I’m not ashamed to admit it: my brain is in dire need of help. Between juggling errands, preschool schedules, play dates, and dance class, my brain gets boggled. It seems that my synapses are not firing adequately, or perhaps at all! What can I do to help my stumbling, bumbling mind? I decided to do some digging and pinpoint some simple, effective ways in which we can all help our brains stay clear and focused.
Eat Good Brain Food
- Blueberries: Mmmmm, sweet, juicy blueberries—they’re not only delicious but also beneficial, thanks to the antioxidants and inflammatory characteristics that can help your brain. Researchers discovered that eating blueberries reduces the effects of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Older lab rats with a diet high in blueberries were found to be as mentally astute as much younger rats.
- Nuts and Chocolate: Adding walnuts to your oatmeal or salad can help your brain. They’re high in omega-3s, which help keep your brain healthy. Nuts and seeds contain vitamin E, which is linked to less cognitive decline in older people. If you need a good excuse to eat chocolate, look no more. Dark chocolate not only contains antioxidants but also has natural stimulants, including caffeine, which will help you concentrate and focus.
- Fish and Eggs: The omega-3s in fish are vital for top-notch brain function. They’re associated with a lower risk of dementia and stroke, slower mental decline, and better memory. Eggs contain selenium, which helps improve cognitive performance.
- Spinach: Skip the iceberg lettuce and opt for a salad with lots of deep colors. Spinach and other greens, such as kale and collard greens, contain healthy carotenoids and flavonoids. Researchers say that eating three or more servings per day can reduce age-related mental decline by up to 40 percent.
- Caffeine and Chewing Gum: Caffeine found in coffee, teas, chocolate, energy drinks, and the like have been found to help people focus and concentrate. The effects are short-term, however, and you need to beware of over-indulging—too much could leave you feeling jittery rather than focused. Chewing gum has been found to help students do better on tests. Teenagers who chewed gum while taking exams in a classroom setting experienced less stress and anxiety, were more alert, and had higher test scores than those who did not chew gum.
The next time I can’t recall whether or not it’s our week to bring the class snack or if I sent that birthday card in the mail, I’ll remember this: eat sweet blueberries at lunch and indulge in a Dove dark chocolate square after dinner. Those are options even my fuzzy brain can remember!