Eating These 6 Foods Will Help You Stay Focused
It’s Monday at 3 p.m., there’s a giant deadline looming over your head…but it’s all you can do not to watch that funny cat video your work wife just chatted you. Need an attention boost? Maria Marlowe, integrative nutrition coach and author of The Real Food Grocery Guide, recommends six foods to improve your concentration.
Your favorite smoothie ingredient can work wonders for your brain. From enhancing memory to increasing blood flow while decreasing inflammation in the central nervous system, the antioxidants and flavonoids in these little blue superstars are the key to clearing mental fog. Marlowe suggests reaching for a cup of berries every day as a snack or to top off your yogurt.
Maybe it’s because they’re shaped like little brains…or maybe it’s that they contain ALA, an omega-3 fatty acid, plus a variety of antioxidants that work to increase focus and mental function. A study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that regular consumption of walnuts may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s, improve memory and reduce anxiety. Win-win-win.
Dark Leafy Greens
Spinach, kale, arugula, chard, collard greens: This super-food group is chock-full of vitamins and minerals and is your ticket to better focus. In a study conducted by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, participants who consumed one to two cups of dark leafy greens a day over a five-year period had the cognitive ability of someone 11 years younger who consumed none.
Rich in magnesium, zinc and other minerals that help build and repair brain cells, pepitas should be a year-round staple—insufficient zinc levels are tied to Alzheimer’s disease and brain degeneration, according to research from the University of California. Marlowe suggests consuming an ounce a day by adding them to salads or as a standalone snack.
Wildly popular in recent years, this recognizable green drink isn’t just a trendy fad. Matcha tea helps improve focus, thanks to a combination of caffeine and L-theanine—but it doesn’t typically cause jitters, like coffee. The combo of the two ingredients has clear beneficial effects on sustained attention, memory and suppression of distraction, a study by Wageningen University in the Netherlands notes.
Before you roll your eyes, hear us out: Dehydration can lead to sluggishness, headaches and negative overall effects on brain and body functions. Guzzling some good ol’ H2O can help you wake up and stay alert during that dreaded afternoon slump. Drink eight glasses a day for tip-top performance.