“I need coffee in the morning” – We probably all know more people who start their days with a cup of coffee than ones who don’t. Many of these people would describe feeling more awake after their first cup of coffee.
Well, it is true that coffee is one of the beverages that may enhance mental performance:
The “black gold” contains caffeine which makes us feel more alert. Drinking coffee can improve focus, reaction time, and memory due to increased alertness and for those who don’t like coffee, there are alternatives, like tea.
- Green Tea
Just like coffee, nutty-flavoured green tea contains caffeine, in lower amounts – and yet, studies have shown that it can be as effective in improving focus, memory, and attention.
- Ginseng Tea
Another brain-boosting plant is Ginseng. It increases stamina and improves memory, as well as concentration. Research is being done to discover whether Ginseng contributes to the decreased risk of developing depression, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
- Turmeric tea
Turmeric, an orange spice that is often used to add some colour to food and drinks, may contribute to the slow progression of Alzheimer’s disease and improve memory based on the curcumin it contains.
Adding some milk to the tea, you get the so-called “Golden Milk,” which is a traditional Indian beverage known for its general health benefits.
Should you prefer trying some cool drinks to enhance your mental performance, you may opt for fruit juices.
- Orange Juice
The vitamin C in freshly squeezed orange juice enters our blood and leads to increased attention and memory.
- Berry Juice
If you like blueberries, you may be able to improve your memory by drinking them. In general, berries are known as brain food – they prevent cell damage as they are high in antioxidants and support memory.
- Green Juices
Kale, cucumber, spinach, avocado, and mint juices don’t only look healthy in liquid form, they are rich in nutrients that may boost your brain. You can add yogurt or banana for a creamier texture.
This beverage is made of fermented milk and is full of probiotics. Thinking in terms of the body-mind connection and the so-called gut-brain axis, Kefir may help your brain function by supporting the growth of healthy gut bacteria.
This beverage is another fermented drink. It is made of green or black tea in combination with bacteria, yeast, and sugar with the same effect on your body as described for kefir.
Most importantly, let’s not forget about water!
About 75 % of our brain volume is water. Even a low level of dehydration impacts our brain function. By ensuring regular water intake, you prevent cognitive impairment and memory loss. Stay hydrated!
The above list is not intended to be exhaustive. Even though some of the beverages mentioned can help boost our brains, human studies and further research are required to support that the intake improves memory, focus, performance, and productivity.
However, it may be worth trying to see whether these brain-boosting beverages work for you. Make sure you don’t overdose – research shows that more than 4 cups of coffee per day cannot be considered healthy.
If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach out here.
Franziska Richter is a transcultural counsellor with the Willingness Team, offering counselling sessions to individuals and couples. She is particularly interested in sexuality, relationship issues, trauma and general mental health.