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10 Healthy Foods That Make You Smarter

10 Healthy Foods That Make You Smarter

Does what you eat make you smarter? Yes and no. While a well-balanced diet won’t transform you into a Jeopardy champion, it will sharpen your thinking ability. How alert do you feel after eating a greasy bag of fast food or cream-filled doughnut? The road to Food Coma is paved with empty calories devoid of nutritional content. Your brain will perform better if fueled by healthy fats, fiber, protein, vitamins, and antioxidants. If you’d like to boost your brain power, eat these 10 healthy foods that make you smarter.

1. Nuts

If you tend to snack on a candy bar at work, swap that with some nuts for a more productive afternoon. Sugar will give you a quick hit of energy but it doesn’t last long (and is followed by a sudden, vicious crash). Swapping those empty calories with some healthy fats will give you longer-lasting energy and an improved ability to think. Just make sure you stick with a handful or two per day, because there can be too much of a good thing. All nuts are not created equally, so click here for a guide to the best and worst nuts for your health.

Note: A recent study published in Neurology found that a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids did not improve cognitive function in older women. The jury is still out but nuts are a positive and convenient alternative to sugar-laden snacks that won’t sustain you.

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2. Fish

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that increased fish intake could reduce the risk of dementia by 20%.

3. Tea

If you’d like a morning pick-me-up that will boost your brain power, start your day with a cup of green tea. Tea is packed with antioxidants that increase neuron production in your brain. A study published in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research found that EGCG, an inorganic compound in green tea, prevents memory loss and degenerative diseases.

4. Spinach/Leafy Greens

Swap your fries with a salad or green vegetables for a more positive brain-boosting alternative. Leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, collard, and mustard greens are packed with antioxidants that could slow down or reverse memory loss. A study at Harvard Medical School followed 13,000 women for 25 years and found that increased vegetable intake was associated with reduced cognitive decline.

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5. Oatmeal

A bowl of Captain Crunch might be tasty but it isn’t beneficial for your brain. Simple sugars provide you with a sudden rise in blood sugar that is followed by an equally sudden crash. Oatmeal is a slow-digesting food that will provide you with sustainable energy and brain power that will last for several hours.

6. Berries

Think oatmeal is a bit gross by itself? Sprinkle it with some brown sugar and berries for a tasty treat your brain will appreciate. A study at Brigham and Women’s Hospital found that eating berries could “delay cognitive aging by up to 2.5 years.”

7. Chocolate

A study published in the journal Neurology found that drinking two cups of hot cocoa per day for 30 days improved memory and brain blood flow in elderly people with impaired blood flow.

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8. Coffee

A cup of Joe will provide you with an immediate hit of energy that will help you focus on the task at hand. To discover how beer and coffee affect your brain, click here.

9. Eggs

Egg yolks are a quality source of chlorine, a substance that strengthens your memory and brain power. A study at the Boston University School of Medicine found that high chlorine intake is associated with better scores in memory tests and reduced likelihood of brain changes that precede dementia.

10. Water

Dehydration can damage your ability to focus and recall information, so make sure you’re drinking at least 8 cups of water per day to keep your brain happy and hydrated.

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Make sure you have one of these foods that make you smarter with lunch to avoid mid-afternoon exhaustion. If you used to eat fast food for lunch and have since made a healthy change, did you notice a difference in your energy or memory as a result?

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Daniel Wallen

Daniel is a writer who focuses on blogging about happiness and motivation at Lifehack.

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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