Are you forgetful sometimes, as if your brain isn’t operating at peak efficiency? You may be able to alleviate this problem by changing your diet. Scientists are making some interesting discoveries that there are healthy brain foods that are fuel for the brain for peak performance if eaten on a regular basis.
Food has the incredible ability to affect your mental clarity, mood, memory, and ability to focus, so if you’re looking to boost your focus, one of the places to start with is to look at what you’re eating. Below are 12 foods that may help you improve your concentration and focus and should be part of your healthy hotlifestyle:
Studies show that blueberries boost concentration and memory for up to five hours due to the antioxidants in blueberries help stimulate the flow of blood and oxygen to your brain – and keep the mind fresh. Blueberries contain a cocktail of antioxidants including anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins, resveratrol and tannins, they have been shown to boost focus, and even protect against cancer, heart disease, and dimensia.
Eye sight – A number of studies in Europe have documented the relationship between bilberries, the European cousin of the blueberry, and improved eyesight. This is thought to occur because of the anthocyanin in the blue pigment which is also available in the blueberry. One study in Japan documented that blueberries helped ease eye fatigue.
If you struggle to gain concentration and feel drained before the afternoon has arrived, why not try out a healthier alternative to coffee and have a cup of green tea. Green tea helps you focus for two reasons: one, it contains caffeine, and two, it contains l’theanine. It is well known that caffeine helps you focus and improves your alertness. So what is the l’theanine? It’s an ingredient that’s been shown to “increase alpha-wave activity”, which increases tranquility and releases caffeine more slowly, instead of all at once, which can lead to you crashing. The two ingredients also combine to “produce a better ability to focus attention, with improvement of both speed and accuracy”. If you’re able to handle the caffeine content, introducing green tea into your diet is pretty much a no-brainer.
Leafy Green Vegetables
Leafy green vegetables are full of antioxidants and carotenoids, which help boost your brain power. (A good, general tip: the greener a leaf vegetable is, the better.) Leafy green vegetables are also full of B-vitamins, which are proven to help memory, focus, and overall brain health and power. They also contain folic acid, which helps improve mental clarity.
Spinach is considered the super leafy green vegetable, it contains the nutrients folate, beta-carotene and lutein that help in the prevention of dementia. Neurologists usually advise people to eat spinach at least twice a week.
The new concentration booster is the dark red root, beet. Beetroot is loaded with vitamin C and iron, both essential elements that will boost your immune system and performance. Not only does the high vitamin C content help with iron absorption in the body, it keeps your immune system in check, which is what you need to fight of the winter blues but additionally promotes better memory, overall cognition and focused concentration. Beets are loaded with nitrates which in turn can dilate your blood vessels increasing the flow of oxygen and blood to the brain. You can drink beet juice, add it beet to a salad.
Beetroot, Spinach & Apple Smoothie
This is super quick, easy and delicious! This make a great pre or post workout drink due to a fair amount of good quality protein and the carbohydrate content.
Not only do avocados have tons of nutrients they are delicious too, but they also benefit your health in the long run. Those healthy fats will help keep your blood sugar levels in check, your good cholesterol at optimum levels and can neutralize inflammation in the brain and body all whilst being an excellent energy source.
Every organ in the body depends on blood flow, especially the heart and brain, and avocados enhance blood flow, offering a simple, tasty way to fire up brain cells”. Avocados are also loaded with fiber (11 to 17 grams per avocado), which helps keep hunger pangs at bay”.
It’s no secret that omega-3 fatty acids are good for your health in various ways. You have two options: you can either get your dose through omega-3 supplements or you can make your way to the nearest fish aisle and stock up on sardines and salmon, which are a great natural source of omega-3.
Like a few of the foods listed already, flax seeds are high in magnesium, B-vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, and fiber, all of which aid mental clarity, weight loss, and ultimately, focus. Flax is no doubt a super food. Just make sure you grind them after you buy them (so your body can digest them better). Unlike the other items on this list, flax seeds can’t be eaten alone, but they’re great sprinkled on cereal, yogurt, oatmeal and salads.
For long term health there is no better food than nuts. Nuts and seeds are good sources of the antioxidant vitamin E, which is associated with less cognitive decline as you age, and you just need an ounce of them a day to get this benefit. They’re also rich with essential oils and amino acids that aids focus.
Nuts especially almonds and walnuts are one of the best foods to help boost your concentration levels. You could add walnuts or almonds to your oatmeal or your daily salad bowl. These nuts can help improve your inferential reasoning skills as they contain omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants. Make sure you eat a handful of nuts every day for better functioning of your brain.
Research has shown that walnuts are the only nuts that contain a high amount of alpha-Linolenic acid, which promotes blood flow to carry more oxygen to your brain.
Fatty/oily fish contains omega-3 fatty acids which aids memory, mental performance and behavioral function. People who are deficient in omega-3′s are more likely to have poor memory, mood swings, depression and suffer fatigue. Fish has also been proven to improve your concentration and mood. The main sources of fatty fish are salmon, trout, mackerel, herring, sardines, pilchards and kippers.
Fish oil is a good source of omega 3 essential fatty acids required for the maintenance of good health. Most modern daily diets do not supply enough omega 3s, yet supply too many omega 6s. For this reason it is important to supplement only with omega 3s on a daily basis. Fish oil helps support cardiovascular health and assists in promoting normal mood balance. Fish oil also helps with learning and brain function. Omega 3 fatty acids assist in the development of the brain, eyes and nerves in children up to 12 years of age.
When we say good oils, we mean monosaturated fats. Think olive oil, peanut oil, avocado and natural peanut butter. Research has found that these oils are rich in vitamin E, which contains an antioxidant that may help protect neurons and nerve cells.
If you want to improve your focus, you need to drink plenty of water. Water is necessary to maintain the tone of membranes for normal neurotransmission. It enhances circulation in the brain and aids in removing wastes. Water keeps the brain from overheating, yes the brain can overheat. Overheating of your brain causes cognitive decline and even damage. In fact, there are some who claim that dehydration causes 10% of cognitive decline. Every single function of your body depends on water, so it is critically important that you get enough of it.
An interesting health trend is drinking pure water immediately after getting up. Drinking water immediately upon waking can help with headaches, vomiting, gastritis, constipation, uterine disorders, ear and throat infections.
When in a hurry and don't have time for breakfast, you can always grab a banana and eat it on your way to work. They are sweet, keep you full and boost your concentration levels. According to studies, children who ate a banana before an exam performed better than the ones who didn’t. Bananas also keep your heart, brain and nerves in shape.
Two hundred students at a Twickenham school noted that they were helped through their exams this year by eating bananas at breakfast, break, and lunch in a bid to boost their brain power. Research has shown that the potassium-packed fruit can assist learning by increasing your alertness.
Bananas are extremely high in lots of B vitamins that help calm the nervous system. Looking at 5,000 hospital patients, researchers found the obese were more known to be in high-pressure jobs. The report concluded that, to stop panic-induced food cravings, we must control our blood sugar levels by eating high carbohydrate foods every two hours to maintain steady levels. So if you are stressed don’t be up set, grab a banana!
Dark chocolate (dark chocolate, not the sugary, milky kind) can help you focus for a number of reasons. First, it contains a small amount of caffeine, which has been proven to heighten mental alertness. Dark chocolate contains magnesium, which helps you de-stress, and it also stimulates the release of endorphins and serotonin, which make you feel good and heighten your mood. This doesn’t mean you should eat a huge brick of chocolate every day, but it does mean that dark chocolate in smaller doses can significantly boost your focus.
Foods For Peak Interview Performance
There is a plethora of information relating to brain performance and diet on the internet yet there are many job candidates who believe that eating a meal before an interview will make them nervous and incapable of performing well because their “digestive system” could retaliate. A lot of you have been doing this to your body for years; starving because you’re nervous before an interview or before giving a presentation. You are actually sabotaging yourself. An undernourished brain cannot perform in normal circumstances more so it fails and has the potential to overheat in high stress situations.
So for those of you who have experienced a brain freeze, writer's block, given poor presentations in the past, blanked out on an interview… the answer is simple: eat something!
In an interview your brain is under immense pressure to do the following:
Respond appropriately to questions
Recall facts and figures
Make numerical calculations
Make reasoning deductions
Recall processes linearly
Anticipate further questions
Research has shown that you can recharge your brain for better performance and definitely do all that is mentioned above. Your brain needs constant activity, nutrients from certain foods, water and oxygen to work.
What then should you eat before an interview or an important presentation? Well, according to many, sugar is the main fuel for the brain, but you don’t want to eat a meal loaded with highly refined sugars, rather foods loaded with high complex carbohydrates. Whole grain products are ideal as they contain complex sugars, which convert to energy, fuels the brain and boosts memory and cognitive functioning.