Apples contain high amounts of fiber and natural sugars that breakdown slowly in the body, releasing a steady stream of glucose into the bloodstream and providing the body with a consistent source of energy. Research showed that apples improve neurological health because they contain quercetin, one of two compounds found to reduce inflammation of neurons. Another study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease connected the consumption of apple juice to an increase in an important neurotransmitter, acetylcholine, which has been found to improve the memories in mice with symptoms of dementia.
In a study funded by the Hass Avocado Board, avocados were found to improve lutein levels in the brain, which is related to improved cognition. The avocado’s mono-saturated fats also benefit the information-carrying nerves in the brain.
Although not a food per se, the first meal of the morning — whether it’s eggs, oatmeal, or yogurt — is important for short-term memory recall. Numerous studies have shown that students who eat breakfast perform better on tests than their peers and are able to focus longer.
Kale, spinach, and turnip greens are rich in folate, which has been found to keep the brain functioning at full speed. Research showed that individuals with low levels of folate, also known as folic acid or vitamin B9, in their bodies had a higher chance of developing depression. Depression alters the brain’s chemicals and can be inherently energy-draining.
Chewing (not swallowing) gum will help fight off drowsiness. A study conducted using a small sampling of undergraduate students showed that the simple motion of chewing kept them more alert than not chewing at all.
Flickr Andrea Pokryzwinski
Salmon is a legitimate superfood. DHA, or docosahexaenoic acid, a long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid prominent in fatty fish like salmon, has been linked to improved cognitive functioning. In children, a lack of DHA can lead to behavioral issues such as attention hyperactivity disorder and aggressive hostility.