What you eat plays a large role in how your brain performs during the day. The right foods will fuel your body and brain with the energy to help you stay focused. So, what are these ‘right foods’? Here are our top 10 suggestions for foods to help you focus:
Kicking your day off right is crucial for maintaining energy and mental performance. Studies show that those who eat breakfast every day are less at risk of developing obesity, hypertension and diabetes. Porridge is low in calories and a great source of soluble fibre, keeping you full for longer. Serve with plain yoghurt, honey and berries for a well-rounded meal.
Egg yolks have often taken a bad rap on the cholesterol front, but they’re a rich source of omega-3 and choline, a compound that can help maintain healthy brain membranes. The full health benefits of eggs are best realised if they’re stored properly, i.e. in the fridge, and cooked thoroughly to kill any potential bacteria.
If you’re looking for a mid-morning snack, look no further than a banana. Bananas contain a high sugar content and a lot of potassium, which is an essential mineral that aids concentration and keeps your brain, nerves and heart in good shape.
Blueberries are said to be a memory-booster and may help protect the brain from the effects of age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Blueberries are also rich in antioxidants, and are low in sugar.
Dark leafy greens are full of antioxidants and carotenoids, which boost brain power and help to protect your brain. The B vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids in spinach are proven to enhance memory, focus and overall brain health.
Omega-3 fatty fish is lauded for its brain-enhancing properties. Salmon is a concentrated source of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help rebuild brain cells. Diets high in fatty acids have been linked to slower cognitive decline and a lower risk of stroke. The protein in salmon contains essential amino acids that are vital for maintaining brain focus.
A lesser-known memory-boosting food, beetroot has been attributed with promoting better memory, concentration and overall increased cognition. Beetroot contains nitrates, which can dilate the blood vessels and allow for increased blood flow and oxygen to the brain, improving concentration.
Your brain’s preferred fuel source is glucose, which it can get from the sugars and carbs that you eat. A burst of something sweet, such as dark chocolate, provides your brain with caffeine to boost alertness. Dark chocolate is lower in fat and refined sugar than milk chocolate. It also boosts the brain’s serotonin and endorphin levels, supporting better concentration.
Before you reach for the coffee, consider the benefits of a cup of green tea. Green tea contains a high concentration of antioxidants that fight free radicals in the body. It also contains a high amount of caffeine, which is released slowly into your body – unlike coffee – allowing for prolonged concentration.
As thirst and dehydration can cause fatigue, sometimes water is all you really need. Drinks containing caffeine will only dehydrate you further, so remember to keep reaching for the H2O regularly throughout the day.