7 Best Brain Supplements to Boost Brain Health and Performance

On the hunt for brain boosters? Ah, welcome to the club. This is a topic that’s near and dear to my own heart. Mainly because I cannot begin to count the number of times I’ve desperately needed my brain to cooperate…and she pretty much just chose to go on vacation. Thus my quest to discover which brain vitamins and nutrients improve mental function and then find the best brain supplements that actually work. 

To do anything successfully – be it studying or completing a work project – you need your mental faculties to be performing at the top of their game. And sure, the basics like getting enough sleep, exercising daily, keeping super hydrated, and taking frequent breaks help. But what do you do when it’s just not enough?

Coffee’s the go-to choice for many of us and it certainly helps prevent grogginess, but it does little for focus and concentration, especially if you – like me – get jittery and nervous from too much caffeine.

The good news is there are several other, all-natural brain power supplements that dramatically boost brain function.

The best part? These brain boosters come with health perks, rather than side effects.​

Top 7 Best Brain Supplements that are true Brain Superfoods

Whether you're looking for an effective brain food for ​exams or hoping to boost overall brain health, look no further. Here are Mother Nature's most effective brain boosters!

1. Choose Cacao as the brain food for studying

Cacao isn’t just delicious – it’s a guilt-free concentration aid and one of the best brain foods that help you concentrate. For starters, it’s a rich source of flavonoids, which are essentially antioxidants that promote blood flow to the brain, helping to improve concentration and alertness while also double-dutying to suppress sweet cravings.​

And that’s not all – cacao’s packed with tons of phytochemicals like confidence-enhancing tryptophan, stress-busting phenethylamine, and bliss-promoting anandamide – all compounds that aid in enhancing memory, focus, attention span, and even boosting your mood.

As if that weren’t enough, cacao also has a bit of caffeine to keep your mind sharp and alert well into those late night study sessions.

2. Chia Seeds are packed with brain nutrients

If you’re preparing for a mentally-intense day, make sure you incorporate chia into your breakfast for a helpful load of brain boosters.

These tiny seeds are a bona fide brain food – they’re high in a range of B vitamins that aid your focus, they’re packed with antioxidants and brain health vitamins that protect your precious brain cells, plus they’re an awesome plant-based source of protein (nearly 14% protein by weight + essential amino acids) which is crucial for producing the brain cells and neurotransmitters that regulate concentration.

Omega-3s also comprise about 25-30% of a chia seed’s composition, which is great since these fatty acids boost the function of neurotransmitters, enhancing both memory and cognitive skills.

And the focus you get from chia seeds isn’t followed by a crash – these seeds boast an incredibly low Glycemic Load and provide slow and sustainable energy (translation: better focus and sustained attention levels) that’ll prevent fatigue and foggy thinking.

3. GINKGO BILOBA​ is one of the best supplements for brain health

​The Chinese have been using ginkgo biloba as for centuries to give their brain a helpful boost. And recently, it's made its way to the West, where several studies have confirmed its standing as a 'brain herb.' Ginkgo works by improving focus, concentration and memory by increasing oxygen flow to the brain.

But that's just a part of what it does - in recent studies, ginkgo biloba demonstrated anti-oxidant abilities and was shown to improve platelet and nerve cell functions as well as blood flow to the nervous system as well as the brain.

It even helps reduce blood viscosity, increase vascular dilation and reduces damage from macular degradation. As such, it's a superherb that not boosts focus, concentration and memory - but it's also believed to protect against neurocognitive decline and disorders like Alzheimer's disease, dementia, depression, senility and short-term memory loss, making ginkgo biloba one of the best supplements for brain health. 

4. MATCHA is the best brain food before a test

You already know green tea is good for you - but have you met its older, stronger brother? Matcha is a whole-leaf powdered green tea with much more potent benefits than the average green tea.

Its claim to brain superfood fame? Its packed with L-theanine, an amino acid, which helps deal with stress, calms you down and provides a relaxed and steady increase in concentration and focus.

In 2007, the University of New York did a study which showed a strong correlation between the alpha brain wave production and the consumption of L-theanine - in other words there was an enhancement of focus and concentration.

It's even been found that just a 200ml level of matcha increases the production of alpha brain waves (you know, the brain waves that are slower in frequency than beta brainwaves and known to present a state of relaxed yet focused attention).

5. CAMU CAMU has loads of vitamins for brain health and function

This Amazonian berry is best known for its exceptional Vitamin C content - it's the richest known source of this vital vitamin (giving 60 times more Vitamin C per serving than an orange). And even better - camu camu also contains a full profile of phytochemicals and amino acids that make the positive effect of vitamin C even more powerful than when taken alone.

That's great news 'cause powerful antioxidants like Vitamin C play a crucial role in brain health and function - antioxidants have been shown to shield the brain from memory loss and contribute to enhanced memory as well as improve learning capacity and lower stress.

Add to that amino acids like valine, serine and leutine - which are all necessary for healthy mental functioning - and flavonoids like gallic acid and ellagic acid - which protect our brains from free radical damage and inflammation - and you get one of Mother Nature's best brain health supplements: camu camu.

6. ​Lecithin is one must-have brain supplement

If it's not just focus and concentration you struggle with, but you often find yourself feeling dazed out and mired in mental foggy-grogginess, you might benefit from lecithin.

Lecithin is a fat-like, naturally occurring substance and it is essential to have an abundant supply of it for proper brain function.

It contains choline, inositol and linoleic acid - all of which are crucial to maintaining important processes in the brain like neurotransmitter synthesis and healthy cell-to-cell communication.

Adding lecithin to your diet can help boost cognitive functions like alertness, concentration and memory, especially when combined with a diet high in brain health vitamins (see camu camu above), minerals and amino acids.​

​7. SPIRULINA is a surprisingly effective brain booster

Spirulina is a pretty name, but this blue-green algae is actually not an algae - it's considered a cyanobacteria.

But don't let that turn you off - this superfood is a super rich source of bioavailable protein as well as all the key amino acids, which is crucial since amino acids are the building blocks of your brain's network, helping to connect the neurotransmitters that are essential for keeping your brain sharp, improving memory and concentration as well as fighting off stress.

It's also got a powerful cocktail of other brain nutrients like iron, vitamins A, E, and K, and some of the B- vitamins (which are useful in protecting the brain), enzymes, minerals, and even beneficial fatty acids such as DHA and GLA (crucial to brain health and mental function).

One study found an 81 percent improvement in academic scores when children took one gram of spirulina every day for six months. Another study showed that using one gram of blue-green algae daily for 10 weeks with 109 children, most of the children showed significant improvement in their ability to focus, concentrate, and follow directions.

Sure, it may be a bacteria, but it's also one of the best brain supplements to protect the brain and improve cognitive functioning, focus, concentration and memory.​

Mental focus and physical energy go hand-in-hand. If you're looking to not only boost your mental prowess, but keep your energy levels high and mighty throughout the day - check out the top superfoods for energy!

About the Author Jessica

After growing up a perpetually pudgy kid, Jessica discovered real food - and her waistline shortly afterward. When she's not crafting concoctions in the kitchen, she spends her free time writing about food, making her own deodorant, watching sci-fi, doing headstands, and looking for gluten free food that doesn't suck.

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