Drinks a neuroscientist recommends for better brain health

When it comes to drinks, we all know that you can’t do better than water.

If, however, you find water boring at times, you should at least try to replace it with drinks that are doing you some good, especially if you are worried about the health of your brain.

Obviously it is best to avoid sugary drinks or those with artificial additives or sweeteners, but neuroscientist Dr Kristen Willeumier recently wrote for mindbodygreen.com that there are three drinks she recommends for better brain health.

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Coconut water
Popular with fitness fanatics for its ability act as a natural sports drink, coconut water also has many other health benefits.

According to Dr Willeumier, it contains many of the electrolytes contained in sports drinks, but none of the synthetic sugars or artificial colours.

“Coconut water also contains antioxidants like vitamin C that can help fight oxidative stress. The drink can also lower blood sugar, blood pressure, and unhealthy cholesterol and triglycerides, according to research,” she explained.

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“Personally, I think coconut water tastes so refreshing, giving you a flavour boost without any sugar or artificial sweeteners.”

Whether it’s a much-needed pause in your day or a social excuse to catch up with a friend, tea has many physiological as well as holistic health benefits.

Green tea, in particular, can boost your endurance and metabolic rate. The antioxidants in green tea also increase the body’s ability to burn fat and encourage weight loss.

A systematic review of the effects of tea on mood and cognitive function found that the caffeine, catechins and the amino acid, L-theanine, in tea can boost alertness and attention-switching accuracy up to two hours after consumption. 

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“Tea also has amazing benefits for your brain,” Dr Willeumier explained.

“Drink green, black, and oolong tea, and you may be able to thwart cognitive decline by as much as 50 per cent, according to recent research.

“Other studies have shown that green tea can lower anxiety, boost memory, hone attention, and improve overall brain function and connectivity.

“Green, black, white, and oolong tea also contain L-theanine, an amino acid that helps relax the central nervous system. And while they don’t include anywhere near the amount of caffeine found in coffee, these teas have a small amount of caffeine, which helps to increase alertness and improve our mood.”

Green juices
You may remember telling your kids to ‘eat their greens’, but you might have had more luck if you told them to drink them.

Running green vegetables through a juicer can provide you with a refreshing boost and a power punch of nutrients.

While a smoothie made with green vegetables shouldn’t replace these items in your diet, it is still a good option for a healthy and hydrating drink.

“Green juice is also packed with chlorophyll, the pigment that gives plants their green colour, which helps detoxify and oxygenate the blood and lowers inflammation,” Dr Willeumier explains.

“Pressing vegies into juice breaks down cell walls and starches, allowing nutrients to be more readily absorbed.

“What’s more, green juice doesn’t contain fibre, which can bind to micronutrients and cause them to pass through our digestive tract without absorption.”

Other than water what drinks do you drink at home to try and stay healthy?

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Written by Ben