11 Healthy Brain Foods for a Natural Focus Boost
Our energy levels and mood all depend on how we fuel our bodies. Our fuel comes from food and if we eat the right foods our bodies work amazingly, but if we fuel it with the wrong foods, our energy and mood levels drop and it doesn't work as well as it should.
As someone who works from home, I know that one of the most important things for me to have is focus. This of course applies to those who don't work from home too, however working from home takes a lot more focus and discipline without someone there constantly watching over you and making sure you're doing what you should be!
Like any normal person, I sometimes hit a wall where I just can't concentrate or think clearly. This leads to me not being very productive and leaves me feeling stressed and even less focused, it's just a vicious cycle.
When many of us feel like we're drained of mental energy, we reach for sugar to give us an energy boost. While this may help us momentarily, it always comes with a drop which only leads us back to square one. Fuelling our bodies with the foods our brain needs is the best way to strengthen and maintain focus and brain power.
Here are 11 brain foods to add to your diet for a natural focus boost.
It's no secret that avocados are everyone's favourite super food. Although avocados sometimes get a bit of a reputation for containing a lot of fat, it is these good fats that are great for our brain.
The monounsaturated fats in avocados are known to support nerves that carry information to our brains. These fats also reduce plaque build up in the arteries, allowing blood to flow properly to our organs and ensuring our brains and hearts get the blood they need to function at their best.
I'm always amazed that such a small berry holds so much power. Sprinkling some blueberries on your morning oatmeal or snacking on a cup of blueberries is a great move for your focus.
These super-berries are packed with various different antioxidants- those amazing things that fight off the free radicals (from pollution, unhealthy foods, chemicals etc.) that age us and make us sick. These antioxidants have been shown to boost focus and even reduce chances of diseases such as cancer, heart disease and dementia.
Chocolate is good for you? Yes, as long as it's good quality dark chocolate that hasn't been laced with ridiculous amounts of sugar and other additives. This doesn't mean you can eat mountains of it however, small amounts are all that are needed.
Dark chocolate contains a small amount of caffeine which is well known (thank you coffee) for making us more alert, but it also contains magnesium. Magnesium stimulates the release of serotonin and endorphins (feel good hormones) leaving you less stressed and in a better mood- the perfect mental state to stay focused.
Making fish a regular protein choice with your meals will do wonders for your brain. Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines and trout are packed with Omega-3 fatty acids, something our body doesn't produce on its own.
Omega-3 fatty acids help keep the brain running smoothly and aid mental performance and memory. Those who consume enough omega-3 are much less likely to have mood swings, fatigue and depression. It has also been suggested that omega-3 fatty acids lower the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.
When your mum refused to let you leave the dinner table unless you'd eaten your broccoli she was doing you a favour. Our favourite baby trees really do make us big and strong!
Broccoli is a fantastic source of vitamin K (among many other vitamins), know for improving brain power and cognitive function. This veggie is best eaten raw or only slightly cooked- so if you're cooking it don't turn it to sludge like your Nanna used to.
Shakespeare once said that rosemary was for remembering and he wasn't the only person to link the herb with memory. The Tudors and the Ancient Greeks alike believed rosemary to improve memory.
Unlike the rest of the foods on this list, rosemary only needs to be sniffed to gain the benefits. The essential oils in the herb heighten alertness and studies have found that it can increase a person's memory to do things in the future by 60-70 per cent. So a few drops of rosemary oil in a diffuser while you work will keep your memory and brain nice and sharp!
This leafy green is one of the world's most nutritious veggies and it's certainly been getting the attention it deserves over the last few years.
Kale is packed with vitamin B, a vitamin known to be key in the development of the brain. It can prevent memory loss, slow down brain ageing and works as a natural anti-depressant. Kale also contains vitamin C, another vitamin that works at combatting stress and depression. Adding a serving as a side to your meals, smoothies and salads is a great way to maintain good brain health, mood and focus.
Another food that's been getting much deserved hype over the last few years is coconut oil. Used in cooking and skin care too, it has become quite a celebrity.
Coconut oil contains fatty acids called MCT's (medium-chain triglycerides. These MCT's are responsible for improving cognitive function and also decrease chances of memory loss.
Everybody knows that eggs are a great source of protein in any diet, but they're also great for our brains, particularly the yolk. If you have eggs regularly for breakfast then your brain will thank you.
Choline can be found in eggs and this nutrient is something that helps the brain develop when a baby is in the womb. Not only does it help the brain develop, it also helps the breakdown of bethane- a chemical that encourages the release of happy hormones!
Popeye knew what was good for him! It's hard to believe that a few green leaves could be so beneficial to you, but believe it. Adding spinach to smoothies, salads, or basically any meal (it's that diverse) could give your brain the boost it needs.
Spinach is loaded with vitamin E which is known for improving cognitive function. It helps the release of dopamine- a feel good hormone that controls the flow of information to the brain. Vitamin E also helps brain tissue growth. As well as this spinach contains an antioxidant called lutein that protects against a decline in brain function.
This nut that looks uncannily like a brain, is amazing for boosting your focus. Just snacking on a few nuts a day will greatly improve your brain power.
Walnuts are packed with vitamins and antioxidants which keep your mind alert and delay the ageing process of your brain. Walnuts have been linked to a decreased risk in developing Alzheimer's disease too.
The stresses of life can leave us feeling really overwhelmed and physically and mentally exhausted. More than ever we need to strengthen our focus and overcome our stresses, so it is so important that we look after our brains.
Our brains go through a lot everyday, so making sure we include some of these foods in our diets to nurture and strengthen it will really help us stay one step ahead of all the little curve balls life likes to throw our way.
Are there any foods (or drinks even) you guys find really help with your focus and prepare you for the stresses ahead of you?