Food For Thought: Top Nutrients to Boost Your Cognition and Where to Get Them
Some nutrients’ brain cognition boosting abilities earn them a special status in the world of superfoods. Just as important as the harmful things you should stop doing — see my last blog for the top three — adding in specific foods everyday will give your brain what it needs to think smarter and harder for years to come.
What Can You Do To Improve Cognition?
I have to start with just one non-food thing you can do to make a world of difference in your entire life, conscious and unconscious: exercise.
The number one thing for a better brain is getting enough exercise. Study after study shows that physical activity makes you smarter, lowers your risk of cognitive decline, and boosts your nitric oxide (remember the neurotransmitter/hormone that boosts circulation), besides giving you a healthy body for your brain to work with.
Besides exercise, you can fuel your brain with superfoods. Here’s my list of the top foods for brain health.
Foods To Boost Your Brain Cognition
“How can I eat to improve my brain cognition?” you ask? Here’s the answer, vetted by research.
Use your gut-brain connection for good! What you eat — whether it supports inflammation or fights inflammation — directly affects the nutrients available to your brain.
When you supplement with nitrates, they appear to increase the blood flow to specific areas of your brain. In older people, the research shows that they help get blood to the parts of the brain that control decision-making and free-will.
Let that sink in. Nitrates help the part of the brain that is most sensitive to age-related decline. What a powerful effect with profound potential!
Would you like a side of cognitive benefits with your main course of cognitive benefits? Eat your nitrates alongside a healthy dose of exercise: When combined with exercise, Howard University research shows that nitrates seem to increase blood flow in your entire brain.
Boost your brain abilities both ways by combining exercise with nitrates. Here’s my short list of the best sources of nitrates, note that the industry favorite beet juice doesn’t make the cut. Check out my blog post here for the complete list.
- Red Spinach (a type of amaranth)
- Bok Choy
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3’s have gotten recent press for their ability to reduce triglycerides and improve heart health, but they were originally researched for their critical role in the developing brains of infants.
Found primarily in marine foods like fatty fish and crustaceans, long-chain omega-3 fatty acids like EPA and DHA help mature minds as well, according to numerous studies.
Not only are typical diets too low in these healthy fats, but our brains are also made of them! The protection around each nerve and the brain matter itself is mostly fat, so get your healthy fats for a healthy mind.
Check out my article on omega-3 fatty acids for heart health here.
Polyphenols are potent antioxidants, and found highly concentrated in blueberries, coffee, green tea, dark chocolate, aronia berries, and other powerfully-flavored foods. Here are some examples of the benefits that studies show us:
- Lifelong moderate coffee drinking is associated with reduced cognitive decline
- Blueberries may slow cognitive decline when supplemented to older adults
- Eating high-polyphenol foods regularly is linked with slowed cognitive decline later in life
- Cocoa polyphenols in dark chocolate confer short- and long- term benefits for cognitive function
- Aronia berry polyphenols may reduce markers of neuronal inflammation associated with exercise in athletes
The golden spice is known as one of the most potent anti-inflammatory antioxidants ever discovered. It may hold powerful benefits for cognition too.
Animal studies have shown that turmeric extract, curcumin, may help white blood cells clear out damaging buildup in the brain. It could also help your brain make new neurons, and help with issues with your mood as well.
Make sure you’re not just eating the golden powder by the tablespoon, though. Your body absorbs almost none of the turmeric you eat unless it’s paired with specific ingredients to maximize its bioavailability.
Vitamin C is a frontline antioxidant in your body’s fight against damaging free-radicals. These offending free-radicals cause oxidative damage and stress that impair every process in your body - some scientists even suggest that high levels of oxidative stress may be the unifying link in every chronic condition.
Vitamin C is only associated with low cognitive abilities when people are at deficiency-levels, but vitamin C deficiency may be more common than you think: as high as 11% in the United States, and even higher elsewhere in the world.
So, eat your fruits and vegetables to make sure you're getting enough vitamin C, and reap the other rewards of a healthy plant-based diet!
Glycine, Choline, and Methylation Support
Methylation is one of the most important functions in your body. Essentially, a methyl group is one of the simplest little molecules your body makes, but it has powerful functions in so many different processes.
Not only does methylation support cognitive function, but many of the molecules associated with the methylation cycle are independently used to support cognitive function, too.
Glycine is a key amino acid that your body uses to make serotonin, melatonin, glutathione. Glycine is an amino acid highest in collagen protein and has been studied in relation to attention due to its effect on NMDA —- an important modulator of memory and learning.
Choline is used to make phosphatidylcholine, one of the most important neurotransmitters your brain makes. You can find choline in products high in lecithin like soy and sunflower, as well as in eggs, fish, meat, and beans.
Other members of the methylation team include S-adenosylmethionine (aka. “SAM-e”), folate, cysteine, and betaine. Since methylation is easily affected by common genetic mutations, get your MTHFR status checked to see if it’s limiting your cognitive potential.
Bioactives and Nootropics
We’ll save this category in the “for future research” bin — there are just too many nutraceuticals, nootropics, “smart drugs”, cognitive-enhancing supplements, and medicinals purported to benefit the brain to cover each comprehensively.
I’ll just point out that the most important ones to focus on are already listed. No supplement is going to make up for a solid foundation of a healthy diet full of superfood plants and regular exercise.
Some bioactives used in brain-boosting research include L-theanine, caffeine, creatine, ginseng, gingko, magnesium, nicotine (eaten, not smoked!), lion’s mane mushrooms, ashwagandha, CBD, ketone bodies, and fistfuls of others.
Be careful about what you put in your body though. Make sure all your supplements are green-lighted through rigorous third-party testing and certification. Otherwise, you really have no clue if what’s in the pill matches what’s listed on the bottle!
Resync Is Your Partner For Better Brain Cognition
Resync is a leader in the supplement industry for quality-certified foods and supplements to help you live your best life. Recovery is everything we do, because we know that without the right recovery, you can’t reach your true potential, physically or mentally.
The common thread between Resync products is a nitric oxide blend based on red beetroot, red spinach, and aronia berry. This blend holds powerful potential for your full potential.
You already know about the ways scientists have looked into aronia polyphenols for cognition. Aronia berry一aka “chokeberry”, a natural nitrate full of antioxidants一has potential in affecting inflammatory damage to the nervous system in athletes.
Plus, chokeberries are a highly concentrated source of anthocyanins which are a class of natural chemicals being actively researched for their role in slowing cognitive decline.
Besides the potent plant-based nitrate blend, Resync Recovery contains a bioavailable turmeric extract formulation. This is critical because without the right ingredients, your turmeric doesn't even make it to your blood — you have to have the right preparation otherwise you’re wasting your money.
Resync Collagen contains some of the highest quality collagen available. Collagen is high in glycine to support your cognition, and has unique peptides that help you recover from intense exercise.
Resync Beverage has 7 grams of heart-healthy fiber alongside a host of other heart-, energy-, and gut-health supporting ingredients. Knowing how important the gut-brain axis is, this easy-to-grab and easier to drink beverage is a no-brainer.
Our nitrate blend is unparalleled in the industry for its potency. Each Resync formula has the vitamin C you need to fight oxidation as well. No other supplements support recovery like ours do.
Resync your body, resync your brain. Let us be your partner in your quest to live a healthier life!
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Helping you lead a healthier life,
The Resync Team
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