Brain boosting foods are something that I am a personal fan of and I am sure after reading this article you too will become a fan. So let’s get started right away.
I have so much going on in my life right now and often find myself getting into a brain funk. When I’m stressed, sleep-deprived, dehydrated or overwhelmed, I first notice the difference in my ability to be productive. When my brain isn’t functioning at it’s best, I find that I can’t recall words as quickly, I can’t stay focused for very long, and I feel like a space cadet.
As an athlete, I notice that when my brain isn’t functioning at it’s best then my physical performance suffers. My reaction time becomes slower, I don’t make very good decisions, and I make a lot more mistakes.
Stress is a huge culprit of impairment of brain function. Add to that a lack of sleep, lack of water, and poor nutrition and you may not recognize yourself anymore. I talked about the impacts of stress in this podcast episode if you want to learn more about that. You can also learn some tips on hydrating properly here.
In this blog post, I’m going to give you some foods to include in your diet that will help give your brain a boost on top of addressing your stress, sleep and hydration. Here are 10 natural brain boosting foods and supplements to help get you out of your brain fog and into thinking clearly again. Now you just have to remember to take them!
1. Organ meats - specifically brain
Organ meats are the best sources of vitamins and minerals which makes them an excellent addition to any meat-based diet. Whether you’re experiencing brain fog or just want to support brain health, consuming animal brain is a great way to do it. You don’t have to actually buy a raw brain and cook it, though. There are a couple of nose-to-tail companies such as this one that will freeze-dry it and pack it into convenient capsules for you to swallow.
L-glutamine is an amino acid that can improve alertness, concentration and focus. It can also boost memory and mood because it’s used for building glutamate. Glutamate is a neurotransmitter responsible for how the brain uses energy, cognitive function, attention span and memory. It’s also been found to delay degenerative impacts from ageing and neurological diseases.
3. Lion's mane mushroom
Lion’s mane mushroom is a medicinal mushroom that has been used for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine and other cultures to boost brain function. This mushroom species has bioactive compounds that enhance cognition and protect the brain from oxidative damage. In this post, I wrote about the importance of finding a high-quality supplier of medicinal mushrooms. My go-to Lion’s Mane product that far exceeds the quality of most on the market is this one.
Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb that is soothing to the brain so it can help with brain fog that is associated with stress. It can also enhance concentration and focus after taking it for a couple of months. This is one herb that I consume every single day because it has a very long list of benefits in addition to supporting brain health. You can learn more about the science-backed benefits of this amazing herb here.
5-HTP is an amino acid that is used to build serotonin which acts as a neurotransmitter and plays a role in relaying signals within the brain. It’s also used for building melatonin which is a neurohormone that helps the body fall asleep but also benefits learning and memory. If you’re having trouble sleeping it could be causing impairment to your brain. 5-HTP not only boosts brain function but it also improves sleep quality – so it’s a win-win!
6. Gingko biloba
Gingko biloba is a herb often used for improving memory and cognitive function. Recent studies (like this one) have also found that this herb enhances cognitive processes in both healthy individuals and those that are suffering from “age-related cognitive impairment”. It’s often an ingredient in many supplements that claim to support healthy brain function but is also often combined with unnecessary ingredients. Stick to the basic ingredient and just add organic ginkgo biloba powder to your favorite drink or use loose leaves to make a herbal tea.
The berries of the Schisandra plant are a calming adaptogen so they help the body adapt to stress. They also provide a benefit to the nervous system so they enhance reflexes and concentration. These berries are best consumed by using them to make a strong tea.