Foods that help concentration : what to eat to make you think better?
We all need concentration at one point or another in our daily life, whether you are a student, a mother a professor, a driver, we all use it, we all strive for it in order to do what we set ourselves to do every day and to do it successfully. Now did you know that there are certain ingredients that can help you increase, improve and better your concentration levels? And what are the foods that help concentration, focus and general well being?
I don’t mean to sound boring, but yes….they are all found in the plant-based world, and a Vegan type of diet is full of all these nutritious elements.
Now I am not here to convince you to go vegan, but I definitely want to share with you where and what type of food you need to eat to help you in your focus on a day to day basis
What are Concentration and Focus?
Concentration also sometimes called focus is a cognitive capacity that for some is very easy to maintain while for other people it requires a great effort and sometimes it is hard to reach. Veganism and concentration go hand in hand since many of the foods that can help us stay focused are found in the plant-based world.
Having the ability to maintain concentration can only help us in our day to day routine but as I mentioned before, for some, maintaining focus and concentration is an arduous and complicated task, which requires a lot of willpower and perseverance.
When I think of concentration I imagine a sort of perfect connection between our body and the mind, which requires cooperation and a correct link between both components. Moreover, if one works well, it helps the other side perform better as well.
That is why food should be seen as a key aspect of our well being. What we eat affects both our body and our mind, so the healthier, more nutritious and full of energy food can be, the better will be the effect over our body.
Providing our body with the right nutrients is essential for our well being and our mental and physical balance. Sometimes it is this unbalance due to the lack of the right nutrients that create a conflict within our body.
Many of the activities we carry out on a daily basis require moments of concentration. The lack of this, in addition to not allowing us to work effectively and comfortably, imply the appearance of other factors such as stress, irritability, illnesses.
And for this, as in many other aspects of life, eating well always appears as one of the basic premises that have to be fulfilled if we want to have a healthy lifestyle.
Here below I have prepared a list and I hope you will find it useful; it is a list of food rich in nutrients and components that can help us satisfy our appetite, and on the other, nutrients that are rich in fatty acids which can help in the intercerebral connections of our brain.
Great Food that helps you concentrate
One of my favourite and my son as well (excellent for kids especially when they are studying and going through stressful times)
The nuts contain polyphenols, perfect components to prevent stress, oxidation of the body, and improve the cognitive abilities among which concentration is found.
Taking a few nuts every day favours our brain health. Since nuts grow fat, healthy fat though, for those who are overweight or need to control their body weight try to eat the nuts only in the morning, so you have the entire day to burn off the excess calories and keep in check your quantity intake.
Avocado, a fruit that has become very fashionable in recent times, is rich in monounsaturated fats, which are classified as good and necessary for our health. Its benefits have an impact on the brain, as they help improve the synaptic connections of our neurons, as well as in the heart, helping to regulate cholesterol levels, cleaning arteries and improving blood circulation in the brain. A great way of taking avocado is with smoothies so if you don’t like the texture in your mouth in a smoothie it will just pass by as a creamy and lovely refreshing drink
Banana has everything: potassium, vitamins, fibre, magnesium … is unbeatable when you think about all the benefits to the brain health and its effects are widely recognized for, especially on memory. Likewise, vitamin B6, also present in bananas, favours the natural production of serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine, neurotransmitters all related to concentration.
Green leafy vegetables
Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, arugula, chard to name a few are known and characterized by the intense green colour of their leaves, which makes them a rich combination of antioxidants and vitamins C, E and A
According to some studies, green leafy vegetables help to avoid the decline of mental attention and keeps all brain functions activated.
Fruits, such as lemon, orange or grapefruit, help improve memory especially if consumed on an empty stomach. Eat them peeled or juice them, either way, they are an excellent way to help you improve your concentration levels.
The ideal way of drinking these juices (if you decide to squeeze the fruit) is to drink it straight away, right after they have been prepared. The value of the vitamins and enzymes in the fruits tend to lose potency with the hours so squeeze them and drink them, that is when you gonna get the best of the nutrients out of it. You can sweeten it with a little agave or maple syrup if the taste too “acid” for you.
This is one of those ingredients that brings me back to a time when I was really little; my mum used to give it to me, in powder form, a little spoon every once in a while, she used to say I had to take it because it was really good for the body. I remember really hating the taste, but growing up and thinking about it now it wasn’t that bad at all, I guess I just didn’t like the feeling of having this glue kind of powder getting stuck to my palate…
But Brewer’s Yeast is indeed really good for you; it has a mountain of healthy properties, as it is a food rich in vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B12 and folic acid, both essential and excellent for memory.
It helps strengthen the central nervous system and is sometimes used as a supplement in cases of depression, anxiety, stress or apathy, all aspects that may also be influencing memory loss.
Small tips to help you concentrate
If eating well is at the basis of your well being and it helps to enhance and improving your concentration, there are still a few small things you can do yourself to help you with your focus abilities.
- Know yourself: Understand what is the best way for you to study for example (if you are a student), know what are the factors that distract you, and especially to what extent your attention span reaches
- Plan your daily activities. Establish a daily routine and a priority list based on the importance of your tasks. For those who have a good photographic memory, a good method is to use colour keys.
- Get a good calendar to plan. Define the appropriate time you will need to perform each task you have in mind for the day
- Be attentive to your surroundings. What is around you? What takes your mind off to somewhere else? The TV, the radio, the telephone social media, Facebook…. Turn all these elements off; I know you will feel like it is almost impossible to live without Facebook or your mobile phone for the next hour. But is it really that impossible? Add elements that promote your comfort, maybe add some music if it helps you concentrate
- Practice meditation, one of my favourite if not essentials. Yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi … there are many activities that contribute to your relaxation and well-being. Reduces your anxiety, stress and fatigue, causing your whole body to be in perfect harmony.
- Chose to alternate tasks. Sometimes the monotony of a job makes us lose concentration. Alternate tasks, establish some easier and others more difficult depending on the time of day and by doing so avoid the boredom that would make you lose track of what you are doing.
- Very very important: Rest. The lack of rest affects the clarity of our thoughts and our performance will be affected. Seven or eight hours of continuous and obligatory sleep are the ideal amount in order to allow your body and mind to recharge.
- Find time to enjoy life. Take a break and do something you love. Exercise, disconnect, practice sports, stay with friends and your partner, go out for a drink, walk, enjoy your favourite movie or series … The brain can not maintain itself in constant tension, to have fun is as important as your daily work tasks.
So here are my little tips and suggestions, and I am sure with a good amount of rest, some good nutrients in your body and why not a bit of fun as well, you will be able to develop a concentration in no time. Remember there is always time for improvement, so what today might appear to you like an impossible task with few little adjustments I have no doubt you will achieve all the focus you need and be the best version of you that you have ever been.