This is the time of the year where we start to say goodbye to summer and get ready to embrace the new school year. For most of us, this transition period can sometimes take a while to get used to. Whether you’re a student or not, there are a lot of great products out there that can help stimulate your brain and improve cognition as the season turns the corner. It’s important to note that while our brain only makes up 2% of our body weight, it requires 20% of our total caloric intake, so here are eight products that have been reported to give a nice boost to your brain power.
Also known as gingko or maidenhair, is a tree that is native to China. The gingko tree has been found in some fossil records dating back almost 270 million years ago, which makes it one of the oldest known living tree species. As such, it has been linked with early human consumption, and is widely used in traditional Chinese medicine. This ancient herb gets its benefits from its ability to enhance oxygen utilization. As a result, with more vascular dilation, things like memory, concentration, and mental performance are enhanced.
This well known leaf from the Camellia sinensis plants claims a lot of health benefits. What sets it apart from other teas is the way it is processed. Green tea leaves are not exposed to oxygen, which may help keep the antioxidants intact. A study in which 12 healthy participants consumed 27.5 grams of green tea extract, reported more connectivity between the parietal and frontal lobes of the brain versus those whodid not consume the extract. This increased connectivity correlated to better performance in working memory tasks.
A hybrid between the watermint and the spearmint, peppermint is an indigenous plant to Europe and the Middle East but is now prevalent across many regions of the world. If you are not a fan of the flavor of mint, the aroma itself of mint has been linked to increased memory and alertness. A big sniff of peppermint before a report is due could help with memory retention. In one British study, participants who drank peppermint rather than hot water or chamomile reported better on a cognitive function test 20 minutes after drinking the teas.
Omega-3 fatty acids are considered essential fatty acids for the body. They are necessary for human health. However, the body does not produce the fatty acids on its own. As a result, omega-3 fatty acids must come from food. They are naturally occurring in some fishes, one of the most dense sources being salmon. Omega-3 fatty acids are highly concentrated in the brain and appear to be important for cognitive performance. Omega-3 fats build brain cell membranes, reduce brain inflammation, and promote new brain cell formation.
Americans eat three billion pounds of chocolate in a year. Yes, chocolate tastes awesome but it’s also a brain booster. Compounds in dark chocolate boost memory, attention span, reaction time, and problem-solving skills by increasing blood flow to the brain. Components in chocolate, called flavonoids, have been shown to improve blood flow to the brain.
Walnuts are one of those foods that resemble the body part in which they benefit. In this instance, the brain. A recent study suggests that eating a handful of walnuts per day could help boost memory, concentration and the speed at which your brain processes information. In this study that sampled of thousands of people in the United States aged 20 and older, those who ate more walnuts performed better on a series of six cognitive tests. Walnuts are also a great source of the plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, which as stated above is linked to brain cell formation.
It turns out that there are compounds in rosemary oil that may be responsible for changes in memory performance. One of them is called 1,8-cineole. Besides smelling amazing, it acts in the same way some prescription drugs do by causing an increase in a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine, which is responsible for memory and learning. It turns out that rosemary essential oil provides an excellent delivery system for getting 1,8-cineole directly to the brain. After rosemary essential oil is inhaled, these 1,8-cineole molecules go directly from the bloodstream into the brain, completely bypassing the liver and digestion providing for a faster uptake.
Eating eggs on the regular may also improve your memory. Eggs are one the top notch sources of choline, which is an important nutrient used to produce the aforementioned memory neurotransmitter, acetylcholine. Choline itself is found in the myelin sheath in the brain. Myelin insulates the nerve fibers throughout the brain which help facilitate super fast transmission of electrical impulses.