Do you know what the top brain foods to improve mental awareness are? Make sure you include these plant-based foods in your diet to help you combat age-related memory loss, improve problem-solving skills, and reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease in the future!
11 Foods to Improve Mental Awareness and to Boost Your Brain Power
Feed Your Brain With The Foods You Eat
The foods you eat can have a huge impact on your brain health and function. If you’re struggling to stay alert and focused throughout the day, it may be time to rethink what foods you put into your body.
While the brain represents only 2% of your total body weight, it uses up roughly 20% of the body’s calories, so it needs enough fuel from the right sources to keep going.
There’s no denying your morning cup of coffee gives you a boost. But if you’re relying solely on caffeine to feel mentally aware and focused, you might need to be aware that there might be better options to put into your body.
Remember that a well-balanced diet goes beyond your regular cup of coffee. Adding brain-boosting foods like fruits and vegetables to your diet can help support brain function.
Plus, if you’ve ever heard of the gut-brain connection, you know the food you put in your body determines your mood, energy levels, alertness, focus, and mental clarity.
Here are 11 foods for brain power to help improve mental awareness and focus:
- Whole grains
- Leafy green vegetables
- Pumpkin seeds
- Dark chocolate
How Food Affects the Brain
What you eat won’t only give you more energy, but it also improves your mood and makes you think clearer. Our brain is responsible for several jobs, including your thoughts, movements, breathing, senses, and more. Your brain needs the energy to function properly, and it gets that energy from food. By paying closer attention to what you eat, you can understand how it can affect your brain in terms of concentration and mood.
What you don’t eat is just as important as what you do eat. If you’re constantly eating processed foods high in sugar or energy drinks, then that is in no way beneficial to your health, physically or mentally.
Unfortunately, there is no quick fix to keep you focused and alert all day. Luckily there are healthy food choices along with a healthy lifestyle and adequate sleep that can help increase your concentration levels, allow you to stay alert longer, and improve your mood.
11 Foods to Boost Your Brain Power
1. Whole Grains
Like all areas of the body, the brain needs proper blood flow and energy to function properly. Your ability to focus and concentrate throughout the day comes from a good night’s sleep and an adequate and steady supply of energy.
Whole grains help to release glucose slowly, keeping you alert. Trade out your white bread and pasta for whole-grain options.
Good sources of whole grains include oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice, and bulgar wheat.
Bananas are rich in potassium and magnesium and give the brain energy. They help to increase your ability to focus, pay attention, and learn.
The fruit is also a great source of fiber which helps to keep your bowel movements regular and keep your blood pressure in check. A banana also delivers high levels of amino acids, tryptophan, and tyrosine, which are used to produce the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, both of which help to regulate mood.
Plus, bananas are so easy to incorporate into your diet. You can take one with you as a snack or top your morning cereal, oatmeal, or smoothie bowl with sliced bananas.
Tip: Drink Green tea- Green Tea contains less caffeine than coffee, but enough to produce an effect. It also contains the amino acid L-theanine, which can work synergistically with caffeine to improve brain function.
Lentils are full of the brain-friendly B vitamins folate, thiamin, and vitamin B6. The B vitamin folate is thought to help keep your mind sharp and focused as your age.
Thiamin and vitamin B6 help to give you more energy and iron, which are all essential for cognitive function and cognitive abilities development. Vitamin B6 plays a role in keeping the nervous system and brain functioning well.
You may or may not eat lentils regularly, but they are absolutely delicious in soup, especially during those chilly fall and winter months. Here’s a recipe to get you warmed up this fall and winter.
Blueberries are not only delicious but packed with a ton of antioxidants, which are essential when removing health-damaging free radicals from the body.
Deep-color berries like blueberries deliver anthocyanins, which is a plant compound known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Some of the antioxidants that come from blueberries that end up in the brain have been found to improve the communication between brain cells.
Some studies have even shown that blueberries may improve memory and prevent short-term memory loss.
That’s why I always include blueberries in my daily diet. They are a great snack and can even go in smoothies or salads.
Lycopene is an antioxidant found in tomatoes. It’s thought that lycopene can help protect against free radical damage, in particular, the type of damage that happens with the development of dementia.
Tomatoes are an easy and economical way to benefit from brain-boosting foods. When shopping for tomatoes, try to pick organic ones or get them at your local farmers’ market.
6. Leafy Green Vegetables
Green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, and collards are full of brain-boosting nutrients like vitamin K, beta carotene, folate, and lutein.
Lutein contains a carotenoid which is usually found in fruits and vegetables. It’s mainly known for promoting good eye health.
However, research suggests it may also be involved in improving learning, brain function, and memory.
One study found that participants who had higher levels of lutein had ‘younger’ brains than their counterparts. This spinach pear salad with maple-cinnamon vinaigrette is a great addition to your diet and easy to make. Or if you can’t stand the taste of leafy greens, then blend them into a fruit smoothie or try Sunwarrior’s Ormus Super Greens Powder.
Our patented cold-drying system protects heat-sensitive bioactive constituents and phytonutrients, creating a superfood that is live, raw, and bio-available. This process conserves nature’s delicate balance of essential oils, enzymes, vitamins, and minerals.
This super greens powder is extremely high in superoxide dismutase, an anti-aging longevity enzyme.
Nuts are a fantastic source of vitamin E. A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology suggests that high vitamin E intake is linked to preventing cognitive decline, particularly in the elderly.
Nuts are also packed with fiber, protein, and essential fats. A handful of walnuts or almonds are a great snack when you are on the go.
Broccoli is high in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory agents, and vitamin K. Some studies in older adults have linked vitamin K to better memory. Vitamin K is crucial for creating sphingolipids, which is a type of fat in brain cells.
Your diet is just one part of improving your mental awareness. Broccoli also contains compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may help to protect the brain.
These breathing exercises and techniques can also help improve your mood and endurance.
9. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds contain potent antioxidants that help to protect your body against free radical damage. They also contain iron, zinc, magnesium, and copper, all of which are essential for brain health.
Magnesium is crucial for memory and learning. Low levels of magnesium have been linked to depression and other neurological diseases.
A deficiency in iron is often recognized by brain fog and impaired brain function, amongst other symptoms.
10. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate contains brain-boosting compounds like flavonoids and antioxidants. The flavonoids in dark chocolate gather in the parts of the brain that deal with learning and memory.
Experts believe these compounds may help to improve learning and slow down age-related mental decline. Make sure to look for a high cocoa content and double-check that there are no milk products in the chocolate.
Turmeric is well known in the wellness world as one of the best foods that improve memory and concentration. Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric and has been found to cross the brain-body barrier, meaning it can access the brain and benefit cells there.
It’s a powerful antioxidant and may improve memory, ease depression, and help new brain cells to grow. In fact, one study found that curcumin improved depression symptoms in six weeks just as much as a traditional antidepressant.
Curcumin may also help to improve memory in people with Alzheimer's by clearing the amyloid plaques, which are often linked to the disease.
Watch Dr. Weston explains nutritional maturity in this video from Sunwarrior:
Whether you want to be more alert, have a hardcore study session coming up, or feel like your losing concentration easily, adding these foods to your diet is a great way to improve your mental focus and awareness.
By making small tweaks and incorporating brain-boosting foods into your meals, you can stay alert throughout the day naturally.
What are your go-to foods to improve mental awareness? Share your diet in the comments section below!