Here are my top 6 foods that will help improve your concentration.
1. Any foods high in omega 3, such as oily fish (salmon, trout, mackerel, sardines), flax seeds and walnuts are great for improving concentration and motivation as they improve cognitive function, which means they help with the brains ability to think and process. They are also anti-inflammatory, so they keep cells functioning optimally which help the brain function well also.
2. Any foods high in antioxidants (vitamins A, C, E ) such as fruits (especially berries and tomatoes) and vegetables (especially cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli) are beneficial. These may help with blood flow to the brain, which will supply the brain cells with more oxygen and again these are anti-inflammatory, so they help the brain function optimally.
3. Moderate amounts of caffeine are good for concentration and motivation. Green tea and dark chocolate are the best sources, as these contain specific anti-oxidants called polyphenols that improve brain function and decrease cell death. Caffeine is good when you need an instant boost, but try not to rely on this all the time, as an excessive intake will have the opposite effect.
4. Any foods such as ripe bananas (look out for brown spots on the skin) or sunflower seeds are high in dopamine - a brain chemical involved in increasing motivation and concentration. Caffeine also helps to increase dopamine levels.
5. Foods high in vitamins B6 and B12 are good for memory and concentration, as these improve cognitive functioning of the brain and also prevent diseases like alzheimers and dementia, as they protect the brain from nerve damage from a chemical called homocysteine involved in the development of these diseases. Foods such as fish, meat, whole grains, eggs and nuts are high in B6 and eggs, fish, meat dairy and seaweed are high in B12.
6. Foods high in fibre such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds and beans are great for concentration and motivation. The reason for this is because they help to sustain a regular level of energy, because they keep blood sugar levels stable. This means the brain cells and all other cells in the body are receiving enough energy to function optimally.
How important the role of food is in our concentration/motivation levels-
The role of food in helping maintain optimal concentration and motivation is paramount, as any deficiencies, or even sub-optimal levels of the essential vitamins and minerals in the diet may have an effect on the brains ability to function properly. It may also play a role in any medical conditions that could develop that have an impact on the brain or mental health in general, which would impact ones daily performance greatly.
Your guide to living whole and well. Emma Olliff is a Registered Nutritional Therapist, wellness expert, food lover, and advocate for healthy living!