3 Top Foods to Improve Cognitive Functions


Some of us are still trying to get the hang of quarantine, while others are gearing up to head back into the office after having established a work from home routine.


Either one; you may need some extra tips on how to stay focused and gain energy through the foods you eat.


We know foods play a significant role in our mood, focus, and memory, but which food might help boost our memory or/and concentration?

  Let’s look at three foods more closely that can help boost your brain and memory.

Coffee
  • Coffee in moderation has many health benefits, a lower risk of some diseases, high levels of antioxidants, and helps burn fat. 


  • Coffee helps us become more alert, gives us the energy to be prepared for meetings, or getting tasks done at home. [1]


  • Coffee also helps improve performance on tasks. One study found small amounts throughout the day of coffee showed similar effects compared to drinking one large number at one time. [2]


  • Coffee’s caffeine is available in other forms than just coffee drinks, you can try dark chocolate, tea, decaf coffee, or matcha! 

Blueberries
  • Blueberries are rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. [3]


  • A study done on older adults found that there was a significant increase in brain activity observed compared to the placebo group.[4]


  • According to another study, blueberries, along with other berries, can offer a neuroprotective effect (protecting the brain). Blueberries can directly improve neuro cell signaling and communication. [5]


  • Add some blueberries on top of your smoothies, yogurt, oatmeal, cereal, or just have them as a snack. They’re in season! 

Turmeric

The main active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, which is a strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect. 


  • Curcumin has neuroprotective properties, can improve cognition, and help with depression.[6]


  • Curcumin can also help with the development of new brain cells [6]


Many other foods help boost your brain and memory like fish, broccoli, dark chocolate, nuts, oranges, eggs, and more. I encourage you to find a new brain food to incorporate into your diet this month! Switch it up and feed your brain 😊

References:


1. Anderson DE, Hickey MS. Effects of caffeine on the metabolic and catecholamine responses to exercise in 5 and 28 degrees C. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1994;26(4):453-458.


2. Brice CF, Smith AP. Effects of caffeine on mood and performance: a study of realistic consumption. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2002;164(2):188-192. doi:10.1007/s00213-002-1175-2


3. Bensalem J, Dudonné S, Etchamendy N, et al. Polyphenols From Grape and Blueberry Improve Episodic Memory in Healthy Elderly with Lower Level of Memory Performance: A Bicentric Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Study. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2019;74(7):996-1007. doi:10.1093/gerona/gly166


4. Bowtell JL, Aboo-Bakkar Z, Conway ME, Adlam A-LR, Fulford J. Enhanced task-related brain activation and resting perfusion in healthy older adults after chronic blueberry supplementation. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2017;42(7):773-779. doi:10.1139/apnm-2016-0550


5. Subash S, Essa MM, Al-Adawi S, Memon MA, Manivasagam T, Akbar M. Neuroprotective effects of berry fruits on neurodegenerative diseases. Neural Regen Res. 2014;9(16):1557-1566. doi:10.4103/1673-5374.139483


6. Dong S, Zeng Q, Mitchell ES, et al. Curcumin Enhances Neurogenesis and Cognition in Aged Rats: Implications for Transcriptional Interactions Related to Growth and Synaptic Plasticity. PLoS One. 2012;7(2). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0031211

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Scarleth Castro,BA Nutritionist, Health & Fitness Educator

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