It’s time to up your brain game and choose foods that can improve memory and concentration for achieving better focus this fall.
As the most complex part of the human body, prioritizing your brain health is essential to overall well-being. So much of what we do on a daily basis influences our brain’s function. Sleep. Move. Socialize. Eat. Learn. Supplement. You name it!
**This post was sponsored by Neuriva. I am compensated by Reckitt, maker of Neuriva, for my involvement with Neuriva and the Neuriva Brain Health Experts. All thoughts and opinions presented are my own.
Benefits of Trying a Brain Supplement
Choosing a high-quality brain supplement that’s backed by science can also help improve brain health indicators. The brain health supplement, Neuriva, can be part of your holistic regimen to support focus, learning, memory, concentration, accuracy, reasoning, and mental alertness. You can find Neuriva in a number of formulations including Original, Plus, and Ultra capsules to support your lifestyle goals. In addition to supplementing with Neuriva, you can also support your brain health by using the Neuriva Brain Gym app, which offers five training programs focused on improving key indicators of brain health.
How to Foster Positive Brain Habits
With summer coming to a close, most workplaces are looking to kick it into gear and improve productivity. However, going into overdrive can lead to increased demands on the mind and body.
Instead, foster positive brain habits by creating a plan for a much-needed mental reboot. Consider integrating the Neuriva Brain Gym app into your routine to help you build cognitive skills and track your focus and concentration over time.
Benefits of Improved Focus
Improving your focus can help you become a soaring success both in and outside the workplace. It may help you complete daily tasks more efficiently and effectively, ultimately freeing up more time for what you love most.
Better focus may also be the missing link to mastering that beloved golf swing, salsa move, or yoga practice. So, don’t stress—instead, refresh! As a first step to ridding the summer brain fog and equipping the mind to handle all of life’s adventures, prioritize a plant-based lifestyle with brain food snacks and meals! These phytonutrient-rich foods have brain-boosting powers packed in every bite.
Brain Foods with a Plant-Based Focus
Getting plant-powered is all the rage—and for good reason! Embracing your inner veg-head can potentially lead to:
- reduced inflammation and oxidative stress
- improved cardiovascular health
- decreased risk of certain cancers.
Not to mention, it’s an environmentally sustainable way to improve cognitive function! Cognition includes the ability to learn, think, reason, remember, problem solve, make decisions, and pay attention. Research shows that more than half of consumers prioritize food product sustainability. So, lend Mother Nature a helping hand by enjoying all the nutrient-dense goods she has to offer (1)!
But meat enthusiasts, romaine calm! Adopting a more plant-forward diet doesn’t mean you must become vegan or vegetarian. Discover how to reap the brain benefits of boosting tasty plant-based foods that improve memory and concentration. The trick is to set realistic, achievable, and sustainable goals that fit your lifestyle.
Brain Foods as Fuel
Plant the seed to support cognitive performance by embracing a plant-forward lifestyle. Emerging evidence suggests an association between dietary habits and cognitive performance. Specifically, a Mediterranean-style diet rich in fish, whole grains, green leafy vegetables, olives, and nuts may help maintain brain health. When combined with elements of the Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension (DASH) Diet the Mediterranean-DASH Diet Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND diet) has been shown to support the health of the aging brain (2).
The MIND diet includes foods rich in vitamins, carotenoids and flavonoids that are believed to protect the brain by reducing oxidative stress and inflammation and limits the intake of animal and high saturated fat foods (2). The effects of the MIND diet on cognition showed greater results than either the Mediterranean or the DASH diet alone (3). As the saying goes, “we are what we eat.” So, prioritize your brain health by embracing these types of brain food snacks and meals!
Brain Foods for Memory
Consuming a variety of plant-based, colorful foods offers a number of health benefits due to the unique phytonutrients they contain. Early-stage research has found that phytonutrients may help improve interneuron signaling (neuron-to-neuron communication), helping to decrease the risk of neurodegenerative disease (4).So, eating a diverse array of plants can help keep your mind alert and your body feeling its best.
However, if you are feeling especially motivated to eat for your brain health, certain foods are worth incorporating into your diet.
Blueberries and Memory
For example, blueberries are very high in antioxidants and a great food for memory. A recent research review shows that regular blueberry consumption has demonstrated to increase Brain-Derived-Neurotrophic-Factor (BDNF), helping to improve cognition (5). BDNF is a neuroprotein that stimulates and manages the process of neurogenesis, which is how new neurons are formed in the brain. It’s involved in maintaining the health of existing brain cells and supporting overall cognitive function, including memory and learning (6,7). The ingredients in Neuriva, such as Neurofactor, have also been shown to increase BDNF known to support connections between neurons (8).
Additionally, blueberries also contain phytonutrients that help mitigate UV/UVB damage all while improving memory (9,10). It’s no wonder blueberries are considered a brain food snack and superfood!
Beets and Memory
But if you are worried about missing a beat at work or in your daily routine, embrace beets for brain focus! Research shows that beet juice increases blood flow to brain regions involved in executive functioning in seniors (11,12). The nitric oxide in beets is good for your heart and brain (13,14).
While it may not be as commonly noted as a “superfood,” not all heroes wear capes. This radiantly red food is packed with phytonutrients!
Brain Healthy Foods
Feel good with flavonoid foods! Flavonoids are a type of phytonutrient that have been shown to hinder neuroinflammation and strengthen cognitive performance human clinical trials and in vivo experiments (15). Apples, berries, leafy greens, and cacao powder all contain flavanols, providing a tasty way to protect the brain (16).
- Allow your brain to catch up with catechins! This notable phytonutrient found in apples, berries, grapes, and teas helps protect and preserve brain cell structure (17-19).
- Also, try to consume more foods that include resveratrol, a type of polyphenol found in red grapes, blueberries, and peanuts that has been shown to provide cardiovascular, cognitive, and anti-inflammatory benefits (19,20).
- The next time you’re hungry between meals, reach for brain food snacks, like peanuts, grapes, or an apple! Resveratrol may also improve memory in older adults (21).
- Additionally, anthocyanins found in black rice, blueberries, cherries, red cabbage, and radishes help boost cognitive function (16).
To get started with a brain-healthy lifestyle, substitute a plant-based protein alternatives like tofu or tempeh for an animal protein serving or two. Plant-based proteins offer disease-fighting phytonutrients. So, prioritizing their consumption can help improve overall health and well-being without needing to completely eliminate animal products from your routine. After all, life is about balance!
Setting Realistic Expectations
Eating a plant-based diet benefits your brain, waistline, AND the planet (22-24). But drastic changes are far from sustainable. It’s all about making small yet significant changes that yield big results. In other words, don’t expect your “steak and potatoes” partner to substitute for a kale salad any time soon. But how about adding chopped greens to meatballs, beans to turkey chili, or peppers to an omelet? Slow and steady wins the race.
The easiest way to embrace a plant-forward lifestyle is to revolutionize foods your household already knows and loves. Reinvent your Sunday meat sauce by substituting it for a marinara with textured vegetable proteins or ground mushrooms. It has a similar texture and taste yet packs a fibrous and phytonutrient punch. Still too adventurous? How about half and half? Once familiarity sets in, experiment with spaghetti squash. Once cooked, this yellow squash turns into noodle-like threads that can be eaten just like spaghetti.
Find a starting point that makes sense for your household. For more plant-based substitutions, check out these easy-peasy mealtime ideas.
5 Brain Food Meals
By boosting brain food, you can help support cognition. Coupled with adding Neuriva to your daily supplement routine, you may start to see improvements in cognition, and help you perform better on tasks such as learning, thinking, memory, problem solving, logical reasoning, decision making, and paying attention. If you’re transitioning to more plants, include these customizable brain food meals to be 100% plant-based or animal-plant hybrids.
1. Black bean burgers made easy.
Skip the pan-fry and opt for baking on a cookie sheet. Then, simply bake and slice into squares!
Get back-to-back benefits with black beans! These fiber-filled and protein-packed legumes also contain quercetin—a phytonutrient that helps protect your neurons against oxidative stress for better brain health (25).
2. Tofu or lentil-based Sloppy Joes.
Talk about a nostalgic favorite! But, if you aren’t wanting to embrace a full veg meal, mix tofu or lentils with ground turkey.
Tofu contains isoflavone compounds that may help improve learning and memory skills in menopausal women (26). Isoflavones may also help prevent cognitive decline due to their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Not to mention, it keeps the heart pumping strong. Specifically, soy isoflavones may reduce cardiovascular risk—a health issue associated with dementia. So, help kick cognitive decline to the curb with isoflavones (27)!
3. Tempeh tacos served with slaw
Add in grilled chicken if you’re just starting to go more plant-based.
Say yay for tempeh! This fermented soybean packs a powerful punch of wholesome nutrition. It’s similar to tofu, providing the same benefits from isoflavones. However, this plant-based protein gets bonus points for its fermented nature, which offers neuroprotective properties against neurotoxicity and reactive oxygen species (28). In fact, research shows that high consumption of tempeh is positively associated with improved memory function in older adults (29). Talk about a brain healthy food!
4. Colorful smoothies.
Smoothies make plant-based food diversification easy—and contain foods that improve memory and concentration, such as blueberries (30), strawberries(30,31)apples (32) or walnuts (33).
So, embrace the rainbow for brain-boosting benefits. Don’t forget to include colors such as whites, black, or brown! For instance, foods such as cocoa powder and chia seeds are packed with protein, fiber, and phytonutrients (16)! Specifically, cocoa powder is rich in flavanols such as catechin and epicatechin. It helps increase cerebral blood flow and may improve cognitive function while reducing mental fatigue. In other words, chocolate is not only good for the soul but for the brain as well (34)!
6. Nutty breadcrumbs.
Replace refined flour breadcrumbs with a nutty alternative. Experiment with walnut pesto or crushed walnuts mixed with breadcrumbs when breading extra firm tofu or baked chicken.
Walnuts contain antioxidants, including flavonoids, phenolic acid, melatonin, folate, vitamin E, selenium, and others for the brain. They’re a great source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)—a plant-based omega-3 fatty acid that helps combat inflammation. Research shows that people who regularly consume walnuts have improved cognitive function and memory compared to those who don’t (35).
5 Brain Food Snacks
Don’t let snack attacks interfere with your focus at work or your goals for living a brain-healthy lifestyle. Instead, include plant-based options that power your productivity and keep your attention between meals. If you don’t like a specific plant food in one form or variety, don’t rule it out without trying it a new way. After all, everyone deserves a second chance! So, if hummus isn’t a fan favorite, experiment with roasted chickpeas!
Here are some other plant-forward brain food snack choices and their benefits.
1. “Nice” cream.
Blend frozen fruit like bananas, cherries, or mangos into “ice-cream” then top with frozen pistachios.
Fruits offer fiber, aid in digestive movement, and help control blood sugar. Fiber is fermented by the gut microbiome and releases short-chain fatty acids, including butyrate. This compound provides therapeutic benefits to the brain for its role in pathways related to related diseases (36).
2. Sliced apple with peanut butter.
Sweet and savory flavors are a match made in heaven. Plus, these plant-based foods are a dynamic duo for better brain health. Specifically, apples contain quercetin, while peanuts have resveratrol—supporting improved memory. Research also shows that regular peanut consumption improved cerebrovascular and cognitive function (37).
3. Nutritional yeast as a snack seasoning.
Embrace the flavorful beast of nutritional yeast! Add this faux-cheesy goodness to popcorn for an irresistible treat that can’t be beat.
Then, toss this polyphenol-rich corn with olive oil and Italian seasonings to reap the anti-inflammatory benefits (38). It’s truly a poppin’ snack option!
4. Kale chips in place of snack chips.
Can I hear a “kale yeah!” Research shows that a serving of dark leafy greens may help slow cognitive decline with aging. Thanks to its nutrients such as lutein, vitamin K, nitrate, folate, and more (39)! One study found consumption of at least one serving of green leafy vegetables may help to slow cognitive decline with aging (3). Also, topping kale chips with nutritional yeast gives it a delicious salty umami flavor.
5. Bean dip.
Blend white beans into dips and purées and serve with baked corn tortillas.
White beans contain B vitamins, especially B-6 which help the synthesis of neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), noradrenaline, and the hormone melatonin (40). These are essential biochemicals for our brain and for cognitive function (41). Neuriva Plus also offers the B vitamins, B12, B6, and folate (42).
Brain Health Supplements
While a food-first approach is always a good place to start, how about taking your brain health to the next level? Consider taking a brain health supplement as part of your holistic approach to healthy living. Neuriva Original is a clinically studied formula that showed improvements to the five indicators of brain health: memory, learning, focus, accuracy, and concentration. See the research here. Neuriva’s wide range of products makes it easy to choose the best formulation for achieving your brain health goals. Neuriva is available in Original, Plus and Ultra.
Now that you have a go-to-list of brain food snacks, meals, and supplements for better focus, remember to start with one small step. Tiny steps lead to positive health changes! Commit to one action you’ll take today. Stay tuned for more brain food snacks, meals, and suggestions to help you stay focused all year long!
|These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.|
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