Many individuals are looking for easy methods to boost their memory, focus, and productivity. That’s why “smart drugs,” or nootropics are increasing in popularity. Nootropics are a class of synthetic or natural compounds that may enhance your brain function.
While several nootropic supplements are there, many beverages contain natural nootropic compounds .
What’s more, other beverages boast ingredients, such as probiotics or antioxidants, that may strengthen our brain function. Here are a few drinks and juices that may boost your brain health.
The Best Brain Boosting Juices
1. Beetroot Juice
Beets are a deep red root vegetable that is naturally rich in nitrates — a precursor to nitric oxide, which our body utilizes to improve blood flow and promote cell oxygenation.
Although most individuals drink beetroot juice before their sweat sesh for its blow-flow-boosting qualities, it’s less evident whether beetroot juice offers any brain benefits .
Still, nitric oxide signaling can play roles in the areas of our brain responsible for learning, language, and advanced decision-making, and beetroot juice may boost these effects by spiking nitric oxide production.
You can consume this juice by taking a concentrated beetroot juice dose or mixing powdered beetroot into water. Generally, the dose for concentrated beetroot drinks is just 15–30 mL (1–2 tablespoons) per day.
2. Blueberry Juice
Blueberries are high in polyphenol plant compounds that may offer brain-boosting advantages. Anthocyanins — antioxidants that provide these berries their purple- bluish hue — may be mostly responsible . Likewise, blueberry juice is rich in these compounds.
Still, one review of top-quality studies in nearly four hundred people found mixed results. The most significant positive effect involved better long- and short-term memory, but few studies in this review observed no positive brain effects from blueberry consumption.
Kombucha is a fermented drink generally made from black or green tea, plus botanicals or fruit. Its primary advantage lies in introducing beneficial bacteria called probiotics to our gut .
Theoretically, enhanced gut health can boost brain function via the brain-gut axis — a two-way communication line between our brain and gut. However, little research supports drinking kombucha, particularly to bolster brain function.
4. Orange Juice
Orange juice is high in vitamin C, with 240 mL (1 cup), providing 93% of the DV (Daily Value). Interestingly, this vitamin may provide neuroprotective advantages.
One review of fifty human studies observed that those with a higher self-reported vitamin C intake or higher blood levels of vitamin C had better memory, attention, and language scores than those with lower blood or intake levels.
However, the drawbacks of sugary orange juice may outweigh its advantages. The juice is much greater in calories than the whole fruit, and a high added sugar consumption is associated with conditions like type 2 diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.
A better way to receive this vitamin is just to have an orange. The whole fruit is lower in sugar and calories and higher in fiber than orange juice — while still providing 77% of the Daily Value for vitamin C.
5. Adaptogen Lattes
Like turmeric lattes, adaptogen lattes are savory, warm drinks loaded with unique ingredients. Adaptogens are herbs and foods that may support our body to adapt to stress, thus decreasing fatigue and improving brain function. Many adaptogen lattes are made with ashwagandha, dried mushrooms, or maca root.
Because these drinks have ingredients that may be challenging to Source, such as dried mushrooms, it’s easiest to buy a premade mix.
6. Turmeric Lattes
Often known as golden milk, turmeric lattes are creamy, warm drinks featuring the bright yellow spice turmeric.
Turmeric has the antioxidant curcumin, which may increase our body’s production of BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor).
The low brain-derived neurotrophic factor is linked with neurological disorders and mental deficits, so raising brain-derived neurotrophic factor levels may enhance brain function. However, you should note that turmeric lattes offer much less curcumin than what’s often administered in research.
Coffee is probably the most extensively consumed nootropic drink. Many of its brain advantages come from caffeine, although it contains other compounds like the antioxidant chlorogenic acid that may impact your brain as well.
One review observed that caffeine might improve alertness, focus, reaction time, and memory in doses of 40–300 mg, equivalent to about 120–720 mL (0.5–3 cups) of coffee.
Coffee may also shield against Alzheimer’s disease. In a 7-day mouse study, a dose equivalent to 1.2 liters (5 cups) of coffee every day, or about 500 mg of caffeine, helped treat and prevent Alzheimer’s.
However, human studies are required. Remember that caffeine is known to be safe at levels up to 400 mg per day, or about 945 mL (4 cups) of coffee.
8. Green tea
Green tea’s caffeine amount is much lower than coffee. Yet, it also has two promising nootropic compounds — epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and l-theanine.
Studies suggest that l-theanine may promote relaxation and caffeine that, combined with l-theanine, can improve attention. A review of twenty-one human studies found that green tea as a whole may enhance concentration, focus, and memory.
Additionally, EGCG can enter your brain through the brain-blood barrier, meaning it could combat neurodegenerative diseases and exert beneficial effects on your brain. Nonetheless, more research is required.
Like kombucha, kefir is a fermented drink loaded with probiotics. However, it’s prepared from fermented milk rather than tea.
It may support brain function by promoting healthy bacteria’s growth in your gut.
You can prepare kefir yourself, but it may be easier to buy a ready-to-drink option. Alternatively, choose drinkable yogurt, which also is packed with probiotics.
[Read: Health Benefits of Kefir]
Drinking nootropic beverages may seem like a simple way to strengthen brain health. However, although some of these beverages may help boost brain function, the high-quality proof is lacking to support drinking any of these drinks to improve performance, memory, or focus.
Regardless, these drinks provide other health benefits and may be worth seeing whether they work for you.