Feeling sluggish? Here’s 5 Foods to Boost Your Brain and Ace Your Week

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1. Walnuts

It's time to go nutty about walnuts!

Nuts and seeds are all terrific but walnuts score the most points among all tree nuts. They have the highest optimum ratio of alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3) and linoleic acid (omega-6).

This pair of fatty acids is an antioxidant dynamic duo, fighting free radicals and restoring balance. They improve cognitive performance by maintaining plasticity and stabilizing nerve cell membranes

So, if you feel your mind and body lagging in the coming weeks, opt for walnuts. Stock them at home and at work. A fistful will boost your brain, maintain its overall health, and help you focus on your goals.

2. Turmeric

Unless you regularly whip up Indian food, we bet a fraction of you will actually polish off an entire jar of turmeric in your lifetime. But, if you’re not already hooked, you’re missing out on more than glowing skin and a healthier liver. You’re passing up a proven memory-boosting ingredient.

Turmeric owes its therapeutic properties to curcumin, the medicinal compound also responsible for its vibrant colour. Curcumin has been causing a stir for millennia but in recent years, upper-crust bloggers and global coffee giants have pushed it into the spotlight.

Besides colouring textiles and staining cutting boards worldwide, turmeric treats inflammation, oxidation, digestive issues, heart disease and more. Not only that, a growing body of research indicates curcumin improves cognitive function for people living with Alzheimer’s. It cuts down on beta-amyloid plaque and delays neuron degradation.

Wondering how to fold this superhuman spice into your repertoire? If you’re not interested in slathering it on your face (because we’re not,) may we suggest Orrolenghi’s cauliflower cake or your very own steaming cuppa of turmeric latte.

Whatever you do, add a healthy pinch of black pepper to your concoction and maximise curcumin’s benefits. And if you can’t be bothered to cook, consider a supplement instead.

3. Blueberries

Blueberries boost memory better than Jelly Babies. (Yes, academics invested time and energy proving so. Waste of time? We think so.) Don’t worry. There’s better research out there.

Dr. Joanna Bowtell, from The University of Exeter, denied her sweet tooth and examined the short-term effects of nature’s blue superfood on adult brains. No Jelly Babies here—just a twelve-week study using two groups, one placebo, loads of blueberry supplements, and, as they put it, “a battery of cognitive function tests and a numerical Stroop test.” (No disrespect to the Jelly Babies team.)

They discovered that adult brains thrive on blueberries, even after just twelve weeks. Using MRI scans, the team discovered significantly increased activity in brain regions dedicated to cognitive function, specifically

In short: Whether it’s a quick fix or a long-term solution make sure to prioritize these bundles of brain power.

4. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

We all know it’s healthy but did you know extra virgin olive oil (a.k.a. EVOO) enhances cognitive performance?

Extra virgin olive oil scores top points with dieticians and doctors: It boosts immunity, increases bone density, prevents heart disease, and so on.But if we’re specifically talking about brain health, here’s what you should know:

Brain-loving antioxidants (or polyphenols) found in EVOO protect your brain from becoming the neurological equivalent of a neglected apple slice.

EVOO boasts Vitamins E & K. The first wards off mental decline; the second boosts processing speed.

The odds of developing depression shrink for people who consume EVOO over its unhealthy alternatives.

EVOO is ripe with critical chemicals responsible for stimulating brain cell formation and repair

Yada, yada, yada. It’s excellent for you. Stock up and consume liberally.

But careful - the global market is littered with knock-offs. We’re talking more phonies than enhanced bodies on a California beach in the heat of summer. Your brain deserves better than that so smarten up before you shop. Bitter is better. It means more polyphenols.

5. Beetroot

Packed with nutrients to boost your brain and fuel your libido, we think beets deserve the top spot on this week’s shopping list.

Why? Beets are performance enhancers. Rich in nitrates, they increase blood flow. They also deliver boron, a trace mineral that ups the production of sex hormones. Beets are also loaded with folic acid, which triggers the production of histamine. (This matters to you because a lack of histamine might keep orgasms out of reach. You’re welcome.)

Beets significantly crank up cognitive performance and overall well-being too.They’ll also keep inflammation at bay and prevent your insides from oxidising like a forgotten apple slice. So what if the flavour’s a bit of a turn-off? They still deserve affection.

And if that wasn't enough, beets significantly crank up cognitive performance and overall well-being too. They’ll also keep inflammation at bay and prevent your insides from oxidising like a forgotten apple slice. So what if the flavour’s a bit of a turn-off? They still deserve affection

Head to your local juice bar. You might get lucky. As for you romantics, why not fix up a mean roasted beet tartare with goat cheese and candied hazelnuts? We’d go to second base for that.

Want un-beet-able tips (and bad puns)? Sign up to our weekly newsletter here.

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Dawn is building a community of individuals striving to optimise their brains. We deliver science backed insights into your inbox each Sunday to help you ace the week ahead.