(Last Updated on March 4, 2022)
The brain is the most significant body part. It maintains a healthy heart rate, proper functioning lungs and motor and verbal skills.
The market is flooded with pills that promise to boost cognitive function, but before you reach out to some of these smart drugs, try out nootropic foods.
Most people think that nootropics come only in pills, but nootropics can be part of your daily meals.
Certain foods play a crucial role in maintaining brain performance and protecting it from neurodegenerative mental decline.
But, you need to take these foods regularly to enjoy an improved mental performance.
Here are our top 8 best nootropic foods.
Read next: Best Nootropics We Recommend
Best 8 Proven Nootropic Foods
Nuts are beneficial to the brain and the entire body.
They improve brain function, sleep and the ability to learn.
Studies show that they enhance brainwaves function resulting in better information processing, concentration, memory and reaction time.
Nuts are rich in flavonoids, powerful antioxidants that prevent free radical damage.
They promote neuroprotection, neurogenesis, angiogenesis and blood flow in the brain.
Besides, they contain healthy fats, amino acids and other antioxidants – vitamin E, lutein, zeaxanthin, resveratrol, and folate. Vitamin E 1 protects brain cells from oxidative stress-reducing age-related cognitive decline; thus, it lowers the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
These nuts include hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, pistachios, brazil nuts, peanuts, and cashews.
Walnuts offer extra benefits to the brain because they contain omega-3 fatty acids- alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) that lowers blood pressure, and shields arteries providing brain boosting benefits.
Tip: Add an ounce of nuts to your diet daily to enjoy long term cognitive benefits.
Blue Berries are rich in anthocyanins-compounds that contain antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that protect the brain against age-related cognitive decline.
Antioxidants prevent free radical damage and prevent inflammation that causes brain ageing.
Studies 2 show that blueberries promote neuro-communication, improve memory and prevent short term memory loss.
In yet another study, women who consumed blueberries every week reduced memory decline by about two and a half years.
Tip: Take about one cup of blueberries every day; add in your yoghurt, cereals or desert.
For a long time, fatty fish has been associated with better memory and improved general brain health.
Oily fish contains omega-3 fats – DHA and EPA; DHA offers benefits to neuronal membranes and EPA offers anti-inflammatory properties.
Additionally, they contain astaxanthin, a potent antioxidant that fights free radical damage, protecting neuronal cell membranes.
A recent study reported that individuals with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids had a better cognitive function, learning ability, concentration, mood and increased blood circulation in the brain.
Oily fish include salmon, sardines, trout, kipper, tuna, herring and mackerel.
Tip: Eat at least 4-ounce serving of fatty fish at least twice in a week.
You are probably more alert after a cup of coffee or tea.
Coffee contains caffeine and antioxidants, which boost mental function.
Research shows that caffeine boosts alertness, concentration, memory and the ability to consolidate long term memories.
Caffeine inhibits the activity of adenosine, a neurotransmitter that lowers mental stamina and induces drowsiness.
Additionally, it stimulates the release of serotonin, feel-good neurotransmitter that enhances mood.
Antioxidants reduce oxidative stress and lower the risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease in the long term.
Tip: To enhance brain function, take 1 to 2 cups of coffee daily.
Excessive consumption may give an opposite effect causing adrenal burnout – mental fatigue.
Dark leafy vegetables
Dark leafy vegetables are rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoids that have proven to boost cognitive function, including information processing speed and working memory.
Research shows that leafy green vegetables improve overall cognitive functioning.
Kales and spinach also contain folate, beta carotene and vitamin K that are associated with slower cognitive decline, improved mental clarity and increased focus.
Tip: Consume a good amount of dark leafy vegetables in every meal.
The greener the vegetable, the better.
Dark chocolate contains cacao that is rich in flavonoids, antioxidants that fight oxidative stress which causes age-related cognitive decline.
Research shows that cacao flavonoids promote neuron and blood vessels growth, boost learning and memory, increase blood flow and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and stroke.
Dark chocolate also contains magnesium, a mineral that lowers stress and triggers the release of serotonin and endorphins that enhance mood.
Tip: Take 1 to 2 ounces of dark chocolate every day.
More than that may contain many calories; avoid milk enriched chocolate, go for the darkest possible.
Eggs are rich in choline, folate, vitamin B6 and Vitamin B12, nutrients that are significant in brain health.
Choline is a precursor to acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that enhances memory and mood.
Also, choline facilitates signalling between neurons in the brain.
A 2013 study showed that high levels of choline results in improved memory and general cognitive function.
Besides, B vitamins are associated with slower age-related cognitive decline.
Tip: The recommended daily choline intake is 550mg for men and 425 for women.
Single egg yolk contains 125mg of choline.
Broccoli 3 is a cruciferous vegetable rich in potent antioxidants, Vitamin K and Vitamin C.
It contains glucosinolates and sulforaphane, antioxidant compounds that prevent free radical damage and inflammation.
Therefore, they promote better brain function and reduce the risk of age-related cognitive decline.
Besides, it contains Vitamin K, which is closely associated with better memory and cognitive function.
Vitamin C is also a powerful antioxidant that prevents oxidative stress which may damage brain cells.
Tip: Ensure to take at least 1 cup of broccoli each day.
The above nootropic foods may enhance cognitive function, including memory, focus, and information processing speed, as well as reduce the risk of age-related cognitive decline.
They are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, choline, B vitamins, Vitamin K, folate and antioxidants including Vitamin E which boost cognitive function.
Antioxidants protect the brain from inflammation and free radical damage while other nutrients support neuron growth, memory and information processing speed.