Are super greens ‘Brain Food’?
As we age we know that it is sadly inevitable that our brain will no longer remain as sharp as it once was. Unfortunately, there is currently no magic pill to prevent the inescapable cognitive decline. Likewise, there is no known food that can reverse the effects of aging on the brain.
Nutritionists stress that the best strategy to brain health and longevity in cognitive function is to adopt a healthy diet that includes plenty of vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains. The diet should also include protein from fish and plant sources as well as healthy fats (e.g. olive oil, omega-3 fatty acids).
This being said, there are certain foods that are known to be especially rich in healthful components such as omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins A, B, K, and antioxidants — all of which have been found to help maintain a healthy brain and are commonly referred to as ‘Brain Foods’.
By including these foods into a healthy balanced diet it is suggested that an individual’s brain health can be maintained, which may lead to enhanced mental functioning.
Let us find out what are commonly talked about as the best brain foods available.
Fatty fish are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, a form of healthy unsaturated fat.
Omega-3 fatty acids help support brain health by lowering beta-amyloid levels in the blood.
This is important because high beta-amyloid levels result in the formation of brain-damaging clumps (this has been studied among individuals who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease).
As such you might consider including fatty fish in your diet. Some good sources include salmon, cod, mackerel and pollack.
For vegans, fret not, we have you covered with vegan-friendly options — the leafy greens.
For those who dislike fish or are unable to consume it due to diet restrictions here’s the good news — omega-3 fatty acids are also found in kale!
The plant-based omega-3 ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) has numerous health benefits such as reducing the risk of diabetes and depression.
Fighting diabetes and obesity is one way of avoiding brain degeneration. This is because high blood sugar has been found to cause rapid deterioration of blood vessels and brain cells.
So if you are looking for alternate sources of omega-3 kale might just be it!
But that’s not all. Kale is an extremely nutrient-dense food, packed with essential vitamins and minerals — everything that a healthy brain needs.
At just 33 calories per serving of kale, these are some of the many vitamins that you are getting (1):
- Vitamin A (206% RDA)
- Vitamin C (134% of RDA)
- Vitamin K (684% of RDA)
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin B12
What makes kale so good for brain health is its abundance of vitamin K. Compared to vitamin A and C vitamin K often doesn’t get much of the limelight. However this vitamin is essential in the body.
Vitamin K is an antioxidant that protects fat. It is one of the key factors required to produce sphingolipids (a specialized type of fat) that makes up the structure of our brain cells and improves the resilience of brain cells to damage through gene expression.
Given the benefits that vitamin K provides at the cellular level, it results in some improvement in cognitive performance (2).
Overall, you can consider adding kale into your diet as it is packed with all the essential vitamins and fats that can support healthy brain functioning, plus it’s high in fiber!
Ashwagandha is a medicinal herb with multiple health benefits. While this herb is best known for its ability to reduce stress, it has other health benefits such as improving blood sugar levels, increasing testosterone in men, and reducing inflammation in the body.
However, what makes Ashwagandha especially good for the brain is that it may also improve brain functioning and memory. Packed with antioxidants, Ashwagandha protects nerve cells in the brain from harmful free radicals.
Research has also found that adults who consume 300-500mg of Ashwagandha root extract daily exhibited a significant increase in general memory, reaction time, task performance, and attention — all of which indicates improvement in brain function (3, 4).
So if you were to find that you’re not as sharp as you were you may consider supplementing your diet with Ashwagandha so as to improve brain function and cognitive abilities.
Similar to Ashwagandha, Rhodiola Rosea is also a medicinal herb that has multiple health benefits, including improving brain functions. Research has found that individuals who consumed Rhodiola experienced significant improvements in performance tasks that were mentally and physically stressful (e.g. military work, physicians on night duty) (5, 6).
Additionally, they were less likely to exhibit signs of mental fatigue.
Based on the research, Rhodiola Rosea may be seen to help enhance your cognitive capacity when your body is under stress. So should you feel mentally fatigued from work or if you are experiencing difficulty in meeting your daily demands, Rhodiola Rosea may just be the supplement you need to increase your cognitive capacity and rise up to tackle these daily challenges.
Ginkgo Biloba is an established and popular herbal supplement. Harvested from the dried leaves of the gingko plant, it can be found in liquid, tablet, and capsule forms.
Ginkgo is said to have therapeutic properties such as improving cardiovascular health, eye health and memory. Many of Gingko’s health benefits may stem from its high antioxidant content. Packed with flavonoids and terpenoids, the damaging effects of free radicals can be reduced by taking this supplement.
Additionally research has found that Ginkgo may enhance cognitive function, manifesting in the form of improved motor performance and emotional evaluation (7).
This suggests that the addition of Gingko into your diet may be beneficial in improving your health both physically and mentally.
You might have not heard of Bacopa Monnieri but it is a staple ingredient in traditional Ayurvedic medicine. This herb has been used for centuries for its memory enhancing and anti-inflammatory properties8.
Bacopa Monnieri contains antioxidants that prevent lipid peroxidation — a process where fat molecules in our body react with free radicals.
This is important because lipid peroxidation is linked to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s (9).
Preventing this damaging process may reduce the negative impacts of such diseases.
Apart from preventing damage to the brain cells, Bacopa Monnieri may also support other brain functions. Studies have found that individuals who consume 300mg of Bacopa Monnieri daily saw a significant increase in visual processing, learning and memory (10).
This can be attributed to Bacopa Monnieri increasing dendritic length and branching in the brain — which is closely linked to learning and memory.
As a result, Bacopa Monnieri may prevent brain deterioration and also brain development — possibly covering off two major issues with cognitive function (especially in aging).
L-Theanine is an amino acid that is found naturally in green tea and black tea.
Research has found that L-Theanine improves mental focus. Individuals who consumed 100mg of L-Theanine performed better in attention tasks and the effects were similar to consuming caffeine (11).
Additionally, studies have found that L-Theanine may have neuroprotective effects – a potential aspect of enhancing brain function. So L-Theanine may be more than just an amino acid. It may have positive effects on our brain health too!
L-Tyrosine is another compound from the amino acid family. It can be found naturally in dairy products, poultry, nuts, beans, oats and wheat.
Initially used for individuals who are suffering from Phenylketonuria (people who cannot naturally process certain forms of amino acids), research has found that this amino acid may offer more in otherwise healthy subjects.
Studies conducted on L-Tyrosine found that it improves mental performance and memory capabilities among individuals who were placed in stressful conditions such as being expected to multi-task (12).
Similar to the amino acid L-Theanine, L-Tyrosine may also be beneficial towards supporting brain health.
Super Greens: Beneficial For Brain Health
Now that you know about all the sources of brain food available, the next question you’re probably asking is “where do I get them?”.
While fatty fish and kale can easily be found in your local supermarkets, the other medicinal herbs are less likely to be available there. By only getting two out of the eight sources of brain foods you may be shortchanging yourself.
This is where super greens come into the picture.
Super greens are dietary supplements that come in powder form and can be easily consumed by mixing with water or juice.
Depending on the brand, the ingredients of super greens powder may vary. Here are some of the common ingredients used.
- A variety of leafy greens: Spinach, parsley, kale and collards
- Other vegetables: Beets, carrots, tomatoes, cabbage, soy sprout and broccoli
- Different types of seaweeds: Kelp, chlorella, spirulina and dulse
- Edible grasses: Wheatgrass, alfalfa grass, barley grass and oat grass
- Fruits rich in anti-oxidants: Acai berries, raspberries, goji berries, acerola berry and blueberries
- Extracts from nutritional foods: Ginkgo biloba extract, green tea extract, licorice root extract and grape seed extract
- Probiotics: Lactobacillus (L.) rhamnosus, Bifidobacterium lactis and L. acidophilus.
- Digestive enzymes from plants: Protease, amylase, lipase, papain and cellulase.
- Healthy herbs: milk thistle, holy basil, astragalus and echinacea
- Mushrooms: Shitake and maitake mushroom extract
- Natural sweeteners: Stevia leaf extract, monk fruit extract
- Fiber: Apple fiber, rice bran and inulin
Given the wide range of fruits and vegetables included, super greens are extremely nutritious as they are packed with vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients.
On average, one serving of greens powder will contain:
- Calories: 40 kcal
- Carbohydrates: 7 grams
- Fat: 0.5 grams
- Protein: 2 grams
- Dietary fiber: 2 grams
- Sugars: 1 gram
- Vitamin A (as beta-carotene): 80% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
- Vitamin C: 80% of the RDI
- Vitamin K: 60% of the RDI
- Sodium: 2% of the RDI
- Calcium: 5% of the RDI
- Potassium: 5% of the RDI
- Iodine: 100% of the RDI
- Iron: 20% of the RDI
- Selenium: 70% of the RDI
- Chromium: 60% of the RDI
If you look closely, super greens do offer a good amount of vitamin K, and some of the aforementioned foods (e.g. gingko extract).
The ingredients will depend on the brand that you choose and there is still no guarantee that you will be getting all the brain foods and vitamins that are available out there.
This is what sets SuperGreen Tonik apart from regular super greens — our ingredients.
We believe in holistic supplementation.
Apart from simply meeting your daily recommended amounts of vitamins and minerals, we recognize the importance of brain health, so we have included the best brain nutrients in our formula to keep you at the top of your game.
Here are the SuperGreen TONIK ingredients we use in our formula that are proven to support brain health:
- Organic Kale (2000 mg)
- Ashwagandha Root Extract (500 mg)
- Bacopa Monnieri (300 mg)
- Rhodiola Rosea (300 mg)
- Ginkgo Biloba (240 mg)
- L-Tyrosine (200 mg)
- L-Theanine (250 mg)
We have included all of the best-performing brain foods available in our product (with the exception of fatty fish because our product is vegan-friendly).
We carefully selected these ingredients to ensure that you get all the benefits available just from one product — reducing the need to consume different supplements.
Additionally our product offers the nutritional value of consuming a wide variety of fruits and vegetables with the added convenience of being in a powder form.
Studies have shown that green powders have multiple health benefits, some examples include lowering risks of chronic illnesses, strengthening the immune system and weight loss.
Alongside these superstar brain foods we also use superfood ingredients like spirulina.
Spirulina comes from the algae family and is likely to be one of the most nutrient-dense foods in the world. A single tablespoon of spirulina powder is packed with proteins, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, copper and iron.
Furthermore spirulina may also improve blood lipids, blood pressure and sugar-metabolising ability.
We created SuperGreen Tonik with the intention of it being an all-in-one product. Not only does it help you hit your daily fruit and vegetable target it also enhances your overall well-being, brain health and immune system.
SuperGreen Tonik is not merely brain food, it is a holistic health supplement that you should consider adding into your diet to ensure that your body is able to achieve optimum physical and brain health.
Check out our article Why You Should Think About Consuming Green Powders to find out more about the benefits of this supplement.