Are you someone who has a really hard time focusing? If so, don’t be so hard on yourself. Between stress, fatigue (which oftentimes comes as the direct result of sleep deprivation), a fluctuation of hormones, getting easily distracted, and even sheer boredom, a lack of focus and concentration is something that happens to us all — more often than most of us would care to admit.
The good news is there’s one way that you can actually get yourself back centered — and that is to eat certain foods; ones that are proven to provide the kind of nutrients that you need in order to focus on the task(s) at hand. Because the reality is, our diet plays a direct role in how much we’re able to focus (or not focus). So, are you ready to see what can get you back on track?
Personally, I’m someone who is a fan of eating berries when they are actually in season, which is basically from May thru August. Waiting until then means that you are able to get the most benefits from them. Plus, you don’t have to worry (as much) about artificial colors and preservatives that are oftentimes found in berries when they are sold year-round. Berries are good for you because they are full of antioxidants and fiber, can improve your blood sugar levels, and are great at fighting bodily inflammation.
And why are berries beneficial when it comes to helping you to maintain your focus? It’s because they contain flavonoid compounds called anthocyanins that help to increase blood flow to your brain. As a direct result, berries can increase your brain power and even improve your short-term memory.
If you’re looking to get some protein, selenium, and zinc into your system, eggs will totally have your back. Eggs are also good for you because they’ve got choline in them; it’s awesome because it helps to build up the cell membranes that are in your system. Some other cool things about eggs are they play a role in lowering your risk of heart disease and they’re full of amino acids (which support your immunity, are a great energy source, and support the growth of hair, skin, and nails) too.
Thanks to the vitamins B6 and B12 that are also in eggs (these vitamins help to increase brain health) and the choline that is directly linked to improving your memory, this is why eggs have easily made this list too.
3. Fatty Fish
The kinds of fish that make the “fatty fish” list include salmon, albacore tuna, and sardines. What makes these a standout kind of fish is they are loaded with omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. These acids are good for you because they assist with improving your eye health, reducing your heart disease risk, fighting bodily inflammation, fighting off autoimmune diseases, decreasing asthma in children, easing menstrual discomfort, improving bone and joint health and it can help to prevent cancer.
Oh, but when it comes to all of the foods on this list that are great for your brain, fatty fish is unmatched because omega-3s can also level out mood swings, reduce ADHD levels in kids, improve blood flow to your brain, sharpen your memory and preserve brain cell membrane health. So, if you like nothing more than a salmon Caesar salad…what are you waiting for?
4. Dark Leafy Greens
I say it often because it will always be the truth. If there is any kind of food that is the ultimate multivitamin, it’s dark leafy greens. They’re full of just about every vitamin you can think of (especially iron, calcium, potassium, fiber, and vitamins A, C, E, and K). They’re able to reduce oxidative stress. They improve bone health. They boost immunity. They improve digestion. They strengthen vision. They reduce the risk of heart disease. They also keep your blood cells in good shape.
Having a salad a few times a week can be great for your brain because not only can it help to keep your brain young, the folate that’s in them can also improve your mood, calm your nervous system and decrease mental fatigue too. When your brain is alert, you can definitely concentrate better.
Oranges are a good source of protein (when it’s the fruit, not the juice), fiber, and definitely vitamin C. It’s a type of citrus fruit that also contains plant compounds that reduce inflammation, lower your blood pressure and support how antioxidants are processed throughout your system. Oranges also assist with preventing chronic disease and anemia as well as lowering your cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
Since oranges are a solid source of fructose (also known as “fruit sugar”), they can kick up your energy levels, so that you are able to focus better and complete tasks that you may have on hand. (Do keep in mind that a “sugar rush” typically only lasts for 30-60 minutes, though.)
When I would spend the summers with my great-grandmother, there were going to be at least a few days when she was going to put some beets on my plate (yuck). And while I can probably count on one hand, just how many times I’ve had them since I’ve been able to grocery shop on my own, my memory continues to be pretty on-point; so, maybe beets have played a part in that. Aside from them also being a good source of fiber and protein, beets contain folate, manganese, nitrates (which improve athletic performance), and anti-cancer properties.
Brain-wise, beets are great because the nitrates in them can increase blood flow to your brain; specifically the part of your brain that is connected to assisting you with your decision-making process.
7. Green Tea
If you wanna get a ton of antioxidants into your system with one drink, look no further than green tea. Its polyphenols will reduce inflammation and fight cancer. Certain properties in it can help to boost your metabolism levels and burn fat. If you’ve got a bout of bad breath, green tea can help to inhibit the growth of oral bacteria. Green tea can also help to prevent type-2 diabetes, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and it can even increase longevity.
Drink some (hot or cold) if you want some help concentrating because it’s the kind of tea that boosts both dopamine and norepinephrine levels (which can help with your memory and your level of alertness). Plus, green tea has caffeine in it and since caffeine is a stimulant, it can give you an energy boost. Long-term, another benefit of green tea is it also has catechin compounds; those are awesome because they can help to prevent cognitive decline.
As more and more time goes by, an herb that I’m becoming a huge fan of is rosemary. I like cooking with it and using rosemary essential oil on my hair and skin has been life-changing! Benefits-wise, rosemary is good for your overall health and well-being because it’s a great source of vitamins A, B6, C, iron, calcium, and antioxidants. All of this works together to strengthen your immunity, improve blood circulation, assist with digestive issues, fight bacterial infections, and even slow down the greying process.
Rosemary is beneficial if you need a focus pick-me-up because it can reduce the stress levels that make it difficult for you to concentrate, it’s a cognitive stimulant that can improve your memory and, its scent can put you into a better mood and clear your mind so that you’re able to knock more things off of your daily to-do lists.
9. Dark Chocolate
Iron, magnesium, zinc, copper, protein, fiber, and antioxidants are just some of the nutrients that are found in dark chocolate. What’s awesome about this treat is it lowers your cholesterol levels, boosts your libido, decreases your heart disease risk, protects your skin from damaging UV rays, and lowers your risk of having a stroke.
The flavonoids, caffeine, and antioxidants in dark chocolate are helpful because they can enhance your memory, boost your mood and increase blood flow to your brain — that way, you’re able to concentrate so much better.
Protein? Broccoli’s got that. Fiber? Broccoli’s got that. Vitamins A and C? Broccoli is a super source of both of these. It also contains antioxidants, sulforaphane (a sulfur-rich compound), and bioactive compounds that can help to prevent inflammation. Some other great things about broccoli include the fact that it helps to prevent certain types of cancer (like breast, bladder, and prostate) from developing, it supports heart health and it can relieve constipation (although the flip side of this is it could create gas).
Eating some broccoli for lunch could get you through the rest of your workday. That’s because it also contains bioactive compounds that help your brain and nerve tissue. Plus, the sulforaphane in this veggie can help to prevent oxygenation of your brain so that it’s able to work at peak conditions. So, even if it’s just snacking on a few florets while dipping them in your favorite dressing, help your brain out by having some broccoli more often. When it comes to that thing that needs your total concentration, broccoli just might do the trick!
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