The 5 brain-boosting drinks that a dietitian always drinks

HHealth experts routinely recommend increasing your intake of foods packed with brain-boosting nutrients, including salmon, walnuts, and green leafy vegetables. But did you know that there are also a host of beverages you can rely on to support cognition?

To help you sip your way to improvements in memory and alertness, as well as reduce your risk of cognitive decline as you age, we asked New York-based dietitian Bianca Tamburello, RDN, to share your own drinks to stimulate the brain. .

5 DR-Approved Brain-Boosting Drinks

1. Turmeric Latte

Instantly recognizable by its deeply pigmented golden hue, turmeric is a revered spice in Indian cuisine that is also delicious when served in the form of turmeric latte. The spice is famous in the nutrition community for its wide-ranging health benefits, including the potential to stimulate the brain, largely thanks to its active ingredient curcumin. “In an 18-month study, participants given Theracurmin, a form of curcumin, twice daily experienced better memory and increased attention,” says Tamburello. She notes that two of curcumin’s properties are likely to facilitate these benefits: “Its anti-inflammatory effects, which decrease harmful chronic inflammation; and its antioxidant effects, which fight free radicals that can damage cells in the body.”

As a bonus, Tamburello says that curcumin can increase dopamine and serotonin levels to improve mood naturally, so it’s worth ordering or making your own turmeric latte. A word to the wise: Be sure to add a pinch of black pepper to the mix to increase the bioavailability of curcumin by 2,000 percent (!).

2. Red wine

Who’s ready to start wine o’clock for the sake of improving brain function? “Studies show that responsible consumption of red wine can have a positive impact on brain health, largely due to resveratrol, a powerful antioxidant abundant in red wine,” says Tamburello (much to our delight). “Resveratrol offers protective effects to help protect brain cells from harmful substances. It also has anti-inflammatory properties to help fight chronic inflammation related to certain diseases and can help improve memory and mood.” In addition, research shows that red wine consumption “is correlated with a reduction in the incidence of neurodegenerative diseases associated with oxidative stress such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.”

But before you get too excited about the protective powers of wine, Tamburello reminds us that binge drinking is never the way to go, and will instead work against your health, cognitive, and other goals. Of course, moderation is key, so it can help to shop for options that promote healthier drinking. “As a registered dietitian, I recommend looking for a low-sugar red wine that comes in mini-bottles for easy portion control,” she shares. And of course, Tamburello discourages anyone who has beginning drink for the sake of health.

3. Mixed Berry Smoothies

Berries are tried-and-true antioxidant powerhouses, and blending them into a smoothie is a surefire way to enjoy their flavors, support your daily fruit intake, and enjoy their multitude of benefits for your brain and increased well-being. “Blueberries are particularly beneficial because they are especially rich in anthocyanins, an antioxidant that gives berries their blue, purple, and red colors,” says Tamburello. In an observational study evaluating berry consumption in older adults over the course of 20 years, researchers found that those who reported higher consumption of blueberries and strawberries demonstrated slower rates of cognitive decline. These findings were largely attributed to the berries’ high flavonoid content, including anthocyanins and anthocyanidins.

Berries also work their magic to increase brain activity. “In a 2014 study, older adults who ate more blueberries and strawberries showed increased blood flow to the brain and experienced better memory,” says Tamburello. Simply put, loading up on berries is one of the best things you can do to support long-term brain health, so stock up on a mix of these fruits, whether fresh or frozen, and mix them into one of the brain’s most powerful. stimulating drinks available.

4. coffee

If the thought of freshly roasted coffee puts you in a good mood, you’ll be even more pleased to know that your morning cup not only helps perk you up, but can also protect against age-related cognitive decline. “Caffeine is the component in coffee that can take credit for many of coffee’s brain-boosting benefits,” says Tamburello. “It increases brain and spinal cord activity and makes us more alert by actively blocking adenosine, a natural chemical that causes that sleepy feeling.”

Better yet, Tamburello shares that caffeine consumption can improve cognitive function and mood, the latter of which I can personally attest to as a firm “no talk before coffee” type, as well as protect against dementia and depression. Alzheimer disease. “One study shows that 38 to 400 mg of caffeine is the sweet spot for optimizing benefits while minimizing risks like dehydration, headaches, and anxiety,” adds Tamburello, noting that a cup of coffee contains about 95 mg of caffeine.

Hot Tip: If you like tea over coffee, rest assured that a variety of teas (including but not limited to green tea) also offer brain-boosting benefits.

5. Water

Last but certainly not least, H2O earns a rightful place on this list of dietitian-approved drinks for brain health. “We can’t talk about brain-boosting drinks without mentioning water and the importance of hydration, as the body cannot function properly without adequate water,” says Tamburello. “Even mild dehydration can reduce energy levels, negatively affect cognitive performance and memory, and increase anxiety.”

Additionally, a small study of healthy female participants found that inadequate hydration was linked to increased perceived task difficulty and reduced ability to concentrate, as well as drops in mood. In other words, if you want to keep her brain sharp and in control of her mood, fill (and refill) her water bottle regularly throughout the day.

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