5 Brain-Boosting Foods, Herbs & Supplements You Should Be Using - URBANETTE: Lifestyle Magazine & Blog

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5 Brain-Boosting Foods, Herbs & Supplements You Should Be Using

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Do you ever wonder about Albert Einstein’s diet? Perhaps I have too much time on my hands, but you have to admit, it would be interesting to know what made him so smart? I bet you his diet had a lot to do with it. Food is medicine. I firmly believe that. It not only fuels our body, but also our minds. Are you eating the foods that will enhance cognitive performance, or hinder it?

There are many natural ways to boost cognitive performance, but I am going to focus on the top foods, herbs and natural supplements that will supercharge your mind and have your family and friends calling you Einstein, in no time.

5 Brain-Boosting Foods, Herbs & Supplements You Should Be Using

Beets

Let’s face it-we are getting older every day. As we get older, we have less blood flow to certain parts of the brain. Behold the beet!!! Drinking beet juice restores blood flow to the parts of the brain that are compromised when we get older, improving cognitive function. For those of you who have juicers, this brain-boosting ingredient should be in every glass. If not, stop by a Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s and pick yourself up a bottle of beet juice. Your brain will thank you.

5 Brain-Boosting Foods, Herbs & Supplements You Should Be UsingBlueberries

Recent studies show that the powerful antioxidants and phytochemicals in blueberries may improve cognitive function. Studies have shown that blueberries protect the brain from oxidative stress and may reduce the effects of age-related conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. British scientists who made the discovery believe the antioxidants in blueberries stimulate the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain – and keep the mind fresh for up to 5 hours later. Sprinkle them over your salad or buy organic frozen blueberries and add them into your morning smoothie.

Walnuts

Have you ever looked at the shape of a walnut? What does it remind you of? That’s right, a brain. How clever is that? It is shaped like a brain and it helps to enhance your brain function. Walnuts are the only nut source that contain ALA ( alpha-linolenic acid), which helps to promote blood flow and the delivery of oxygen to your brain. Walnuts help to improve memory, learning, and motor skill coordination. So grab a handful and get crackin’.

Garlic

I consider garlic an amazing superfood. It is obviously not something that you want to consume before you go to work every day; garlic-breath is not a good way to make friends. But eating it will help you perform better at work. Not to mention, according to research published by the medical journal “Cancer”, by the American Cancer Society, garlic has been found to stave off some forms of brain cancer by killing off glioblastoma cells, which are malignant tumor cells. Garlic also protects our brain from inflammation that could lead to conditions such as Alzheimer’s Disease.

Avocados

Avocados, are loaded with monounsaturated fats, which improve blood flow. Healthy blood flow=healthy brain. Plus, there are tons of ways to eat them. Did you know that avocados are the ingredient in smoothies that make them so darn rich and creamy? But don’t worry — your smoothie won’t taste like avocado, since they take on the flavor of the smoothie. Or you can simply slice it in half, remove the pit, squeeze a lemon over it and add a dusting of Himalayan salt. Guacamole is another great way to eat avocado.

5 Brain-Boosting Foods, Herbs & Supplements You Should Be Using

Want something you can take on the go? Here are 3 naturally brain-boosting supplements:

Ginkgo Biloba

Studies in both the US and in Europe have found that this herb actually helps to regenerate brain cells and improves memory and brain reaction performance. As far as its brain regenerative properties, Ginkgo can stimulate BDNF, a protein found in the brain and in the peripheral nervous system that is essential in the regulation, growth, and survival of brain cells—especially important for long-term memory. It’s believed that ginkgo works by thinning the blood and thereby improving oxygen flow to the brain. The brain is a glutton for oxygen, so it’s possible that even a slight lack of circulation can affect its performance. (Don’t take it if you’re taking any other blood-thinners, like Asprin or Ibuprofin.) Use it as a tea by bringing 2 cups of water to a boil. Add 1 ounce of organic Ginkgo biloba leaves; let steep for 10 minutes. Strain and serve.

Huperzine-A

Derived from the Chinese moss Huperzia seratta, one study out of China showed that it improved memory and learning, and it has been used in China to boost brain function for centuries. Huperzine-A appears to block an enzyme in the brain that breaks down acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter. Acetylcholine carries information across synapses, the space between brain cells, so the more of it in your brain, the better.

L-Theanine

L-Theanine is typically extracted from green tea and works by effectively crossing the blood-brain barrier and increasing GABA and dopamine levels in the brain. Many users report that by combining L- Theanine extract with coffee they notice a considerable improvement in the quality and depth of their thinking after only an hour or two and they are able to sustain focus and concentration for longer periods of time. There is also now a growing number of research studies to back up this anecdotal user feedback. These studies evidence the effectiveness of combining L- Theanine extract with coffee to deliver an alert and focused mind with exceptional depth and quality of thinking. L-Theanine is one of the few supplements that does not have any known negative side effects when used at the appropriate dosage and appears to negate the jaggedness often associated with coffee while delivering a clear and sharp alertness. A new study from Japan shows that taking daily supplements containing L-Theanine may also help people with anxiety focus on their daily activities.

5 Brain-Boosting Foods, Herbs & Supplements You Should Be Using

…and a few herbs…

Sage

A member of the mint family, sage is a known memory enhancer and may protect the brain against certain processes that lead to Alzheimer’s. It may work by protecting acetylcholine, a chemical messenger in the brain that’s critical to memory. In a British study, healthy young adults performed better on word recall tests after taking sage-oil capsules. Add it to tomato sauce, butternut squash, or steep 2 teaspoons dried sage in just-boiled water for a strong cup of tea that provides a therapeutic dose.

Rosemary

This herb is more than just an aromatic spice. Rosemary has also been traditionally used to improve memory. Science backs this tradition since like Ginkgo biloba, rosemary has been shown among laboratories to have antioxidant properties that neutralize free radicals. The Department of Psychology, School of Life Sciences, at Northumbria University, found that when rosemary is inhaled and eaten, cognitive function increases.

Periwinkle

Known for its antispasmodic, antibacterial, anti-cancer, and sedative effects, periwinkle also makes a great herb that enhances memory. Its seeds and leaves actually contain vincamine, which is considered as a precursor to vinpocetine, a blood thinner that improves circulation of blood to the brain and promotes better oxygen use. Today, this chemical is widely used to enhance memory naturally. In fact, vinpocetine is one of the most potent ingredients found in many pharmaceutical products for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. A cup of periwinkle tea is sky-high in alkaloids—calming, muscle-relaxing, and virus-fighting mega compounds. Pour a teaspoon of organic periwinkle leaves into a cup full of boiling water and let steep for 5 to 10 minutes. Once steeping is done, strain to remove the herbs. The tea can be bitter, so add a teaspoon of raw organic honey to sweeten.

Basil

The lush leaves of this tasty plant are deliciously pungent—the scent alone goads the brain into a flurry of focused ability. The next time you feel stressed, have a cup of organic holy basil tea. It’s been shown to increase blood flow to the brain, improving both mood and memory.

When it comes down to it, good quality deep sleep is probably the most important factor in preserving memory and clarity of thinking during the day. But what you put into your body is a close second! If Einstein were here today, he would agree. Incorporate these superfoods into your diet and watch your cognitive performance soar.

Do you eat specific foods because you know they’re good for you?

Rebecca Ariane Givens is Urbanette's Beauty and Health Editor. She is an expert in all things related to beauty, holistic health, organic food, toxins and fitness. She is a part-time model and nutritionist who grew up in Canada and now lives in Brooklyn, with her boyfriend David.

94 Comments

  1. Hena Taylor

    Basil and Rosemary? That’s good. Those tiny leaves can do wonders to our brain and we don’t know about it! I just always thought of them as design for plating and just a simple flavoring for those dishes.

  2. Lusi Martin

    Wow! I’m addicted to avocados and I didn’t know they were this healthy! Thanks for the info!

  3. Jessi Agusta

    Okay! This is exciting! I never thought of these were this healthy! And really good for the brain. I thought of now of what would I add to the groceries and the recipes that these herbs are included!

  4. Honey Smith

    This is all on my grocery list! I’m happy that I was living healthy without even knowing it. Thank you for this information! I could share this with my friends because this is too good not to be shared!

  5. Bela Christo

    I love blueberry and avocado. I always drink them as smoothies. I guess that’s why my friends always tease me for having a sharp memory and healthy brain! Thank you for this post!

  6. Nancy Smith

    These are all good for the brain? Wow. Didn’t realize that easy to find herbs in the market are so healthy for the brain. Delicious and healthy!

  7. Maria Bruce

    This is interesting! Those ingredients that we’ve been taking and didn’t always mind of, were healthy and boosting our brain.

  8. Quin Meri

    I always drink tea every night before I go to sleep because it relaxes my body and mind which helps me sleep better. I guess I should choose between Basil Tea and Green Tea! Or drink each one every other night.

  9. Ana Brose

    Woah! Garlic? I never thought of that. I always thought of it as an ingredient when you saute. Hahaha

  10. Steev Smith

    My grandma has Alzheimer’s disease. One minute, you can talk to her, and then the next thing you’ll know she’ll be screaming because she thinks you’re a stranger and she in panic. Her doctor told us about these blueberries and we always bought it for her. My family and I also eats them.

  11. Jeni Morgan

    Wow, there is beet juice? I’m curious about its taste! But it’s healthy so, worth a try!

  12. Nellie Solano

    I love blueberries, and their benefits are really good — especially the antioxidants. Helps me with my daily diet and exercise. Bonus with its delicious taste!

  13. Brittany West

    Albert Einstein is a real genius! Maybe he maintains his intelligence with the food he eats, but his brain is one of a kind! If there’s a chance that his brain could be transplanted in mine, I’ll swap it. Lol

  14. Paul Daiz

    I will share this article with my girlfriend. She’s very picky when it comes to the food she’s going to eat. She never tried garlic because of the smell, and I told her that it is good for her health. I’m trying to convince her to eat healthier food, thanks for this!

  15. Lisa Bryson

    I always wanted to live a healthier life. Eating vegetables, and fruits, because it gives us, a lot of health benefits that we need.

  16. Deanna Woods

    When I grow old, I don’t want to forget all the memories I kept in my brain. As much as possible, I avoid having Alzheimer’s disease. I know some people who have this illness and forgot who am I to their lives. I don’t want to live someday, that the people surrounds me would be a total stranger to me.

  17. Genie Mackenzie

    Seriously? Can it boost someone’s brain? Why is my boyfriend’s brain doesn’t function well even though we always eat avocados? Hahaha! Kidding! Love you, Honey!

  18. Robert Patel

    Gingko Biloba has another benefit to give, specifically for men. Lol. You already know what I mean, right? I’ll start drinking more Gingko Biloba!

  19. April Henry

    I need these brain booster foods! I always feel tired, and my brain doesn’t function that well. My boss is mad at me, because of my poor performance. Honestly, I am not living the healthy life, and maybe that is one of the reasons why my brain works like this.

  20. My nutritionist just told me that Gingko Biloba is not JUST a BRAIN booster! HAHAHA If you know what I mean. I’m starting to love Gingko Biloba because of its benefits, not just in our brain, but in other parts as well. Lol.

  21. Doreen Morales

    Oh, I hate garlic. The smell and the taste make me want to vomit. I guess I should practice myself eating garlic for me to have a healthy brain. Besides, it has a lot of benefits to our health.

  22. Brett Lee

    Does these foods you are referring to us will my girlfriend to avoid being oblivious? I hate when she forgets every single detail.

  23. I don’t want to have an Alzheimer’s disease when I grow old. I guess I’ll eat these foods you’ve listed in here. I also want to be as smart as Albert Einstein! Thanks for this!

  24. Ofelia Ruley

    I eat Avocado for my diet. I didn’t know it is also good for my brain! Yay! Will eat more Avocado, because every time I do health research I discover a new way it benefits my body.

  25. Hachi Komatsu

    Blueberries! I love them!!! I always make a blueberry smoothie in the morning. I love blueberries, especially blueberry cheesecake! Oooh. I am craving right now.

  26. We have a neighbor, and his father has Alzheimer’s. I always see them walking, and teaching his father some basic words. I always watched them, and I can see the sadness in his eyes while he is repeatedly telling his father that he is his son. It hurts me, seeing a grown up man, begging to his father to remember him. Whenever I see them in their veranda, I can’t help but cry.

  27. Wow! An article how to have a healthy brain. I don’t want to have an Alzheimer’s disease when I grow old. I know some elders who are experiencing this type of illness, and it makes me sad seeing their relatives crying. I don’t want to forget a single person in my life, but I guess that’s life, you’ll get back from being a baby where you know nothing.

  28. Maddi Lemmon

    I didn’t realize that a healthy diet has such a big effect. I should try eating more vegetables, and fruits. Of course, I won’t become as smart as Albert Einstein…. I wish!

  29. Naincy Winget

    Thanks for sharing! nuts and berries really help to improve brain function. I surely try it. Nice one.

  30. Monika Smith

    Eating healthy foods is good to the mind as well as to the physical health. We can think properly and do things without facing any health problems. We can also avoid having diseases. Thanks for sharing this article .

  31. Sarah Ubitel

    Jeez, I feel like I should be eating these items everyday. Gonna stock up this weekend at Whole Foods!

  32. Charlotte Gurley

    Thank you for sharing these tips. Eating well is good for anyone’s mental as well as physical health. I will try to follow this advice, especially when I have to study. I’m actually consuming blueberries because they are good in improving and delaying short term memory loss. I hope they’ll give me a boost!

  33. Anna Davis

    Thanks for sharing! I enjoyed reading it. Nuts and berries really helps to improve brain function. Eating healthy foods is good to the mind as well as to the physical health. We can think properly and do things without facing any health problems. Keep on posting.☺

  34. Elsie Spurlock

    Very interesting and informative article about brain health.
    It has been proven that by eating these foods, can boost my IQ and improve my mood. With these brain boosting foods I wil be more emotionally stable, sharpen my memory and keep my mind young. This was just what I needed to read this morning. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

  35. Tiffany Norris

    These are all really great items! I love eating sardines and bananas because they are brain-boosters too!

  36. Kim Hartford

    My goodness. Everything on the list is part of my regular diet. Maybe I’ll get smarter and smarter. God knows I have a long way to go to brilliant 🙂 hahaha

  37. Sasha Rosswell

    Thanks for the list. This article makes me want to eat healthier. I must try harder…

  38. Jennifer McSween

    Very interesting article, full of such helpful and useful information. Happy to see I eat a third of them regularly. 🙂

  39. Sabrina Grattidge

    Excellent, good to know. I eat most of these- good to see walnuts on the list- I use garlic with almost everything I cook. Thanks for posting. Good info.

  40. Diana Hewitt

    Great information. Thanks so much for sharing with us! Great foods here – love them all and eat most regularly! One needs all the help they can get with brain and memory! 🙂

  41. Lynn Hayes

    Nice article. Very informative. Thank you! It appears I have a
    well-balanced, healthy diet. 🙂

  42. Roberta Bennett

    Informative article. Thank you for caring and sharing. These are all good foods to eat anyway. 🙂

  43. Christina Brown

    I love this topic as I have been reading all about brain function and enhancers to improve my memory. I’m Keen for more articles on improving brain power. I am using and eating more on plants and herbs and all of the foods above. We all need to see, and read this more often. This will surely be read again and again.?

  44. Frances Seifert

    Well I have 4 out of the 5 you listed on a daily basis, I don’t usually take blueberries, instead I take cranberries instead.

  45. Amanda Roberts

    People are always looking for the fountain of youth. Best way to keep your brain sharp? Read and stimulate it. You can eat pounds of blueberries, but if you are a slow poke it isn’t going to help you.

  46. Merry Robinson

    An important article to wake up to. They are indeed a smart food for every age. I will eat all of them if I will get enough of the right nutrients to support healthy cognitive function and improve my memory. I will share this post to my family and friends. Thanks for posting this!???

  47. Kimberly Thompson

    I eat the above foods because I like them… I question whether they make me smarter or if I’m smart for liking them. 😉

  48. Emma Blackwood

    I agree with each food you named in the article, but you are not suppose to eat anything on a daily basis, for you will have too much of something that is not good.

  49. Catherine White

    Instead of blueberry there is a chokeberry (Aronia) that has much more concentrated flavonoids per weight. It’s also cheaper. I’m eating it and drinking wine of it and I can confirm that the advantages of the berries in the text above are true. 🙂

  50. Nicky Bryan

    Great article. Very helpful tips too. Now that we know what to eat, could you also tell us what not to eat, please? Who knows what unhealthy things we are eating, thinking they’re healthy!

  51. Pearl Nguyen

    I love putting frozen blueberries in a bowl and snacking on them with a toothpick. It beats eating candy. Also I’m buying a lot of beets tomorrow.

  52. Mary Johnston

    Our brains thrive on exercise, both physical and mental. A good example is to read books,walk, run, do puzzles. Eating healthy foods like you’ve mentioned above is essential too. Any learning improves your memory and brain power. This is a must read and helpful!

  53. Doris Tate

    Thanks for sharing this amazing information. I was already using some of these in my diet. I love bluberries and walnuts. I will try to avocado and beets. Both of these look good.

  54. Leslie Williams

    The above are all great foods. I would like to suggest “tea”, such as green or black tea due to their high amount of polyphenols. Brussels sprouts and broccoli are also called “brain maker” foods.

  55. Lucia Pittman

    You did a great job on this post. Keep up the great job!
    Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and advice.

    • Thank you so much. I love having different forums so that I can share my knowledge with others.

  56. Emily Wentz

    I regularly eat several of the foods recommended in the article. I have eaten avacado several times per week for many years now. I believe it is one of the healthiest foods one can eat.

    • Avocadoes are amazing. Did you know that they have more protein than cow’s milk?

  57. Sibel Jenkinson

    Amazing tips. Thanks. The brain can be productive and positive or a waste of time and energy. If you meditate, you are productively creating a healthy life style that influences the brain. The body is the result of your thinking. You can support your body in healthy food that is a symptom of a healthy brain. The cause is thought.

  58. Pamela Sanabria

    I have always been an inquiring reader – I vary my reading – high literature with poetry and scientific theories and techniques which help to raise consciousness – a few years ago I reread thousands of pages of all the reading that I considered to have had a huge influence on my development – an attempt at an intellectual recapitulation – this was quite fruitful and I felt quite stimulated by reassessing at a later stage in my life what had so inspired me at an earlier stage – the exercise of the thinking process through reflection and meditative consideration must, to my mind, be an adjunct to overall brain health – in the 60’s we use to say “use your brain or lose your brain” 😉

  59. Delilah Peyton

    I am always eager, as an aging adult, to learn ways to fortify my brain, and these are all great suggestions, most of which I was not aware of.

    • I’m glad you got something out of the article. Feed your brain natural, healthy foods and your brain will respond in a positive way. Food is medicine.

  60. Kaitlyn Barrett

    Years back, I had read an article that stated a particular (uncommon) walnut breed had significant amount of omega-3 for a plant source. Now I see regular walnuts touted as a source of omega-3 everywhere. Is it really true? Or is that just sensationalism?

  61. Camila Hilhorst

    All of the suggested foods are great Brain Foods. Even better than blueberries are the European version called Bilberries. And whenever possible, buy wild grown berries.

    • Thank you for your comment. Bilberries are amazing as well. They are especially great for eye health. Pilots in World War II would them to see better at night.

  62. Helena Stevens

    Nature has it folks, mix it up don’t settle for just a few, each food is “super/unique”, so try to get as many of the foods as possible in your diet.. They have a very positive influence on your anti-oxidant systems which prevents us from “rusting.”..cheers !

  63. Andrea Mitchell

    Yes, walnuts are a good source of omega-3. Also omega-6. The latter doesn’t get mentioned here because omega-6 has been given such a bad name because it is the substance that is taken from seeds and processed into “vegetable oils”. But if you are going to eat walnuts, you might as well know you are going to get both omega-6 and omega-3, in about a 4:1 ratio (ideal). If the nuts are fresh, and if already shelled, just make sure you eat them before they sit around a long time, or keep them refrigerated. All unsaturated oils are perishable. This even includes the monounsaturated oils in olive oil and avocados.

    • Olivia Peterson

      You really don’t need to eat many walnuts to get several days supply of omega-6 and omega-3. Our bodies need very little of these substances, and walnuts are 65% oil, and 3/4 of this walnut oil is either omega-6 or omega-3.

  64. Sydney Nowak

    Personally I would add carrots to the list. I also might throw in some high cocoa (low sugar) chocolate. I know it’s not really a food but I am also a big fan of coffee. Green tea is also very nice. You get the picture.

  65. Shannon Bradley

    You have no idea how short my memory is!!!!! I hope these help me improve it at least a tad. Thanks.

  66. Anna Kaplan

    I love that these are all vegan food. It suits my diet. I saw many other articles on the web about it, but they all suggest fish and animal products… No thank you.

  67. Betty O'Leary

    Thank you for a very interesting and informative article on brain boosting healthy food.I am really interested in knowing more about food that really helps people using their brain in a more healthier and balanced way.

    • Thank you. Food is medicine. I firmly believe that. Food fuels our body and minds. If you take care of your body, then your body will take care of you.

  68. Julia MacLean

    Very interesting and informative article about brain health!

    It has been proven that by eating the right food, you can boost your IQ, improve your mood, be more emotionally stable, sharpen your memory and keep your mind young.

    Your body ages as you get older, your brain often does too but IT DOESN’T HAVE TO! You can still have a healthy mind at your old age by eating the best brain foods.

  69. Wow! Amazing to know about these foods! Let me try and will send you feedback…

  70. Celine Carter

    Thank you for the article, I enjoyed reading it. I have done a bit of reading on walnuts in particular. I often hear that it is really healthy but did not know all the benefits it offers. Walnuts, containing fibre and essential fats and a lot of protein, contributes not only to a healthy mind but also to physical health, such as your skin appearance.

    • Walnuts are an incredible superfood. If you look at the shape of a walnut, it looks like a brain. I don’t think that was an accident. Walnuts are amazing for brain health. Things that make you go Hmmm!!!!

  71. Franny Pimms

    Thanks for sharing! nuts and berries really helps to improve brain function. I also suggest cinnamon. 🙂

  72. Lana Urie

    This is an awesome list. But it surprised me that Green Tea and some other items (like Vinpocetine) were not included in the list. Regardless, I think this is a great introductory list, I’m definitely going to be looking to eat more of these food.

    • There are many other healthy brain foods. In fact, it was hard to narrow the list down to 5. You’re right about green tea. I usually have two cups a day. Its super healthy for many reasons.

  73. Monica Conover

    Such a helpful and useful article. I’m a total health nut. All of these foods you suggested will now have their place in my kitchen.

    • I’m glad you liked the article. You definitely want to make those 5 foods a staple in your kitchen. You will definitely notice a difference when you consume them.

  74. Marina Henderson

    Eating healthy foods is good to the mind as well as to the physical health. We can think properly and do things without facing any health problems. We can also avoid having diseases. Anyway thanks for sharing this. Keep on posting 🙂

    • Thanks for your comment. People don’t realize that food really is medicine. You can use food to counteract the effects of any condition that you are suffering from.

  75. Thank you for sharing these tips! I will try to follow your advice, especially when I have to study. I hope they’ll give me a boost!

    • You’re welcome. Those foods will definitely make a difference in your cognitive performance. Good luck!!!

  76. Great article. I love this topic as I have been reading all about brain function and natural cognitive enhancers. Keen for more articles on improving brain power.

    • Glad you like it. Many studies are now being performed on the healing power of food and how it can enhance brain performance.

  77. I’ve proven peanuts as brain booster, kept me alert. Well, I used to eat them (back in college) while memorizing 😉

  78. Well, nothing wrong if I try these foods. Guess I need brain booster nowadays, LOL

  79. It is my habit to find good restaurants (and even write about them). But honestly, me and my friends prioritize food taste. After reading your article, I guess we need to add criteria in labeling a restaurant a good one — that is if it offers “brain boosting” foods on their menu!

  80. Okay, I think I’m going to have “more” avocado intake. I did not know avocado causes healthy blood flow. Thanks for the info! I’m going to share this with friends!

  81. Interesting article! I’m more concerned with food for my brain (more than my body)…

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