10 best brain foods to boost memory, concentration and brain health
Your brain is really special. If you think about it, it is the epicentre of your whole body controlling everything from the way you feel to the movement of your body. Just the way you would follow a Mediterranean diet to look after your heart, it is also important to think about the best brain foods to add into your diet for optimal brain performance and brain health.
This blog is here to point you in the right direction of what these best brain foods are.
Table of contents
- What are brain foods?
- List of the top 10 brain foods that boost memory, concentration and brain health
- Sage (Salvia Officinalis)
- Dark Chocolate
- Salmon and other oily fish
- Pumpkin seeds
- Ingredients and brain foods contained in Memoraid – The Complete Nootropic
1. What are brain foods?
Brain foods are essential for optimising your brain health and can have a dramatic effect on increasing your concentration, boosting your brain power and improving your brain health. Eating the right brain foods is also important for looking after your future brain health helping to reduce your chance of developing brain diseases like Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
2. Top 10 brain foods that boost memory, concentration and brain health
Sage (Salvia Officinalis)
If you want a brain food that the Romans used for its brain and concentration boosting properties, then look no further than Sage also known by its Latin name Salvia Officinalis. Sage is an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor that boosts the amount of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine within the brain. This neurotransmitter is needed for good brain performance and for boosting concentration. On top of a long history in herbal medicine, there have been many studies performed that have shown sage’s brain boosting and concentration increasing properties. A 2011 study (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20937617) showed improved performance of memory and attention related tasks. It also showed a reduction in mental tiredness and increased alertness. A study on BBC trust me I’m a doctor also highlighted the benefits of Sage’s concentration and focus boosting properties.
Quick Summary: Sage boosts the neurotransmitter acetylcholine which has a key role in brain function leading to improved memory, concentration and focus.
Number 2 on our best brain foods list is coffee! The latest research shows that 3-4 cups of coffee a day are really beneficial for your overall health not just your brain health. So, if you are like me and love a cup of coffee or two, read on for reasons why it is so beneficial for your brain. The caffeine in coffee works by blocking the chemical adenosine in your brain responsible for making you sleepy therefore making you less tired and allowing you to focus and concentrate better.
Not only is coffee great for a boost in alertness, energy and concentration it has shown benefit in maintaining brain health for the future. A 2017 research paper in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) https://www.bmj.com/content/359/bmj.j5024 discusses the benefits of 3 to 4 cups of coffee and its benefits in brain related disorders. Coffee consumption was associated with a lower risk of depression and the brain disease Alzheimer’s.
Quick Summary: Latest advice is that 3-4 cups of coffee a day is associated with a lower risk of depression and Alzheimer’s.
Dark chocolate is a highly potent antioxidant making it one of our top brain foods. Dark chocolate contains cacao which contains flavonoids, these have potent antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are important in brain protection as they reduce oxidative stress on brain cells. Oxidative stress can lead to damage of brain cells ultimately leading to diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s, so antioxidants found in foods like dark chocolate can play a role in brain cell protection.
Quick Summary: Dark chocolate contains flavonoids with have antioxidant properties. Antioxidants play a role in brain cell protection.
Blueberries are a superfood and considered one of the top brain foods. They contain a high concentration of anthocyanins which have a highly potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action. A study (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2850944/) showed that blueberry supplementation improved memory in older adults. This brain food can be easily introduced to your diet by adding to your breakfast cereal or a smoothie.
Quick Summary: Blueberries contains anthocyanins which are compounds that exhibit highly potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action.
Salmon and other oily fish
Salmon and other oily fish are a great source of omega-3 making them one of the top brain foods. Omega-3 contains two types of fatty acids: eicosapentaenoic acid (EHA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) these are essential components that make up the brain cell. These fatty acids help to preserve the cell membrane and ensure efficient communication between brain cells. A study in 2017 (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28527220) also showed the role omega-3 increase blood flow to the brain.
Quick Summary: Salmon and other oily fish are high in Omega 3 which contains fatty acids that are essential components of brain cells.
Not only does rosemary smell fantastic, it is a great brain food that has shown promise as an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor and works in a similar way to drugs used to treat Alzheimer’s like donepezil. It also has properties which show antioxidant properties, which also help with reducing cognitive decline (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK114308/). You can buy rosemary tea, which is an easy way to start introducing this brain herb into your diet.
Quick summary: Rosemary has a similar mechanism of action to drugs used to treat Alzheimer’s.
If you like a good curry then you are probably familiar with the Turmeric, it’s the spice that gives everything that golden yellow colour. This is one of the brain foods that you can easily add into your diet by introducing it into some of your weekly meals. Not only is turmeric great tasting in foods, it also has positive effects on the brain. Also known as Curcumin, this spice has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action. Studies have shown that Turmeric has shown to improve cognitive function in Alzheimer’s patient. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2781139/).
Quick Summary: Turmeric also know as Curcumin is a potent antioxidant and has shown to improve cognitive function in Alzheimer’s.
Nuts are a good source of omega 3 fatty acids and vitamins. A study has shown that a higher nut intake is related to improved overall cognition in older adults (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4105147/). Nuts are also high in vitamin E which is an antioxidant and said to play a key role in brain health. High blood levels of vitamin E have been shown to be associated with better cognitive function, this is thought to be because of the protection of brain cells from free radical damage (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4276978/).
Quick summary: Nuts are high in vitamin E which is a potent antioxidant which helps to protection brain cells from being damaged by free radicals.
Pumpkin seeds contain many important brain vitamins including magnesium, zinc, copper and iron. These micronutrients can also be taken as a supplement, if you can’t fit pumpkin seeds into your diet.
Magnesium has many important roles within the brain and is needed for optimal nerve transmission (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6024559/).
Zinc is important in many brain functions and is found in the highest concentration in the hippocampus area of the brain. It plays a role in communication between cells and also has an important role in the growth of the brain (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7082716).
Copper plays an important role in many brain functions, and low levels of this trace element have been associated with neurodegeneration disorders (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24440710).
Iron is needed within the brain for many cellular process helping them to function optimally (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5672917/).
Quick summary: Pumpkin seeds contain many essential vitamins that are essential for brain function including magnesium, zinc, copper and iron.
Eggs contain choline and lutein. There is now scientific evidence that choline and lutein play a positive role in brain function (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29451849). Choline works my increasing the speeds at which the brain neurotransmitter acetylcholine works. Acetylcholine is important in memory storage and function. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK114310/) (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK114308/).
Quick summary: Eggs contain choline, which plays an important role in helping to speed up brain function.
The above brain foods are a great place to start if you are looking to add more foods into your diet that have a positive effect on memory, concentration and brain health. There is evidence out there that these foods can have positive effects on memory related diseases like Alzheimer’s and have positive effects on short term memory and concentration too.
4. Ingredients and brain foods contained in Memoraid – The Complete Nootropic
Memoraid – The Complete Memory Supplement Formula
Memoraid® Formulation - is a 15 Ingredient brain supplement focusing on memory improvement, focus increase, increase in concentration, energy boost and immune increase. It contains 15 brain foods and nutrients in one capsule. Total Serving in TWO Capsules. Also available at Holland and Barrett.
Sage (Salvia Officinalis) Extract (20:1) – 166.5mg (Equivalent to 3330mg of Sage)
Korean Ginseng Extract (10:1) – 38mg (Equivalent to 380mg of Ginseng)
Ginkgo Biloba Extract (50:1) – 100mg (Equivalent to 5000mg of Ginkgo)
Blueberry Extract (40:1) – 150mg (Equivalent to 6000mg of Blueberry)
L-Tyrosine (Vegan) - 160mg
Vitamin D3 Vitashine® (Vegan) - 25mcg
Vitamin E (Natural) - 14mg
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine HCl) - 30mg
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) - 3mg
Vitamin B3 (Nicotinamide) - 35mg
Vitamin B5 (Calcium Pantothenate) - 20mg
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine HCl) - 10mg
Vitamin B9 (Folic acid) - 200mcgVitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamin acid) - 1mg