Medically Reviewed By Elizabeth A. Swick, MS, RDN
IMPROVING MEMORY & CONCENTRATION WITH POLYPHENOLS
It doesn't matter how dedicated you are to something or how committed you are to completing a task - if your mind isn't on the matter at hand, you can't achieve it. Many people find that cognitive function is a major limiting factor in their lives. They may find it hard to recall information, remember faces, or focus on tasks for long periods. If these issues sound familiar, getting antioxidant support from polyphenols may help you overcome the mental barriers to success.
WHAT ARE FREE RADICALS AND WHY DO THEY MATTER?
The reason why polyphenols benefit the mind is because of how they interact with free radicals. All-day long, you are bombarded by these reactive particles found in pollution and ultraviolet (UV) energy, which can lead to oxidative damage of cells in your brain and body.
To defend against the threat of free radicals, your body produces the antioxidant glutathione. When it comes in contact with free radicals, glutathione breaks them down into harmless components. In an ideal world, your body's natural master antioxidant alone might be enough to keep oxidation in check. Unfortunately, pollution levels and damage to the ozone layer mean that our bodies need extra protection.
This is where your diet comes into play. Antioxidants from your foods can bolster your defenses against free radical damage.
WHAT ARE POLYPHENOLS?
Polyphenols are more than 8,000 types of micronutrients found in plants. These natural compounds give fruits and vegetables their colors and flavors, and when you eat foods that contain them, your body can put those polyphenols to use.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF POLYPHENOLS FOR THE BRAIN?
Polyphenols are powerful antioxidants that fight oxidative damage. Studies show they may provide many benefits for the brain, including:
- Reducing inflammation of the brain tissue, lining, and nerves to improve the transmission of signals
- Inhibiting the formation of plaque associated with memory loss from dementia and Alzheimer's
- Lowering the likelihood of cellular damage due to free radical activity
- Enhancing the growth and development of brain cells
In simple terms, antioxidants may:
- Enhance concentration
- Improve memory as you age
- Increase your ability to focus
- Support your ability to learn new things
- Lead to improvements in recall
Antioxidants also offer benefits beyond the brain. They have been shown to reduce the risk of some forms of cancers, fight widespread inflammation and support heart health.
FOODS THAT IMPROVE MEMORY & CONCENTRATION
Eating foods that are rich in polyphenols is one way to support brain health. Some antioxidant powerhouses to add to your diet include:
- Black beans
- Chocolate, Dark unprocessed
- Flax seeds
- Grapeseed oil
- Olive oil
- Soy milk
- Soy yogurt
- White beans
Each of the foods on this list contains various polyphenols. To provide the best dietary support for cognitive function, strive to eat multiple foods from this list every day.
COGNITION AND MEMORY BOOSTING SUPPLEMENTS WITH POLYPHENOLS
Although there are many delicious ways to add polyphenols to your diet, you may still struggle to consume enough healthy foods to get adequate antioxidant support. It is not always possible to cook meals at home with today's hectic lifestyles, and even taking along healthy lunches and snacks to work may prove difficult.
If you know your diet falls short from a nutritional standpoint, dietary supplements may help to bridge the gap. Choosing one rich in polyphenols can give you the antioxidant support you need. Some cognition and memory-boosting supplements to consider include:
- Blueberry extract
- Cocoa bean extract
- Grape seed extract
Just as it's essential to consume a variety of polyphenols through the foods you eat, smart supplementation involves getting antioxidant support from more than one source. You could take multiple supplements, but that can quickly become complicated and expensive.
EXEED Mind from Body Kitchen offers a simpler solution. This supplement contains Memophenol, a blend of whole grapes and whole blueberries. It also features cocoa bean extract and other ingredients shown to increase mental acuity. In addition, the supplement treats you to the benefits of Lutemax 20/20 and zeaxanthin, two carotenoid antioxidants. Studies have shown that these plant-based nutrients help to protect the eyes from free radicals and blue light damage.
If you want to enhance concentration and memory through supplements, talk to your doctor first. Although dietary supplements are safe for most people, they may cause side effects or interact with medications. The instructions for taking Focus Daily Clarity appear right on the bottle. You should follow the directions for use for best results unless your medical provider advises you differently