But hacking your focus could be as simple as hacking your diet. Which doesn’t even necessarily mean eating exclusively brain-boosting foods (things like avocados, beets, bone broth, and coconut oil, for the record). In fact, it could be as easy as using the right herbs to spice up your usual meals. Tap into the focus-enhancing potential of herbs with these four must-haves picks that give your favorite foods a burst of flavor, while giving you a burst of brain power.
Rosemary is so strong when it comes to boosting your focus and cognitive function that you don’t even have to eat it to reap its benefits – just a whiff of the stuff is all it takes to enjoy a rosemary-induced brain boost. Research has shown that the link between the herb and your brain largely comes down to 1,8-cineole, the active compound in rosemary that triggers an increase in memory- and learning-enhancing neurotransmitters in your brain.
You might already know that cinnamon is an antioxidant powerhouse in its own right, with a whole host of benefits to its name. But amongst its impressive repertoire of benefits, one of the big ones is that it can be especially helpful in boosting your cognitive function. So much so, in fact, that studies have found cinnamon to be an effective tool in fending off symptoms of dementia in the elderly. And like rosemary, the brain benefit of the spice is hardly contingent on you actually eating it, and a smell could be all you need to enjoy the boost.
If you’re a fan of spicy foods, you’re (as in, your brain is) in luck. Research has often found a connection between spicy foods and heightened brain function. For one thing, the main ingredient in pepper, piperine, has been linked to enhanced cognitive function in addition to reduced symptoms of depression. Plus, studies have found that eating spicy food leads to a reaction in the brain that could tie into improved learning and memory.
There’s a long – like, seriously, long – list of reasons that you should be sprinkling a little bit of turmeric onto your food and into your lattes, but one of the big ones is better brain function. Because it actually increases your brain’s oxygen intake, turmeric can play a role in keeping you alert and keeping your mind performing its best. Not to mention, curcumin – the main bioactive compound in turmeric – has been linked to reduced risk of stress, anxiety, and depression.