We are all looking for ways to improve our focus, clarity, and overall brainpower. Who doesn’t want to feel inspired, innovative, and socially adept? It's no wonder coffee is one of the largest cash crops. People hunger for the hyper alertness and extra energy that is often reaped from the caffeine buzz. But with a Starbucks on every corner in most big cities, it’s clear that the coffee craze has gone out of balance. Too much coffee can deplete the adrenals, plus the environmental impact of the way coffee is currently produced is severe. While there are nutritional benefits to coffee, most people have developed an unnecessary dependence on it. People with a certain genetic make-up have an extra hard time processing caffeine, making coffee especially harmful for some. Coffee has become so ubiquitous and the need for it so high, that we are deforesting millions of acres of land in the rainforest and limiting biodiversity of plants to get it. So the question is, how else can we have the alertness, energy, and focused determination we are looking for?
That’s where brain food comes in. Brain foods are whole foods and herbs that result in super clarity, alertness, and focused thinking. Brain food not only gives us the energy we are looking for, its effects are balancing and nourishing, instead of addictive and depleting. Brain food provides the fuel, energy, and clarity we need to engage in important business discussions, creative planning, clear communication and more, all of which are important aspects to the New Moon in Gemini coming up Tuesday, June 16th.
Gemini is ruled by the planet Mercury, and Mercury is all about communication, ideas, connection, change and movement. With Mercury now direct, this is the perfect time to harness the energy of powerful ideas and communication. There is also an important trine happening between the Air signs. All Air signs relate to the realm of thought and ideas. This new cycle might bring with it opportunities for inspiring connections and co-creations, creative planning and brainstorming, and harnessing our inner visionary to develop new visions and strategies for our lives and/or businesses. Incorporating some of these brain foods into your life at this time may help amplify the positive potentials of this cycle. Here are my top choices for nourishing brain food:
Coconut Oil: Considered one of the best foods for the brain because of its rich source of medium chain triglycerides (MCT’s). MCT’s don’t metabolize the way normal fats due. They are able to bypass some of the digestive stages, and make it straight to your liver where they are converted into ketones. The ketones are then released into the bloodstream and immediately delivered to your brain to be used as fuel. Research has shown that coconut oil has helped in reducing the symptoms of those with neurological disorders. It provides long, slow-burning energy for the brain, allowing you to persist in a project, plan or thought strategy for long period of time.
Bacopa Monnieri (aka Brahmi): Bacopa Monnieri is an herb commonly used in Ayurveda. The various bacosides present in this ancient herb promotes neuron communication, improves cognition and reduces anxiety. A double blind study performed in Australia at University of Wollongong, has shown that Bacopa Monnieri is useful in the retention of new information. It also improves memory and is an adaptogen, meaning that it helps regulate and reduce stress.
Mucuna Pruriens: This is another incredible ayurvedic brain herb that is commonly combined with Bacopa Monnieri for a powerful effect on the brain. It contains antioxidant content that combined with L-Dopa, help to stimulate the production of important neurotransmitters including dopamine, noradrenaline, and adrenaline. It helps reduce stress, improve mood, and protect the brain.
Iced Chocolate Chai Brain Power-Up
I like chai all year round because of its delicious taste and wonderful effects on digestion. Since it’s summer, we’re going to pour it over ice for a refreshing drink. I’ve left out some of the more heating spices like black peppercorns and ginger to balance the summertime heat. Here is a great recipe to share in a team meeting, while writing your latest blog, or for incorporating new learning and skills into your life!
- 1 ½ C Water
- ½ TBS Tahini
- 2 TBS Coconut Oil
- 2 Dates
- ½ TBS Mucuna Pruriens Powder
- 1 TBS Raw Cacao Powder
- 1 tsp Cinnamon
- 15-20 cardamom seeds (not pods)
- ½ tsp Bacopa Monnieri Powder
Blend all ingredients on high powered blender until smooth. Pour over ice and enjoy!
This beautiful article was written by the incredible nutritionist, health-coach, and author Jennifer Lotus. For more of her bliss bites, go to JenniferLotus.com