Feeling like you need a little pick-me-up? Or maybe you simply want to maintain the brain-power you already have. While diet, exercise and sleep are non-negotiable when it comes to achieving optimal cognitive function, there are some other, rather simple ways to give you that boost you’re looking for. Here are 5 easy beverages you can sip on, guilt free! Your brain will even thank you. No magical powders or expensive supplements needed. Cheers!
Coffee has gotten a bad reputation over the years; however, the latest research not only has found it to be unjustified, on the contrary, enjoying a cup o’ Joe may even be beneficial! Coffee consumption has been linked to a reduced risk of brain-related diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Coffee has also been shown to increase alertness and improve concentration, thanks to its caffeine content, which may also work as mood-lifter by stimulating those “feel-good” neurotransmitters in your brain, like serotonin. Up to 400 mg, which is equivalent to about 4 cups of brewed coffee is seen to be safe for most healthy adults. Just be sure to go easy on the sugar and cream to reap its maximum benefits. That being said, people that are sensitive to caffeine should be cautious and consult with their healthcare practitioners. Don’t worry though, if you’re not a fan of coffee, there are plenty of other brain boosting beverages to choose from!
If you happen to be a tea-person, then you’re in luck. These powerful, action-packed leaves are full of potentially disease fighting benefits. Its high concentration of antioxidants, like the renowned, epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), has been shown to improve cognitive health and lower brain inflammation, that’s often linked to the cause of many neurological diseases. Healthy adults seeking to potentially improve their working memory should aim to drink 2-4 cups a day! Green tea also contains a lower caffeine content, making it more tolerable for people who are sensitive to the high amounts of the substance in coffee.
Hot (Dark) Chocolate
Cocoa beans are loaded with some of the brain-friendly compounds previously mentioned, including caffeine and antioxidants. But these cool beans also contain flavonols that can relax the lining of the blood vessels, including those in the brain, thus, reducing the blood pressure to our vital organ, resulting in healthy circulation, and less damaging effects, like those that linked to strokes. Researchers have also found cacao to slow down age-related mental decline. Dark chocolate has the highest concentration of flavonols than the other chocolate varieties. So, sit back and relax with a nice warm cup of hot cacao. Have a sweet-tooth? Try sweetening it with a bit a stevia. Forget about taking a chill pill, take a “chill” drink!
Like dark chocolate, berries, contain flavonols, specifically, anthocyanins, that give the fruit its deep violet-blue pigment, but also works like an damage-repair team. Berries can also reduce oxidative stress, maintain neural blood vessel health, and even enhance the creation of neurons. Studies have also shown berries to delay early onset of mental decline. As berries are naturally low glycemic they can also serve a healthy option for added sweetness to any drink, or dish. Try making a berry smoothie.
Cinnamon and Turmeric Tea
Some of the most potent brain-boosting ingredients are right in your kitchen pantry; spices and herbs can be a simple and affordable way to incorporate them into your daily routine. Cinnamon, contains two key-compounds called proanthocyanidin and cinnamaldehyde, while turmeric contains the active ingredient, curcumin. These antioxidant compounds can help reduce plaque build-up in the brain, and by doing so, decrease the risk for dementia, and even inhibit its development. Curcumin may also help improve the memory in people with Alzheimer’s disease. And if that wasn’t enough, studies have shown it aid as a mood-booster in people who are feeling the down. You try can fighting the blues, with something blue, like blueberries! Search for recipes like Golden Milk Tea, or Matcha Latte, for more ways to make these brain-boosting beverages more fun.