How to improve cognitive abilities through nutrition — 5 main research areas

In order for the head to work well and mental work to be effective, several important conditions must be observed. One of the main things is healthy food.

Activation of cerebral circulation, maintenance of clean blood vessels, nutrition of cells of the cerebral cortex — all this depends on what substances will enter the bloodstream during digestion of food.

Scientific research confirms that daily nutrition directly affects our mental activity and brain health.

There is even a so-called Nutritional cognitive neuroscience (Nutritional Cognitive Neuroscience) is an emerging interdisciplinary field of scientific research that seeks to understand the effects of nutrition on mental abilities and Brain health throughout a person's life.

Scientists claim that knowing the properties of certain products, it is possible to significantly increase various aspects of brain activity: improve attention, sharpen memory, improve performance, and even just Boost your mood .

In this article, we will look at 5 main ways to enhance cognitive abilities through dietary recommendations and specific foods.

1. Memory improvement

For memory to work well, there should be a sufficient amount of protein in the diet, since protein is broken down into amino acids necessary for normal memory.

Fats serve as building blocks for brain cells, but they must include unsaturated Omega-3, Omega-6 and Omega-9 fatty acids.

Carbohydrates are a source of glucose, necessary for mental work, and the advantage should be given to slow carbohydrates, which are not broken down quickly, but provide energy for a long time. And without minerals, vitamins, organic acids and other substances, full-fledged long-term memorization is simply impossible.

  1. Fruits, berries and vegetables. It has long been known about the positive  the effect of vegetables and fruits on memory . Tomatoes are especially valuable among them, as they contain lycopene, which protects neurons from destruction, onions, garlic and all green vegetables, because they contain B vitamins, folic acid and zinc. From fruits, it is worth highlighting bananas, which supply glucose and vitamins B to the blood, lemons, since they contain a large amount of vitamin C, and red apples, rich in anthocyanins. Blueberries, blueberries, grapes and black currants should be chosen from berries to improve memory.
  2. Fatty fish and seafood. If necessary, remember a lot and for a long time, marine fatty fish should be eaten at least 2 times a week, and preferably more often. The most useful fish are herring, trout, tuna, salmon, mackerel and salmon, and seafood — mussels, shrimp and oysters.
  3. Coffee. The main active ingredient is caffeine. Numerous studies have shown that Coffee improves memory , and not short-term, but long-term. That is, in order to remember the information well, it is not enough to drink coffee immediately before studying or work: It won't help. It is necessary that coffee be in the diet of a person engaged in mental labor in small quantities, but constantly.
  4. Tea. Tea, especially green tea, also contains caffeine, which improves memory properties. But tea also contains the enzyme epigallocatechin gallate, which is not found in other products and which is so useful for improving memory. More detailed about the effect of various teas on memory see a separate article.
  5. Nuts. Extremely Nuts are also important for memory . Vitamin E, unsaturated Omega-3 fatty acids, vegetable protein, lecithin — all this is extremely necessary if you have to remember a lot. The amino acid tryptophan, which is also in abundance in nuts, helps to produce serotonin, which also contributes to high-quality memory.
  6. Bitter chocolate. Caffeine, theobromine, and phenethylamine contained in chocolate contribute to good information assimilation. And although milk chocolate is not so useful, even it improves visual and verbal memory. Bitter chocolate - also has the ability to increase the speed of memorizing information of any complexity.
  7. Rosemary. Rosemary essential oil, ingested or used for aromatherapy, Improves memorization by 60-75% . In addition, the chemical compounds of this plant protect brain cells from free radicals.

2. Concentration of attention

It is possible to improve concentration of attention not only by volitional effort. Eating the following foods noticeably helps to increase this mental capacity.

  1. Oily sea fish. Positive the effect of omega-3 acids on the brain has been known for a long time. People who complain about the inability to concentrate usually do not have enough fatty seafood in their diet. The situation can be corrected by eating salmon, mackerel, trout, herring 3 times to begin with, and after normalization of brain function, 2 times a week.
  2. Green tea. The caffeine and L-theanine contained in it help to strengthen brain activity , alertness and the ability to focus for a long time. There is a hypothesis that if you drink this drink with milk with a high percentage of fat content, the effect of concentration will increase.
  3. Blueberries. This berry is useful in many cases. But in terms of an attention stimulator, it is invaluable: antioxidants, proanthocyanidins, resveratrol and tannins allow you to work intently and attentively for 5 hours.
  4. Nuts. Almost any nuts should be additives to dishes or independent snacks in the diet of those people who need the ability to hold attention.

3. Energy and cheerfulness

The positive effect of many beneficial substances on the brain allows you to maintain energy and vigor. These are primarily natural plant products.

  1. Fruits and vegetables. Bananas, figs, avocados, spinach and carrots are those vegetable products that must be on the menu of a person who needs a lot of energy. They contain the optimal ratio of vitamins, minerals, fiber and carbohydrates, which are needed for cheerfulness . And nutritionists do not even advise eating such a fruit as an orange in the evening, so great is its power, which can even disrupt sleep.
  2. Coffee. This is a famous power engineer. But its secret is that 25 minutes after drinking it, you definitely need to drink plain water: this will prevent loss of strength, normalize kidney function and restore the water balance in the body, preventing dehydration and subsequent drowsiness and fatigue. To replace coffee others can be used effectively as well Invigorating drinks , including energy  alcoholic tinctures .
  3. Tea. A large amount of vitamins, minerals, caffeine, essential oils and other specific substances makes green and black tea drinks indispensable for restoring and maintaining strength. 5 invigorating teas see in a separate article.
  4. Ginger. Improving blood circulation of the brain, activating metabolic processes, supplying the body with a large amount of stimulating substances, ginger is rightfully considered a plant of people of intellectual labor.
  5. Essential oils. Fragrance of bergamot, orange, lime, lemon and grapefruit they cheer you up well and improve brain activity.

4. Improving performance

A special program will enhance physical and mental performance nutrition system for people with intellectual work , in which carbohydrates and proteins are well balanced. In such a menu, there should be products of different composition.

  1. Bananas. These fruits are necessary for athletes who spend a lot of muscle energy, and for everyone who does mental work, because the brain really needs glucose and tryptophan to maintain tone and vigor. Bananas are mandatory for children and adolescents, whose development requires a lot of effort.
  2. Oats. The optimal ratio of minerals and slow carbohydrates makes dishes from this cereal indispensable in the morning so that there is enough energy for a long time.
  3. Beetroot. The root vegetable contains many vitamins, carbohydrates and minerals that help saturate the body and maintain its endurance. Athletes even specially drink beetroot juice before training and competitions for this purpose.
  4. Garnet. Potassium, magnesium, especially iron, organic acids and sugars are very useful for recuperation after heavy loads. Also pomegranate is good for blood vessels .

5. Fighting chronic fatigue

With chronic fatigue syndrome, in no case should you resort to energy drinks such as coffee, tea, sweets, chocolate, etc. This will give you a temporary burst of energy, which will then only worsen your poor health.

With chronic fatigue, it is necessary to increase the number of energetically valuable products in the menu, which are slowly digested, but give energy for a long time, and also contain all the necessary substances to maintain the central nervous system.

  1. Chicken meat. This is one of the most useful animal products for chronic fatigue, since, in addition to valuable protein, it contains selenium and B vitamins.
  2. Cereals. Cereals and bread should be made from whole grains: in this case, thanks to them, the body will receive a large amount of minerals, the necessary sugar level will be maintained in the blood, and there will be enough energy for a long time.
  3. Fruits. Pomegranates and oranges contain a mineral, without which it is impossible to overcome such a disease as chronic fatigue syndrome: iron is involved in hematopoietic processes and maintains well-being at the proper level.
  4. Seeds and nuts. Flax seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, all kinds of nuts supply the body with useful unsaturated fatty acids, without which there can be no normal body tone at all. This is a storehouse of vitamins and minerals that are found in this product in concentrated form. In addition, they contain a fairly large amount of vegetable protein, which is also important for maintaining strength and getting out of a state of chronic fatigue.

Thus, the efficiency of the brain is influenced by many factors. And properly selected nutrition is the basis for normalizing his work and maintaining his working capacity.