One of my favorite sayings is, “Food is medicine, or it is poison.” What you eat can either help your body and brain be the best they can be, or it can make you feel sluggish, foggy, stressed, and depressed. Personally, as an author, speaker, and mom, I’ve got a lot on my plate (figuratively), and I always want to be at the top of my game. I want to think clearly, feel calm, and have a bright outlook on life. I bet you do, too.
I’ll let you in on one of my secrets for being my personal best. It’s in my fridge. In particular, there are 6 foods I turn to for better brain function—from greater mental clarity, focus, and moods to reduced stress and anxiety. Add these to your everyday diet and notice the difference. I think you’ll like how you feel.There are 6 superfoods I turn to for better brain function that can help you be your best too. Add these to your everyday diet and notice the difference. Click To Tweet
1. Water for mental clarity.
Your brain is 80% water, and it needs adequate hydration. Have you ever forgotten to water a plant? The flowers fall off, the leaves droop, and it just looks so sad. It’s similar for your brain. Being even slightly dehydrated can give you a serious case of mental fuzzies. It can make you feel anxious, irritable, or down, and it can zap your ability to focus.
Superfoods made easy: Stay hydrated with pure clean water. If you think plain water is too boring, jazz it up with sliced cucumber, lemons, or limes; add a sprig of mint, basil, or ginger; or add a few fresh berries.
2. Fish for cognitive function.
To keep your brain operating at its best, you’ve got to keep it fueled with foods like fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are essential fatty acids that your brain and body need but can’t make on their own. You can only get them through outside sources. Highly beneficial for brain function, think of omega-3s like the lube that keeps all the cognitive wheels turning at top speed.
Superfoods made easy: My favorites in this department include wild salmon (try my Cedar Plank Salmon) and shrimp (try my Simple Shrimp Scampi). If you aren’t a fish fan, you can get omega-3 through supplements. Even if you do eat fish, it’s difficult to get adequate amounts of omega-3s from food alone. For this reason, it’s usually a good idea to take an omega-3 supplement like BrainMD’s Omega-3 Power Squeeze.
3. Protein for better focus.
For improved concentration, eat a diet that’s higher in protein and lower in carbohydrates. The increase in protein from meat, fish, nuts, or eggs boosts dopamine and increases feelings of drive, motivation, and focus.
Superfoods made easy: When you need to concentrate on a project or an exam, reach for a protein-rich snack like my Superfood Protein Bars.
4. Saffron to fight feeling down.
One of the most potent—and delicious—spices in the world is saffron. This flavorful spice has proven feel-good effects. In fact, several studies have shown that saffron is as effective as antidepressants in improving mood.
Superfoods made easy: If you need ideas for including saffron in your meals, try my Tomato Curry Chicken with Saffron. If you want to ramp up saffron intake with supplements, BrainMD makes Happy Saffron Plus with 30 mg of saffron, plus zinc and curcumins, which have both also been found to help with mood.
5. Avocados to calm stress and anxiousness.
When you want to calm a busy brain, reach for the buttery goodness of avocados. Avocados are high in B vitamins, which are natural stress relievers, and are chock-full of healthy fats that soothe anxiousness. No wonder avocados have been called “the world’s most perfect food.”
Superfoods made easy: For a delicious avocado snack, try my brain healthy guacamole. If you want to ripen an avocado quickly, try this kitchen hack. Place it in a paper bag along with a banana or an apple and fold the bag.
6. Dark chocolate for a mood boost.
When you need a quick pick-me-up, reach for a small piece of dark chocolate. A 2019 study involving over 13,000 people found that those who had nibbled on some dark chocolate within the past day were 70% less likely to say they felt symptoms of depression. The mood boost from chocolate may be thanks to nutritive compounds called polyphenols that are rich in their raw form, cacao.
Superfoods made easy: If you’re in the mood for brain healthy chocolate snacks, stick with dark chocolate that’s low in sugar. Check out my Chocolate Go Go Bites for bite-sized mood boosts.
If you’re struggling with moods, anxiousness, or focus and need professional help, Amen Clinics is here for you. We offer in-clinic brain scanning and appointments, as well as mental telehealth, remote clinical evaluations, and video therapy for adults, children, and couples. Find out more by speaking to a specialist today at 888-288-9834 or visit our contact page here.