Raise your hand if you’ve been inescapably relying on caffeinated drinks to either boost your performance during cognitively demanding periods or to simply battle everyday brain fog ever since you were a teenager.
While caffeine can be used as a quick fix for tiredness, there are a few more natural, versatile, convenient and delicious alternatives that can help improve and maintain your cognitive function in the long term:
Due to its high content of flavanols, Cacao can improve memory, verbal fluency and attention even after a night of sleep deprivation. Moreover, flavanols in cacao can protect against age-related cognitive decline and support neuron production. What a good reason to have cacao-based desserts daily!
Cacao is also rich in antioxidants that may enhance cognitive processing for hours after consumption.
If you thought it couldn’t get any better, Cacao is also rich in magnesium and tryptophan, known for their ability to nurture a happy mind. When you smile and laugh your body releases endorphins which can boost productivity and improve focus.
It's important to consume dark chocolate and other cacao-based desserts as part of a balanced diet. Read this article till the end to find out how can you make chocolate a healthy habit.
Maca is also rich in cognition-supporting flavanols and can improve mental wellbeing. It has traditionally been used by Peruvians to improve children’s ability to learn. Maca contains a wide array of amino acids including arginine, serine, glutamic acid, and tyrosine which can prevent age-related cognitive decline. A 25g serving of Maca powder provides 25% of your recommended daily intake of iron, and a third of your recommended daily intake of vitamin B2 to fight fatigue and improve focus.
The active compound in turmeric, curcumin has been found to increase brain levels of BDNF, which is a growth hormone benefiting brain function, memory and mood.
Several studies also suggest that curcumin plays an anti-inflammatory role in the gut and may modulate communication across the gut-brain axis. The relationship between good gut health and neurological function has been receiving mounting interest in the last few years. Hence, spicing your diet up with turmeric can be a good idea when looking to improve both gut and brain health.
The human brain contains an amazing 60% content of fat - mainly omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA. Although omega-3 fatty acids are essential to maintaining a sharp mind, our body is better at absorbing such fats from food than at synthesising it. That is why optimising your intake of healthy omega-3 fats is essential to boosting your ability to learn and memorise.
Contrary to common misconceptions, several plant-based foods are high in essential omega-3 fatty acids (DHA, EPA and ALA). Chia for example contains 9 times more omega-3 fatty acids than salmon. Moreover, chia seeds are also high in fibre to boost your gut health.
Unlike the ingredients mentioned above, refined sugar was found to impair your ability to think clearly when consumed in excess. Therefore, you may want to look at natural, more nutritious alternatives to sweeten your favourite desserts.
Lucuma is one of our all-time favourite sweeteners. Providing a natural sweet- caramelly taste, it can act as a great substitute for refined sugar in baking, chocolate and hot drinks. In addition to its delightful taste, lucuma contains potassium and iron to reduce fatigue and contribute to the good functioning of the nervous system.
Lastly, don't forget that a balanced diet and stress management are essential to efficient nutrient absorption and good sleep. For convenience and a boost of flavour, you can experiment with superfoods.
Get your daily dose of cognition-boosting Cacao, Maca and Lucuma from our Organic Functional Cognition blend!