Bottoms Up: Drinks That Can Boost Brain Health
It’s often said that a healthy body leads to a healthy mind. As trusted health care providers, pharmacists are ideally positioned to offer advice on the types of foods and beverages that can help people stay in top shape — both physically and mentally.
USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-20251
Certain drinks are particularly effective in supporting brain health, research suggests. Here are some beverages that pharmacists may recommend to their customers:
Water: Water is the most important beverage you can consume for brain health. The human body is comprised of about 60% of the wet stuff, and proper hydration promotes brain function. You can make it tastier by adding a bit of lemon, lime, or your other favorite fruits.
Green Tea: Containing caffeine, an amino acid known as L-Theanine, as well as other constituents, green tea may promote relaxation and cognition.
Coffee: Like green tea, coffee contains caffeine, which has been shown to promote improved concentration and increase alertness. Research also finds that caffeine may boost feel-good neurotransmitters within the brain, improving mood.
Kombucha: This trendy fermented tea beverage is growing in popularity and can be found in most grocery stores. It’s filled with probiotics, antioxidants, B vitamins, catechins and other brain boosting nutrients.
Red Wine: Researchers have found that a daily glass of red wine can increase good cholesterol and may help boost brain health. You can supercharge the benefits of red wine by making sangria with fresh fruit to add extra nutrients and antioxidants.
Almond Milk: Almond milk is known for promoting healthy bones and heart health, but it’s also great for the brain. The drink contains L-carnitine and riboflavin, which both help boost brain activity.
Orange Juice: Loaded with vitamin C and other beneficial nutrients, orange juice is more than just liquid sunshine.
Berry Juices and Smoothies: Beverages made from blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and others — minus added sugars — have been shown to improve brain function. Among their benefits, these berry drinks are filled with flavonoids and anthocyanins that boost brain health.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has long been a primary source of guidance on good nutrition. For beverages, the agency’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025 recommends drinks that are calorie-free — especially water — or that contribute beneficial nutrients, such as fat-free and low-fat milk and 100% juices. Coffee, tea, and flavored waters also are options, it adds.