5 Supplements That’ll Help You Build a Better Brain
Yes, you can eat your way to a healthier noggin! Here, an expert shares the top brain-enhancing supplements to add to your diet.
Brain fog – it happens to the best of us.
Hopefully for you, it wasn’t in the middle of a pitch to your boss or in front of your 10-year-old, who will inevitably find a way to mimic your struggles at every turn. There is good news, though: You can take the steps now to manage it, once and for all.
Start with foods that are high in antioxidants called polyphenols, which protect your brain from stress. Blueberries, green tea, colourful veggies and, yes, even dark chocolate and coffee are rich in these brain-healthy compounds.
Fuel your brain with simple, satisfying meals that are full of beneficial fats from olives, avocados, nuts and choline-rich eggs. Your brain is 60 percent fat. Eating these healthy fats supercharges your brain to help you power up your life. (Keep in mind, these healthy habits are proven to boost your brain health as well.)
For those who need more of a lift than food alone can deliver, here are some of the top brain-enhancing supplements to choose from, based on your individual goals.
Lion’s Mane Mushrooms
In the adaptogenic category (an adaptogen supports your body’s ability to adapt to stress), lion’s mane mushrooms are a cognitive powerhouse. Multiple studies on lion’s mane reveal its neurogenerative benefits, even for those with cognitive impairment. Add ½ teaspoon (one gram) of organic lion’s mane powder to a daily protein shake for a mental lift.
Wondering which B vitamin to choose for your brain? Relatively new on the scene, nicotinamide riboside (NR) is a variation that helps you recover from energy dips caused by aging or overtraining at the gym. Recent studies have shown that, of all the B vitamins, NR uses the least amount of your body’s energy to support your nervous system and brain.
Omega-3 and Astaxanthin
The brain favours two key omega-3 fatty acids: DHA and EPA. Seaweed, algae (such as spirulina and chlorella) and cold-water fish are excellent sources of this dietary fat. Like omega-3, marine-based astaxanthin is a powerful brain-stimulating anti-oxidant that’s found in fatty fish. For a one-two punch, look for krill oil capsules, which contain both omega-3 and astaxanthin. (Check out these secrets nutritionists won’t tell you for free.)
Turmeric, which has been used for thousands of years in Ayurveda, is rich in neuron-boosting turmerone and anti-inflammatory curcumin. Freshly ground turmeric is delicious in salads, cooking and golden milk. Consider a fermented option, and ensure that your turmeric supplement contains piperine (a compound found in pepper) for increased absorption.
Vitamin D deficiencies, which are linked to low mood and cognitive decline, are common, especially for those who work indoors or live in colder climates. Vitamin D3 is recommended over vitamin D2 because it elevates vitamin D in the blood almost twice as much.
Remember, too, the other important tenets of good health. Prioritize quality sleep to flush waste from your brain, and amp up your grey matter with regular workouts. A walk or nature hike, especially shared with positive friends, enhances brain healing. Restorative sleep, consistent exercise and a supportive peer group, combined with brain foods and supplements, will put you at the top of your (mind) game.
Paige Purvis is an integrative nutrition health coach and CEO of Radiant Self Wellness.
Now that you know the best supplements for brain health, check out which supplements every woman can benefit from.