When you have trouble concentrating or remembering things, you might not think to blame your diet for that constant haziness that's clouding your mind. However, food plays a role in your cognitive functioning, and there are certain foods to eat that can help clear up your brain fog. The more you eat these foods, the better you'll feel mentally, which makes it all the more important to clean up your diet.
"We live in a world where we breathe in chemicals, smoke, toxins (just to name a few) which we have no control over," Stacy Roberts-Davis, RD, LDN over email. "We also eat foods with pesticides, chemicals, and have allergies to foods that we don't even realize. All of these things can effect the way we think and how out body works."
Your brain needs fuel to function efficiently, and getting the proper nutrients can help with that. The more you feed your brain these nutrient-rich foods, the better you'll find that you feel. Cutting out the bad stuff — like sugar — and eating more healthful, whole foods can have an impact on more than just your body. If you want a clearer mind, improved focus, and a better memory, consider incorporating some of these 11 foods into your diet.
1. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is a great food to eat daily for brain fog. "The antioxidant properties of dark chocolate and natural stimulants help enhance focus," says over email. "It can also help improve concentration and stimulate the production of endorphins." Research agrees. A study from the University of South Australia found that people who ate chocolate at least once a week showed better memory, organization, and abstract reasoning.
"[Blueberries have] one of the highest antioxidant capacities of all fruits and vegetables," says Roberts-Davis. "They are known to improve memory and cognitive function." They can even help prevent against Alzheimer's and dementia.
3. Complex Carbohydrates
A study from the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition found that people who ate a breakfast high in complex carbohydrates reported feeling the most alert until lunch compared to people who ate a breakfast only high in fat. High fiber foods provide you with sustained energy that can help improve your concetration.
"Avocado is high in oleic acid, which is a fatty acid that plays a role in protecting neurons," says Roberts-Davis. "Avocados also increase healthy blood flow, which promotes increased brain function."
5. Wild Salmon
"Wild salmon has high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, and amino acids, which improve cognitive function," says Roberts-Davis. Omega-3 fatty acids especially are highly concentrated in the brain and are essential for brain memory and performance, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Eggs contain choline, a nutrient associated with better cognitive functioning, according to research from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. It particularly helps with learning and memory, so eggs make a great choice if you have a lot of new information to absorb.
"Beans help stabilize blood sugar levels and slow how your body processes carbohydrates," says Roberts-Davis. "Our brains need energy, which carbohydrates provide." Beans are also high in the B vitamin folic acid, and common symptoms of folic acid deficiency include fatigue and brain fog, according to U.S. News & World Report.
Nuts are a great snack if you find that your mind is feeling cloudy. A study from UCLA found that eating a handful of walnuts per day can help boost memory, concentration, and the speed at which your brain processes information.
Seeds such as sunflower seeds, flax seed, pumpkin seeds, are filled with B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, and other vitamins and minerals that can help with memory and other cognitive functions, according to multiple studies.
When it comes to feeling more alert and thinking clearly, coffee is usually the go-to choice, and for good reason. A study from the Medical University at Innsbruck, Austria found that drinking coffee affects areas in the brain that are involved in planning, attention, monitoring, and concentration.
11. Leafy Greens
When in doubt, eat a salad. Research from the Journal of Neurology found that people who ate leafy greens daily showed the same mental focus as someone five years younger than them.
The healthier your diet, the more clear your mind will feel, but these foods in particular can help provide your brain with the nutrients it needs to function optimally.
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