stress and prevents neuron damage. Studies suggest it can protect against Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. Carnosic acid is also found in sage and in small amounts in other foods.

_ Try this: _ Add whole rosemary sprigs to soups during cooking; mince rosemary needles and add to bread dough; use rosemary sprigs as skewers for grilling vegetables.

Yogurt

Yogurt contains probiotics, beneficial bacteria that keep the gastrointestinal tract healthy. Because about 90% of the body’s serotonin – a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and behavior – is made in the gut, it’s important to keep the intestinal lining healthy. Studies also show taking probiotic supplements may improve mental outlook and lower stress and anxiety levels.

_ Try this: _ Combine with puréed mango for a fast, refreshing lassi; whisk with honey and drizzle over grilled peaches; mix with minced herbs to make a creamy, healthy dressing.

Salmon

Salmon is rich in omega-3 fats, which many studies have linked to a reduction in age-related cognitive decline, protection against Alzheimer’s and general improvement in cognition and mood. If you don’t eat fish, walnuts, flax and chia are rich in alpha-linolenic acid, a fatty acid that can be converted by the body to omega-3 fatty acids.

_ Try this: _ Wrap asparagus spears in smoked salmon; add crumbled cooked salmon to scrambled eggs; toss with pasta, olive oil and minced chives.

Vitamins and Supplements

B-Complex Vitamins & Vitamin C

A 2010 study published in Psychopharmacology shows that a high dose of B-complex vitamins taken with vitamin C are critical for brain health and are directly tied to an improvement in mood. The study authors noted, “Vitamin C is the brain’s most prevalent antioxidant and is found at its greatest concentrations in neuron-rich areas.”

Zinc

Studies have found that zinc may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease and dementia by preventing buildup of beta-amyloid plaques (accumulation of these plaques can lead to Alzheimer’s).

Vitamin D & Omega-3s

For those low in serotonin, vitamin D acts as a hormone to help release more neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, which may help improve mood and fend off depression. Optimize serotonin concentrations in the brain by pairing vitamin D with omega-3. This combination may help prevent and modulate neurological disorders and help improve cognitive function.

Herbs Bacopa & Sage

These are scientifically proven to enhance memory, and both may have Alzheimer’s-protective power.

Cutting-Edge Citicoline

Citicoline, a natural substance found in every cell of the body that is vital to brain health and helps with concentration, recall and overall thinking processes

Written by Lisa Turner for Clean Eating Magazine and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@getmatcha.com.

Featured image provided by Clean Eating Magazine

Phosphatidylcholine and Lecithin

Citicoline seems to increase a brain chemical called phosphatidylcholine. Phosphatidylcholine is the most abundant phospholipid in the body and is shown to be very prevalent in young and healthy cell membranes.

A good source of phosphatidylcholine is lecithin. Lecithin has been shown to aid in healthy functioning of the brain and has many other health benefits including lowering cholesterol.

Be on the lookout because MariGold Bars will soon be featuring Sunflower Lecithin! Doing our part to help keep that brain fog away 🙂.

4 thoughts on “15 Foods to Help Beat Brain Fog”

  1. Robert Alexander, Nutrition maven since 1970

    Salmon is indeed a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are quite important for the brain (and the heart), and the best tasting. Just don’t overcook it. The other two best fish sources are mackerel and sardines. Tuna, sometimes cited as an omega-3 source, is actually wayyyyyyy down the list.
    Contrarily, the statement that:
    “If you don’t eat fish, (then) walnuts, flax and chia are rich in alpha-linolenic acid, a fatty acid that can be converted by the body to omega-3 fatty acids” is dangerously misleading. The conversion in those plant foods, from short-chain alpha-linolenic acid to the long-chain omega-3s, EPA and DHA, in the body ranges from 0-10%, depending upon the health and age of the human involved. In other words, those foods are virtually useless as practical sources of omega-3s. So Lisa Turner of Clean Eating magazine, who wrote the article, is vastly underinformed. But it’s a common mistake. I am now a recovering flax oil user myself after being misled by Udo Erasmus many years ago.
    If you are an infrequent or non-fish eater but not a vegetarian, then krill oil is the best source of omega-3s, better than fish oil. If you are a vegetarian, the algae in the form of seaweed or spirulina is about all you’ve got. Unfortunately, it requires a cup (112 grams) of seaweed/spirulina to get only 922 mg of omega 3s, a so-so daily dose, according to nutritiondata.self.com, and I can’t vouch for the comparative quality/completeness of those plant oils. I don’t know the cost of spirulina, but downing a cup a day, which would yield that so-so amount of omega-3s, is not something I would look forward to. It does have 64 grams of protein, though. Plant protein, that is, a less-absorbable form than animal protein. Still, that’s pretty good, if you can get it down.
    I got curious, so I just looked up spirulina costs. The best deal I found was $247.23(plus tax and shipping?) for 28 lbs, or $8.99/lb, which would be enough for 113.5 days at $2.17 per day. However, the website claims that their spirulina has zero fat. So I don’t know about that brand.
    Let’s see about seaweed….. Ah, one website says it’s got .3 gm of total fat per 100 grams, of which .1 gm is polyunsaturated (which is what omega-3s are). So not much there. And a BIG difference between what Nutrition Data and the websites say.
    So okay, then, it looks like you strict vegans are kinda out of luck in the omega-3 department. But if you’re eating Marigold bars, you’re not vegan. Vegans might want to consider that while krill ARE little teeny-tiny animals, the ocean is crawling with them. Whales eat krill. Lots and lots of krill. A blue whale can eat up to four tons of krill a day. Oh wait, they’re not that teeny-tiny. They’re about 2.5″ long and weigh about two grams apiece. They eat (and concentrate in their bodies) phytoplankton, so there’s your algae that’s the base source.
    The state of the supply of krill is largely unknown, but if we overpopulated humans keep screwing up the planet, we’ll probably mess that up too. Meanwhile, krill and salmon are great sources of omega-3s.
    Whooo, did I get carried away, or what?

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