Advertising
Advertising

Want Better Focus And Memory? 10 Foods To Boost Your Brainpower

Want Better Focus And Memory? 10 Foods To Boost Your Brainpower

Your food choices have a huge influence on your health and vitality. Some foods can help to protect your organs, whereas other types of food will damage and weaken your organs – including your brain.

Your brain is one your most important organs, yet damage to the brain can be impossible to repair. Thankfully certain foods can help to protect and strengthen the brain, reducing the chances of brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

If you want to boost your brain power, try to include these 10 foods in your diet:

Advertising

1. Avocado
pexels-photo-24311

    Some people avoid avocados due to their high fat content, but they are great for the brain. Avocados are filled with both folate and vitamin K, which help to improve cognitive function and prevent blood clots in the brain.

    2. Coconut oil
    coconut

      Coconut oil is known for its numerous benefits, including helping to boost brain power. This is because coconut oil can enhance the ability of neurons in the brain while slowing the production of free radicals that can damage the brain. They also contain saturated fat and antioxidants, which is an essential nutrient for brain function.[1]

      3. Beets
      beetz

        Beets contain natural nitrates that help to boost blood flow to the brain, improving mental performance. They also reduce inflammation in the body and they are filled with antioxidants that help to rid your blood of toxins.

        Advertising

        4. Blueberries
        pexels-photo-70862

          Blueberries are known as a super food, so it may come as no surprise that they can benefit your brain. Blueberries are one of the most antioxidant-rich foods, containing vitamin K, vitamin C, fiber and gallic acid, which protects the brain from degeneration and stress, helping to improve memory.[2]

          5. Dark Chocolate
          pexels-photo-94439

            Dark chocolate is good for the body and brain in small quantities. This is because it is filled with flavonols which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Dark chocolate can also lower blood pressure and improve the flow of blood to the brain.

            However it is import to make sure that you buy dark chocolate; both milk and white chocolate are highly processed and they won’t benefit your brain. Look out for chocolate that is at least 70% if you want to boost brain power!

            Advertising

            6. Leafy Greens
            pexels-photo-134877

              Leafy greens such as spinach, kale, romaine lettuce and Swiss chard are great for your brain; recent research has found that they can even help to reduce the chances of dementia.

              The research looked at the eating habits and mental abilities of nearly 1,000 adults over a period of five years. The researchers found that adults who ate leafy green vegetables at least once a day experienced slower mental deterioration that the adults who ate no vegetables.[3] This was still true even when the researchers factored in age and family history of dementia.

              7. Wild salmon
              appetite-banana-calories-catering-161481

                Wild salmon is a great source of omega-3 oil DHA, which helps to boost brain power. DHA is an important oil that helps to maintain the health of your brain cells – it even helps to increase the growth of brain cells. This can help to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.[4]

                Advertising

                8. Almonds
                pexels-photo-57042

                  Almonds, much like wild salmon, contain lots of omega-3 fatty acids that benefit the brain and boost brain power. Almonds also contain vitamin E which helps to further protect the brain.

                  9. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
                  pexels-photo-186696

                    Extra virgin oil can help to boost brain power as it contains antioxidants known as polyphenols. Polyphenols can help to improve both learning and memory, and they can even reverse the effects of age and disease. Extra virgin olive oil also fights against the proteins that induce Alzheimer’s.

                    10. Turmeric
                    spices-flavorings-seasoning-food

                      Turmeric can help to reduce inflammation in the brain, and recent studies have even suggested that it can be used to treat Alzheimer’s [5]. Turmeric has been used for thousands of years in the fight against brain degeneration; researchers have found Vedic texts that date back over 3,000 reporting that turmeric can boost brain power!

                      Reference

                      [1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4247320/
                      [2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2850944/
                      [3] https://consumer.healthday.com/senior-citizen-information-31/misc-aging-news-10/lots-of-leafy-greens-might-shield-aging-brains-study-finds-697909.html
                      [4] http://www.drperlmutter.com/study/fish-consumption-and-the-risk-of-alzheimer-disease/
                      [5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2781139/

                      More by this author

                      Amy Johnson

                      Amy is a writer who blogs about relationships and lifestyle advice.

                      10 Health Benefits Of Avocado If You Feel Trapped, Do These 9 Things To Take Your Life Back If You Feel Trapped, Do These 9 Things To Take Your Life Back This List of 50 Low-cost Hobbies Will Excite You Daily Routine of Successful People That Will Inspire You to Achieve More 15 Inspirational Weekend Activities to do by Yourself

                      Trending in Brain

                      1 How to Tap into Your Right Brain’s Potential 2 Are You Right-Brain Dominant? (7 Right Brain Characteristics) 3 What Is Creative Thinking and Why Is It Important? 4 How Systems Thinking Makes You a Smarter Person 5 15 Brain Foods That Will Super Boost Your Brain Power

                      Read Next

                      Advertising
                      Advertising
                      Advertising

                      Last Updated on March 30, 2020

                      How to Tap into Your Right Brain’s Potential

                      How to Tap into Your Right Brain’s Potential

                      You may have heard someone say they are “totally right brained” or that they’re “a left brained person.”

                      There is a pervasive myth that’s been making its rounds for over a century: people have two hemispheres of their brains, and if they have a dominant left brain, they’re more analytical; and if they have a dominant right brain, they are more creative.

                      Before we go debunking this theory and then giving some tips for how people can access their creative brain centers, let’s first take a look at where the left brain/right brain lateralization theory comes from.

                      The Left Brain/Right Brain Lateralization Theory

                      In the 1800s, scientists discovered that when patients injured one side of their brains, certain skills were lost.[1] Scientists linked those different skills to one side of the brain or the other. Thus began the left brain/right brain myth that continues to this day.

                      Then, in the 1960s and 70s, Roger W. Sperry led 16 operations that cut the corpus callosum (the largest region that connects both brain hemispheres together) in order to try to treat patients’ epilepsy. Sperry wrote about the differences in the two hemispheres as a result of those surgeries.[2]

                      Sperry’s work was popularized in 1973 with a New York Times article about his lateralization theory—that people were either right brained (read: logical) or left brained (read: creative). From here, Sperry won the Nobel Prize for his work and numerous other publications spread the right brain/left brain myth.

                      Debunking the Right Brain/Left Brain Myth

                      If anything, the lateralization theory of the brain is a gross exaggeration. It is true that people have two hemispheres of their brains. It is also true that there are differences in the composition of those two hemispheres.

                      Advertising

                      However, the hemispheres are actually much more interconnected than Sperry’s work initially made it seem.

                      In a 2013 study,[3] scientists scanned over 1000 people’s brains, checking for lateralization. They confirmed that certain brain functions occur predominately in one hemisphere or the other but that, in reality, the brain is actually much more interconnected and complex than the right brain/left brain lateralization theory makes it seem.[4][5]

                      A New Metaphor for Right Brain/Left Brain

                      How do we get past this right brain/left brain myth?

                      First, let’s look at what contemporary cognitive science says about brain regions, and creative and logical modes of thinking.

                      My background is as an improviser and improv researcher. I wrote Theatrical Improvisation, Consciousness, and Cognition and think looking at improvisation and the brain can shed light on a new model for talking about unlocking the brain’s creative potential.

                      Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) brain scans have shown that while trained improvisers improvise (musically on a keyboard, rapping, and comedic improvisation) an interesting shift happens in their brain activity. [6]

                      A region called the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex decreases in activity and creative language centers such as the medial prefrontal cortex increase in activity. The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is linked with conscious thoughts—that inner voice that tells you not to say something or criticizes you when you do.

                      Advertising

                      The medial prefrontal cortex is among the brain regions linked with creativity. So, instead of thinking about right brain and left brain, perhaps it’s more current and correct to think about more specific brain regions instead of hemispheres. Perhaps, it’s more useful to think about which activities and strategies will allow us to inhibit our dorsolateral prefrontal cortexes and allow our medial prefrontal cortexes to flourish.

                      How to Enhance Your “Right Brain” — Creativity

                      Whether we’re talking about right brain versus left brain, creative versus logical, or medial prefrontal cortex versus dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, we still know enough to talk about strategies to tap into your creative brain’s full potential.

                      So, now that we’ve dispelled the right brain/left brain myth and looked at a more contemporary, cognitive neuroscience theory of brain regions and creativity centers, let’s look at how to tap into the potential of your creative brain.

                      1. Performing Arts

                      One way to tap into your creative brain centers is to participate in the performing arts. Whether you improvise, act, or dance, the performing arts allow you an embodied experience that will help you snap out of your habitual, logical thoughts.

                      Another benefit of the performing arts is that it changes your attention. Attention and creativity are inextricably linked. When we improvise, act, or dance, we have to focus intently on our fellow performers. This means we are forced to focus less on our conscious, logical thoughts. This frees us up for more creative thinking and expression.[7]

                      One of the conclusions of my research on improvisation is that focusing intensely on fellow improvisers and the task at hand makes it more likely that we experience a flow state. Dr. Csikszentmihalyi,[8] a Professor of Psychology and Management defines flow as an optimal psychological state when our skills match the difficulty of the task at hand. Our perception of time is altered as we get into the zone and become more present and in the moment during our chosen activity.[9]

                      A flow state is a creative state. It’s the opposite of crunching numbers and forcing ourselves to work out a problem with the conscious regions of our brain. So, get up, improvise, act, or dance to access your creativity.

                      Advertising

                      2. Visual Art

                      Art teacher Betty Edwards[10] wrote a book called Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. Here again, we see that a shift in our attention can lead us to an increase in our creative thinking.

                      Edwards’ book gives art students tricks to shift the way they see the world. For example, one exercise encourages students to literally flip whatever it is they’re drawing upside down before they draw it. This forces budding artists to literally see the object in a new way. This shift allows them to focus more on the individual components and patterns of the object, which allows them to draw it better.

                      Shifting how we see things is another way we can access our creative brain centers. Take an art class to shut off your conscious, critical thoughts and start seeing things from a new, more creative perspective.

                      3. Zone Out

                      If there’s one thing creativity doesn’t like, it’s being coerced.

                      I think we’ve all felt that awful feeling of trying to force ourselves to be creative. When we force it, we’re really trying to force our logical brain regions to be creative. It’s like asking your gardener to perform your appendix surgery. It’s just not what she does.

                      Instead, stop forcing it. Take a break. Take a long walk or a relaxing bath or shower. Let your mind wander.

                      Whatever you do, stop forcing it. This break lets your creative centers rise to the surface of your attention and get heard.

                      Advertising

                      4. Practice Mindfulness

                      The final trick to start accessing your so-called right brain is to practice mindfulness.

                      Now, there’s a lot of different ways to go about mindfulness. You can take a more physical approach with a yoga class. Or you can try meditating to become more aware and in tune with your thoughts and feelings: Meditation for Beginners: How to Meditate Deeply and Quickly

                      You could also try to incorporate fun mindfulness exercises[11] into your everyday routine like forcing yourself to go on detours or pretending you’re a detective who needs to examine people and places closely.

                      Any way you do it, mindfulness exercises and training can help you become better versed in how your brain works and what your normal thought process is like on a day-to-day basis. If we’re ever going to reach our optimal creativity, we have to become an expert in how our individual brain functions. Mindfulness is one way to become your very own brain expert.

                      Mindfulness also has added benefits like calming us, slowing our breathing, and helping us become more observant, which are also great ways to start tapping into our creative potential.

                      Final Thoughts

                      So, it may not be correct to say that our right brain is our creative brain, but it is still a valid pursuit to try to optimize our creative brain centers.

                      The key to do so is to relax, become observant, shift your perspective, move your body, try something new, and, whatever you do, don’t force it.

                      Creativity can feel slippery. It can abandon us when we need it most, but by slowing down and looking at things from a new perspective, we can give ourselves a better chance of tapping into our ultimate creativity, even if that doesn’t exactly mean our “right brain.”

                      More Tips on Boosting Creativity

                      Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

                      Reference

                      Read Next