Top Food and Herbs for Concentration and Serenity

Young girl meditating in the park

Cocoa: 

Cocoa is a potent source of the calmness promoting mineral magnesium. It also contains caffeine to enhance concentration and hundreds of compounds that boost endorphins and serotonin (two chemicals that are responsible for making us feel happy and serene). Studies have found consuming cocoa also increases blood flow to the brain, which may in turn help increase concentration and overall cognitive performance.

Consumption Tips:

Look for dark chocolate with at least 80 % cocoa content. Better yet, try adding a tbsp of pure dark cocoa to a cup of weak green tea, add a bit of stevia (or your natural sweetener of choice) and drink-up. Yum!

Walnuts:

Walnuts are rich in omega-3s which help to enhance memory and concentration and boost cognitive performance. The omega-3s found in walnuts may also help to reduce ADHD symptoms, especially in those who are omega-3 deficient, and they may help prevent depression and cognitive decline as you age. Walnuts also contain small amounts of melatonin, which is a hormone that promotes relaxation, calmness and a good nights sleep.

Consumption Tips:

Toss walnuts over a salad or into stir-fry’s or try consuming a handful of walnuts as a snack before bed — the melatonin may provide the added benefit of helping you sleep.

Blueberries:

Blueberries are super rich in polyphenols which act as potent antioxidants and help to stimulate the flow of oxygen and blood to your brain, resulting in increased memory and concentration capabilities. The antioxidants also help to prevent free radicals from damaging your brain so that you can maintain your cognitive function as you age.

Consumption Tips:

Try consuming a handful of berries an hour before a big test or snacking on them on a demanding work day.

Schisandra:

Schisandra is a medicinal berry with adaptogenic properties. Adaptogens help to reduce mental and physical fatigue and stimulate the central nervous systems, which may in turn help increase concentration, attention span and focus. Adaptogens also help the body handle stress better, and in so doing, schisandra may help promote calmness and relieve anxiety.

Consumption Tips:

Schisandra can be found in a variety of forms including tincture, capsule, powder, tea and dried berry. Talk to your healthcare practitioner about the best form and dosage for you.

Passionflower:

Passionflower has long been used in folklore medicine to treat anxiety and insomnia. Studies have found passionflower works by increasing levels of the chemical GABA in your brain, which is beneficial because GABA helps induce a state of calmness and relaxation.

Consumption Tips:

Steep 1-2 grams of dried passionflower for 10 minutes, strain and enjoy up to 4 cups throughout the day.

Panax Ginseng:

Panax ginseng may help improve cognitive function and enhance concentration and memory. Although Panax Ginseng may have slight stimulatory properties, Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners use it to help the body deal with mental and physical stressors and return the body to a state of balance. In so doing, Panax Ginseng is believed to promote a state of calmness and a sense of wellbeing.

Consumption Tips:

Try talking Panax Ginseng in supplement form under the guidance of a healthcare practitioner. Be sure to use it for 2-3 weeks at a time, followed by a 2-3 weeks resting period.

Infographic (view on Pinterest)

 

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References:

[1] http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fphar.2015.00093/full
[2] http://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/2/1/e000647.full
[3] http://jn.nutrition.org/content/144/4/561S.full
[4] http://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/2/1/e000647.full
[5] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19056430
[6] http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/your-brain-on-blueberries/
[7] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2850944/
[8] www.mdpi.com/1424-8247/3/1/188/htm
[9] http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2012/161062/
[10] http://www.nutritionj.com/content/9/1/42
[11] http://umm.edu/health/medical-reference-guide/complementary-and-alternative-medicine-guide/herb/passionflower
[12] http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0061271
[13] http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/1000.html
[14] http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/asian-ginseng
[15] http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/asian-ginseng