Long periods of studying or working often require high levels of concentration and mental strength. That’s why many students and professionals are often seen with energizing beverages like coffee, red bull, and other energy-boosting substances.
What may surprise many people, however, is that there are plenty of natural foods that can help boost concentration and mental activity with much fewer, or even no negative health effects. If you are looking for natural ways to increase focus and cognitive capacity during periods of intense mental activity, here are 8 completely natural solutions that you may want to try:
1. Clean Water
Hydration is the key to proper and strong function of the body and all of its vital organs, particularly the brain. There is a reason why it is recommended that you drink about 2-3 liters of water each day — the amount of water each individual needs on a daily basis can vary based on numerous factors, you can read more about it in this article.
Drinking sufficient amounts of water each day ensures healthy blood circulation throughout the whole body. Dehydration can decrease blood flow to the brain and weaken its functions, especially during high mental activity.
If you are going to stay awake for a prolonged period and/or perform some energy-draining tasks, you can try taking sufficient loads of water — 8 to 10 glasses per day should normally do the trick.
2. Water-Rich Fruits and Vegetables
If you don’t like drinking plain water, there is a simple trick to keep your body well hydrated, and that’s to eat plenty of fruits and veggies that have a high water content.
In addition to being tasty and hydrating, most water-rich fruits and vegetables come packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other important nutrients that can boost your physical and mental health. Here are some of the best choices:
Watermelons Cucumbers Pineapples Cantaloupe Lettuce Berries Oranges Spinach
The beauty of vegetables is that they can be grilled – visit mippin.com to check the best grills.
3. Hemp Seeds
The industrial hemp plant has gained a lot of popularity lately as it is used to produce CBD oil, but hemp seeds have been consumed as food for centuries.
Hemp seeds are incredibly nutritious and they have several benefits for the body and brain. They are rich with two minerals that are essential for healthy brain function: magnesium and zinc. They also contain plenty of brain-healthy fats like omega-3 and omega-6.
Researchers are still investigating the many biologically active compounds found in hemp, and there is some evidence supporting the effectiveness of hemp seeds and products for cognitive enhancement.
4. Whole Grain Foods
Whole grains are a great source of energy for the whole body. They contain complex carbohydrates, which are slowly metabolized and can provide the body with energy for much longer than simple carbs do.
You will also be getting good amounts of fiber and other essential nutrients that are needed to keep your body and brain functioning well. Start your day by having oatmeal, whole wheat bread or any other type of whole grains for a good boost in energy.
Cocoa is another food that helps increase mental energy. A couple of spoons of cocoa powder every day can go a long way in boosting mood and cognitive ability. This wonderful bean contains powerful natural antioxidants that help protect brain cells from damage while enhancing cognitive functions.
Processed foods that contain cocoa will not give you the same effect, it is the raw cocoa powder that does the magic, so go for that!
Nuts like almonds, walnuts, and cashews aren’t just a delightful treat, they also improve brain power and supply your brain with several important nutrients. Eating raw nuts is more beneficial as they retain most of their nutritional value, but be careful not to consume too many of these since they are high in calories.
Smoothies made from fresh fruits and/or vegetables are a great way to provide your body with nutritional fuel. If you are looking to stay alert and energetic throughout a long day at work, ditch the sodas and processed drinks, and try a refreshing smoothie!
There are many smoothie recipes out there that you can choose from. Some of the best ingredients to include in a mental boost smoothie are spinach, avocado, mixed berries, beets, hemp seeds, and almond milk.
8. Green Tea
Green tea is one of the healthiest drinks anyone can have. It has a mild stimulating effect due to its caffeine content, but it doesn’t make you agitated and anxious as coffee does. On of the products that contain that kind of caffeine is Vivarin.
Green tea is also a rich source of l-theanine: an amino acid that helps you relax and focus, especially when you are under a lot of stress.
Taking Supplements for a Quick Boost
While maintaining a healthy diet full of the right, nutritious foods for your body and brain, like the ones listed above, is the best long-term dietary approach to staying mentally sharp and energetic, some people seek a quick short-term fix, such as taking supplements.
Nootropic supplements are touted as a safe and effective way to boost cognitive performance, and these have seen a massive rise in popularity in recent years.
Several stimulant supplements, like phenylpiracetam (check here), are used by consumers who wish to push the limits of their mental abilities and be more productive. Many herbal supplements, such as Dr Natura are also widely used to improve cognitive performance and combat mental stress. More examples of these are Panax ginseng, bacopa monnieri, and Rhodiola rosea.
Nootropics may provide some short-lived benefits, like keeping you awake, alert and focused for hours, but many experts question their long-term efficacy and safety. There is still a great deal of scientific research needed in this field before conclusions can be made on whether cognition-enhancing substances are a safe option.
We hope that this article provided you with some useful tips you can use to improve your mental performance. Take note of the foods listed above and start making changes to your diet if you’d like to see an improvement in your ability to handle mentally demanding tasks whenever they arise.