This is a post from Mansal Denton, the manager and co-founder of Nootropedia, a nootropics and brain health brand that produces content and software tools to improve mental performance. He also has a fascination with psychedelics, but he won’t tell if you don’t.
When you’re enjoying an iced butter coffee with MCT oil and vanilla bean the furthest thing on your mind is how useful the whole concoction can be for your brain. Most people enjoying these drinks consider the great taste of Wild Foods ingredients and the overall health benefits of well-sourced, organic products.
While it might be a hidden benefit or afterthought, many of your daily ingredients from Wild Foods are cognitive enhancers that can help you increase concentration, focus, memory, and even prevent some signs of age-related decline (like Alzheimer’s and senile dementia).
Given that humans are more reliant on our brain than ever before in history, it is great to combine great tasting ingredients with brain boosting options that can help you to achieve more of what you want in life.
3 Ingredients with Mind Altering Effects
There is an entire community of people who use synthetic and natural drugs called “nootropics”, which are meant to improve cognitive abilities. While there are plenty of risks associated with some of these drugs, you can still see nootropic effects from ordinary ingredients.
1. Fish Oil
Thousands of years ago, our ancestors lived near streams and rivers to have a constant stream of water. Of course, living near these regions they consumed high quantities of fish and as a result have adapted to need fish oil and the constituents. The primary benefit of fish oil is for the omega-3 fatty acids and specifically DHA and EPA.
Even if you aren’t eating the standard American diet, there is a good chance you consume more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3s, which causes inflammation of the brain. By reducing inflammation and providing the brain with DHA and EPA, there are a host of downstream effects. Children with ADHD given fish oil were able to reduce their attention-deficit symptoms and there are over 20 studies showing a reduction in depression.
While new and not completely researched, a fatty acid called DPA may be even more useful for the brain than DHA and EPA. As of now, the menhaden fish oil is one of the only sources of this added feature.
2. MCT Oil
Short for medium-chain triglycerides, MCT oil has a host of health benefits similar to coconut oil (and even better in some cases). MCT is an excellent source of energy for your brain as it only requires 3 steps to convert into ATP versus 26 for glucose.
Because of this, many people in the nootropic community actually use MCT oil (in combination with other ingredients) in order to replace coffee and caffeine. This might be a great option to cycle off of caffeine every few weeks or months and still have the mental alertness and concentration.
Beyond attention and focus, MCT oil can help prevent symptoms of neurodegenerative diseases. One study in Neurodegenerative Disease Management showed that MCT alone could help prevent symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
3. Lemon Balm
Native to the Mediterranean region, this herb has been used for thousands of years as a calming agent. The ancient Romans and Greeks used to take lemon balm in order to relax and remove stress. Today, it is used as a calming tea due to the brain altering properties of the plant.
Lemon balm is full of a bioactive ingredient called rosmarinic acid. This acid inhibits a particular enzyme in the brain that breaks down a brain chemical called GABA. When you have more GABA you feel more relaxed and calm, which is the side effect of the plant. It’s only fitting that Lemon Balm Calm is the name for such a product!
Conscious Food Choices
In some way or another, every choice you make impacts your brain. It couldn’t be an immediate effect, such as drinking lemon balm tea, or it could be more downstream effects like the neuroprotection from eating MCT oil.
Either way, it’s important to make conscious food choices where you can be informed how your brain will react. If the ingredients you put into your body are your fuel, it’s best to maintain a high quality fuel for your brain.