Some essential fatty acids, such as DHA, can improve brain function, memory and reaction capacity. We invite you to know what foods contain them!
What each person ingests influences general health, mood and even intellectual capacity. There are foods and supplements called nootropics that can boost memory, motivation, creativity, and general cognitive functions.
Likewise, these foods can also delay age-related cognitive decline. Do you want to know which ones are considered to enhance intellectual capacity? Keep reading this article and discover them.
How to boost brainpower with certain foods
Before we begin, we have to clarify a couple of issues. First of all, it is essential to know that if you suffer from a deficit in concentration, memory or other problem associated with cognitive abilities, it is essential to consult a neurologist or other doctor.
On the other hand, you should also know that we do not promise any miracle when we talk to you about these foods. In fact, while they can be beneficial in improving some brain functions, they cannot replace professional treatment in any way.
Finally, we must point out a curious fact about nootropic foods, and that is that, in most cases, their mechanisms of action are unknown. The two main hypotheses have to do with increasing the amount of neurotransmitters, enzymes or hormones available, or that they activate brain metabolism and neuronal growth, called neurogenesis.
Blue fish and seeds: essential fatty acids
When we think of the word ‘fat’ we associate it with something negative for health. However, essential fatty acids are vital for the body. They are considered essential because the body cannot produce them on its own, and therefore they must be obtained from the diet.
The nootropic essential fatty acids are omega 3, and in particular DHA and EPA, two types of this nutrient. Blue fish – that is, salmon, sardines, herring or cod – contains it. Meanwhile, the best plant sources of this 3 fatty acid are flax seeds, chia seeds, and walnuts.
Omega 3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory effects and play a key role in maintaining brain structure and function, as stated in a 2002 study by the Interciencia Association.
The consumption of DHA, above all, is associated in an investigation from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition with an improvement in memory, reaction capacity and mental clarity.
The official recommendation of the Government of Great Britain is to consume two weekly servings of blue fish. If this is not possible, it can be supplemented with fish oil. In case of opting for this last option, it is necessary to consult a nutritionist.
Red and purple fruits: resveratrol
Red and purple fruits, such as berries – blackberries, blueberries, raspberries – strawberries or grapes contain resveratrol, an antioxidant that according to a study by Belmonte Noguera (2016) can prevent age-related brain deterioration. Resveratrol is also present in red wine, chocolate, peanuts, or peanuts.
Although some studies in animals show that resveratrol can increase memory and other cognitive functions, we are not entirely sure about the effect of resveratrol in humans. It does appear to improve memory according to a study in The Journal of Neuroscience , but the exact mechanism is unknown.
Coffee, tea and chocolate: caffeine
Caffeine is a natural stimulant found in coffee, tea, and dark chocolate. It stimulates the central nervous system and makes the individual feel alert and less tired.
Several studies, like this one from Psychopharmacology from 2002 , show that caffeine improves memory, reaction speed, and overall brain function.
Although one cup of coffee a day is safe for adults according to official bodies and enough to benefit, on the other hand, too much caffeine can cause negative health consequences, such as anxiety, an upset stomach or insomnia. Some people do not metabolize it easily and may notice these adverse effects more.
Intellectual capacity and food: conclusion
Finally, keep in mind that foods considered nootropic can only be effective in the context of a healthy and varied diet, with a sufficient supply of vitamins, minerals and essential nutrients. As we recommend before, it is important to consult a specialist doctor if you are looking to solve any specific problem related to intellectual capacity.