Top 5 Foods for Concentration and Focus

One of the biggest challenges of maladaptive daydreaming is controlling it when we need to focus. It’s not easy to get things done when our head is in the clouds, so it helps if we can find something to help us stay grounded.

But sometimes the solution isn’t what we’d expect. The truth is, we can find help in everyday, ordinary foods. Many are packed with nutrients that strengthen our concentration and keep the daydreaming at bay.

Here are the top five foods you should consider adding to your diet.

1. Blueberries

Blueberries are a nutritional powerhouse and an ideal choice if you struggle with concentration. Like all berries, they are rich in antioxidants and anti-inflamatory compounds. They are especially high in anthocyanins, an antioxidant that improves brain function. Blueberries also help the brain receive much-needed glucose, which allows us to maintain our focus for longer periods of time.1

Studies have also shown that blueberries are excellent at preserving our memory. According to research, eating them regularly reduces our risk of dementia.1 This is because blueberries protect our nerve cells from oxygen damage, which preserves our cognitive function as we age.2

Try adding blueberries to your cereal or smoothie for an extra morning boost.

2. Walnuts

Out of all tree nuts, walnuts are the highest source of brain-boosting antioxidants. Most of these nutrients are found in the skin, the part of the walnut that gives it its bitter taste.

One study found that eating walnuts daily greatly improves cognitive function. In the study, the group that included walnuts in their diet had higher cognitive test scores than those who didn’t.

Even better, walnuts are rich in omega-3 fats, which are critical for healthy brain development. We only need 1/4 cup of walnuts to meet our daily value for alpha linolenic acid (ALA), a plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids.3

Walnuts are a simple snack that you can eat on their own, or you can sprinkle them on salads.

3. Coffee

Although coffee has a bad reputation for being addictive, it has its share of benefits. The caffeine in coffee activates regions of the brain responsible for concentration, attention, planning, and memory. Plus, it can give you a brief boost of energy.4

Be careful not to go overboard – drinking too much can reduce the benefits and make you feel restless. Aim for less than 400 millograms of coffee a day, or around 4 cups of coffee. Teens and children should stick to around 100 mg of coffee per day.5

4. Dark Chocolate

In case anyone needs another reason to eat dark chocolate, here’s one: a 2015 study found that dark chocolate can improve our attention span. Chocolate acts as a stimulant that increases brain activity, which can help us stay focused for much longer, while also improving our mood. The natural antioxidants in dark chocolate also reduce inflammation in the body and keep our health in tip-top shape.

For maximum benefits, choose a dark chocolate that contains at least 60 percent cacao – it may have a more bitter taste than your average chocolate, but will contain more of the beneficial properties.

5. Green Tea

Green tea is great caffeine alternative to coffee, but when it’s paired with dark chocolate, you get an even stronger improvement in your focus. In addition to antioxidants, green tea contains l-theanine, an amino acid that increases brain dopamine and serotonin. Dopamine and serotonin are two key neurotransmitters that regulate our attention and mood. Having a healthy balance of both helps us stay focused longer while reducing our stress levels.

While it’s more convenient to enjoy green tea in leaf form, you can also buy it as an extract at your local health food store.

References

[1] R, Krikorian, Shidler MD, Nash TA, Kalt W, Vinquist-Tymchuk MR, Shukitt-Kale B, and Joseph JA. “Blueberry Supplementation Improves Memory in Older Adults.National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 14 Apr. 2010. Web. 24 Aug. 2016.

[2] Mateljan, George. “Blueberries.” The World’s Healthiest Foods. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Aug. 2016.

[3] Bell, Becky. “Do Walnuts Have Omega 3?LIVESTRONG.COM. 01 July 2015. Web. 24 Aug. 2016.

[4] Juhasz, Francine. “The Effects of Caffeine on Concentration.” LIVESTRONG.COM. LIVESTRONG.COM, 31 May 2015. Web. 25 Aug. 2016.

[5] “Caffeine: How Much Is Too Much?Nutrition and Healthy Eating. Mayo Clinic, 14 Apr. 2014. Web. 25 Aug. 2016.

[6] Olson, Samantha. “Dark Chocolate Found To Lengthen Attention Span And Improve Brain Alertness.” Medical Daily. N.p., 10 May 2015. Web. 25 Aug. 2016.

[7] Davidson, Lauren. “Dark Chocolate and Green Tea Is the Perfect Concentration Combination.” The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group, 21 May 2015. Web. 25 Aug. 2016.

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