Feeling like you need a little pick-me-up? Or maybe you simply want to maintain your brainpower for a long day ahead? Diet, exercise, and sleep are non-negotiable when it comes to achieving optimal cognitive function but for those days when you just can’t find the time and just need a little boost on the go, we’ve gathered 5 beverages that should do the job. No moon powders or expensive fairy dust needed. Cheers!
Coffee has gotten a bad reputation over the years; however, the latest research not only has found its vilification 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 high caffeine content, which may also work as a 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 have a known caffeine sensitivity should be cautious and consult with their healthcare practitioner. Not a fan of coffee? Don’t worry, there are plenty of other brain-boosting beverages to choose from!
If you’re more of a tea-person then you’re in luck. These powerful, action-packed leaves are full of disease-fighting benefits. Green tea leaves are packed with antioxidants, like the renowned, epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) which has been shown to improve cognitive health and lower brain inflammation, which is often linked to neurological diseases.
Healthy adults seeking to improve their working memory should aim to drink 2-4 cups a day! Green tea also contains a lower caffeine content than coffee, making it more tolerable for people who are sensitive to it.
Hot (Dark) Chocolate
Cocoa beans also contain some of the brain-friendly compounds previously mentioned, including caffeine and antioxidants. In addition to those, these cool beans contain flavonols that can relax the lining of the blood vessels, including those in the brain, thus. This helps to reduce the blood pressure flowing to this vital organ, resulting in healthier circulation, lowering the risk for damaging effects, like those linked to strokes.
Researchers have also found cacao to slow down age-related mental decline. Dark chocolate has the highest concentration of flavonols when compared to 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 of stevia or monk fruit extract, that way you’ll reap the benefits of the cacao, minus the drawbacks of sugar.
Similar to dark chocolate, berries too, contain special flavonols, called anthocyanins, that give the fruit its deep violet-blue pigment while also working as a damage-repair team. Berries help reduce oxidative stress, maintain neural blood vessel health, and even enhance the creation of new neurons.
Studies have also shown berries to delay the early onset of mental decline. As berries are naturally low glycemic they can also serve as a healthy option for added sweetness to any drink, or dish. Try making a berry smoothie. Forget about taking a chill pill, take a “chill” drink!
Cinnamon and Turmeric Tea
Believe it or not, 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, for example, contains two key compounds called proanthocyanidin and cinnamaldehyde, and 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 can potentially inhibit its progression.
Curcumin has also shown benefits in promoting memory in people with Alzheimer’s disease. As if that wasn’t enough, studies have shown that it can potentially aid as a mood-booster in people who are feeling depressed. Search for recipes like Golden Milk Tea, or Matcha Latte, for more ways to make these brain-boosting beverages enjoyable to you.