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Saint Peter’s Better Health

There’s no magic pill to add hours to your day. But certain foods can improve your focus, memory, and concentration. Eat them and not only will you get more done today—you’ll also protect your brain health over time.

Here are 4 dishes and drinks to help you perk up and perform your best.

Fish

Dining on seafood keeps your neurons swimming in omega-3 fatty acids. One called docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, is especially good for your gray matter. Getting enough of this nutrient has been linked to better memory and less risk of cognitive decline.

Health experts recommend eating at least 2 4-ounce servings of fish per week. Salmon, trout, and albacore tuna have particularly high DHA levels. Vegetarians and vegans can get DHA through chia seeds, walnuts, or supplements.

Walnuts

When it comes to thinking power, these tasty nuts are all they’re cracked up to be. In young and old study participants alike, higher walnut consumption seems to boost cognitive function.

Experts believe walnuts contain powerful antioxidants that fight inflammation. They also appear to protect brain cells from damage and death. And they may even prevent the formation of plaques linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

Green tea

This bright beverage contains multiple compounds that improve focus and learning. The combination of caffeine and theanine appears to be particularly powerful in boosting attention.

Matcha tea, a type of green tea grown in the shade and processed by grinding tea leaves into a powder, has higher levels of these substances than other blends. Studies suggest it improves attention and higher-order brain functions like planning and problem-solving in stressed-out adults. But any type of green tea is a good choice.

Berries and cherries

Whether you’re a big blueberry fan, would rather have blackberries, or cheer for cherries, you’re in luck. All these small, dark fruits contain anthocyanins. They’re plant-based chemicals that fight oxygen-related damage in the brain, potentially improving memory.

Even better: Sweet fruits like berries can stand in for sugar in desserts and breakfast foods. That benefits your brain health as well as your heart.

 


Online Medical Reviewer: Nelda Mercer, RD
Online Medical Reviewer: Ray Turley, MSN, BSN
Date Last Reviewed: 12/1/2021
© 2000-2022 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional’s instructions.