Share on Pinterest
Design by Lauren Park

When you get those 3 p.m. brain fuzzies, your first instinct may be to reach for another cup of coffee — but that’s old news. With all the brain food that’s readily available today, there’s more than one way to wade through your fatigue.

As a kid, you may have heard of “brain food” — the nourishing foods that help to develop and structure your brain. Even though we’re done growing, we still want to focus on eating foods that will keep us focused and help us get things done.

We’re not the type to say no to chocolate, but relying on foods with a lot of sugar for energy is going to lead to a crash. Especially in the afternoon!

So we found foods to help you fend off your midday slump.

Fish have two different types of omega-3 fatty acids called EPA and DHA. Both of these are really important in maintaining your brain health. The body does not naturally make them, so we have to get them from our diet.

They’re abundant in oily fish like salmon, trout, mackerel, and sardines. This 10-minute recipe for salmon tacos will give you your daily dose of omega-3s.

If you’re not a fish fan, you can also get the benefits from flaxseed, chia seeds, and pumpkin seeds. Add these seeds to a smoothie, salad, or yogurt bowl.

This large, white, and rather fluffy mushroom might look like a little pet but it’s full of benefits! It contains a protein called NGF which is neuro-protective, meaning it can enhance focus, function, and cognition.

You can chop them up, season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and sautée them in Ghee. You can also find it in a powdered form and add it to your smoothies.

Yes, chocolate! Cacao is the unheated version of the cocoa bean — almost identical in its rich, velvety taste.

Not only is it delicious but it’s also high in antioxidants which is great for decreasing inflammation. Inflammation is what causes the fuzzy brain effect.

A study done by Dr. Sorond, a neurologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, concluded that consuming cacao on a daily basis, can increase blood flow to the brain, providing it with oxygen and a rich supply of nutrients that overall can improve cognitive function.

The more nutrients we can get from our food, the closer we get to our body’s preferred balanced state and the better we feel! Here is a delicious hot cacao to drink any time of year.

Nuts also play a role in fighting the fuzzies, most likely due to their phytochemicals, omega-3s and antioxidants. Studies have shown better cognitive health in those who consumed a 1/4 cup of walnuts per day compared to those who did not.

Look for walnuts that are raw and organic and save money by purchasing from the bulk bin section at the grocery. They’re delicious tossed in this Fall Harvest Buddah Bowl with sweet potatoes, brussel sprouts, and a maple tahini dressing, or eaten in the form of a nut butter on toast.

Also known as the “brain berry” according to a study led by James Joseph, PhD, at Tufts University. They’re excellent for the brain and can even boost our memory. Plus their vibrant blue color means they’re high in antioxidants and flavonoids — highest out of all other fruits and veggies!

Simply a handful of berries a day can do the job.

Sip on this smoothie to incorporate all these foods in one fell swoop! Making it a consistent part of your daily routine can truly make the difference in eliminating those brain fuzzies!

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons cacao powder
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 teaspoon lion’s mane adaptogen powder (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • ice
  • water or nut milk

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. For a thicker consistency, use frozen fruit rather than fresh and limit the amount of liquid you add in.

Ali Bourgerie is the founder of Shifting Nutrition, and a board-certified holistic nutritionist located in Portland, OR. Follow her journey on her website and Instagram.