12 Brain Boosters
Feeling a little foggy? Here are are some simple ways to boost your brain power and lift fatigue.
You may believe a quick G&T or glass of red wine helps you think – and if it works for you, that’s good – but there are some other options if brain fog is affecting your thinking.
Fatigue and general tiredness and stress all affect your memory, so have a look at what might be able to give you a lift.
The caffeine in coffee really does make you more alert. A cup can also help you concentrate and boost your mood.
Plus, lifelong coffee drinkers may have a lower risk of stroke and Alzheimer’s disease.
2. Green tea
If you’re not a coffee drinker, this is another way to get your daily caffeine. Like coffee, tea can make you feel more alert.
There’s also evidence that green tea improves memory and attention. Experts can’t point to one component that makes these leaves so brain healthy but it’s likely the blend of healthy plant chemicals it contains.
3. Berry juices
Throw some blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries into a juicer, or blend them into your favorite smoothie. However you drink them, berries are brain food.
They’re high in antioxidants that protect your cells from damage and are also a good source of plant chemicals like anthocyanins that support healthy memory.
Caution: keep it fresh as bought, prepared, juices can be high in sugar. Always check the label for any form of sugar or sweetener.
Kombucha is a mixture of black tea, sugar, bacteria, and yeast and there are claim it helps with everything from high blood pressure to diabetes and cancer.
It is believed these healthy germs boost immunity and bring down inflammation.
Caution: be careful as if you don’t prepare this sour tea correctly and store it in the fridge, you could drink some bad germs along with the good.
5. Green smoothie
Research finds just one serving of green vegetables a day can help slow mental decline as you age. Spinach and kale are rich in brain-friendly nutrients like folate and lutein.
But you don’t need to eat them to reap their benefits. Blend 2 ounces of greens with berries, a banana, and ice for a rich, nutritious drink that’s also loaded with vitamins A and C.
This yellow spice is a main ingredient in curry, and it adds an earthy flavour to tea. Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric is useful for skin, joint, and digestive issues.
Researchers are looking at its protective effects on the brain and whether it might improve memory and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
Lead researcher Small said the people who took curcumin (the active ingredient in turmeric that provides the spice its characteristic yellow colour) experienced significant improvements in their memory and attention abilities, while the subjects who received placebo did not.
In memory tests, the people taking curcumin improved by 28 percent over the 18 months. Recent research shows that curcumin can stimulate the brain hormone BDNF, which can boost and preserve the functioning of neurons.
7. Beetroot juice
The juice is high in antioxidants that protect against damaging substances in the body called free radicals. It also has nitrates that relax blood vessels and may help to reduce high blood pressure.
At menopause there is an increased risk for stroke and dementia and beetroot juice also helps fight fatigue.
8. Ginseng tea
This root has been a staple of traditional Chinese medicine for centuries and may help increase stamina, boost concentration, and improve memory.
Researchers are studying whether it could also protect against depression, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Caution: Asian ginseng can cause side effects, including trouble sleeping. Because it can lower blood sugar, check with your doctor before using it if you have diabetes.
9. Hot chocolate
Cocoa is rich in flavanols, plant-based substances that help improve attention, processing speed, and memory.
A cup of this might also protect against mental decline, especially in people who are at higher risk for dementia.
Caution: stick to dark chocolate, whether as cocoa or chocolate bars, as dark has more flavanols than milk or white. And don’t overdo it as chocolate is high in fat, calories, and sugar.
10. Lemon water
Your whole body needs water – including your brain – because when you’re dehydrated, your mental function suffers.
Water makes up 75% of your brain’s volume and acts as a natural shock absorber. Add a squeeze of lemon to your glass of water for both flavour and vitamin C.
Lemons have plant nutrients that protect your cells from damage and some people find that its scent improves their mood.
11. Red wine
If a glass relaxes you, enjoy it. Red wine is high in natural chemicals that fight inflammation and protect cells in your brain from damage.
Red wine may have health benefits because of its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and lipid-regulating effects. It is a relatively rich source of resveratrol, a natural antioxidant in the skin of grapes. Antioxidants reduce oxidative stress in the body.
Moderate wine drinking could help prevent the blood clots that can lead to stroke and reduce the risk of dementia.
Caution: just watch how much you drink as more than one glass a day for women can worsen brain changes and increase dementia risk.
12. Hormone balance
Brain fog is very common at menopause, partly due to the natural effects of ageing but also to the changing hormones.
If you feel you are lacking in hormone balance it is generally related at menopause to oestrogen dominance so rebalancing with bioidentical progesterone can help.
Not sure which hormone you may need? This article can help.