Top 3 foods to improve focus and concentration
In a world of non-stop stimulation and distraction, the brain can often feel overworked and undernourished - don’t worry, we’ve all been there! But if you struggle to focus and concentrate throughout the entire day, or you get to a point where you can’t focus on anything longer than the length of a TikTok video, it’s likely that your body needs some TLC in the form of nutrients. That’s because any deficiencies (or even sub-optimal levels) of the key nutrients needed in your diet, can impact the brain’s ability to function at its best.
Since the foods that we eat can hugely influence our cognitive function, it’s important to get enough of the nutrients that are linked to helping with focus and productivity.
We’ve shared three of our favourite foods for helping to level up your focus and concentration and beat the dreaded brain-fog.
Grab yourself some (extra) dark chocolate
Dark chocolate is packed in flavonoids, plant compounds that act as powerful antioxidants, that can help preserve the health of our brain cells. In the body, flavonoids help by improving blood flow to the brain. This allows more oxygen to be carried to the brain and for toxins to be removed from the brain quicker. The improved blood flow in the brain can help in loads of different ways including boosting attention span, reaction time, and memory.
Just be sure to consume about 45 grams of dark chocolate per week (the optimal amount needed to benefit the brain) that contains at least 70% cacao or greater!
Spice up your day with some Turmeric
The yellow-orange spice named turmeric contains a compound called curcumin, the secret ingredient behind its cognitive-boosting benefits. Curcumin has been found to exhibit powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that can help improve memory and protect the brain against ageing and neurodegenerative disease making it an excellent addition to your spice rack!
Try adding turmeric to your favourite curry, and smoothie or you could even mix it straight into your favorite plant-based milk. It’s worth noting that turmeric isn’t easily absorbed in the gut. To help boost the absorption of curcumin, pair turmeric with black pepper just as we have done in our supplement. Some studies have found that black pepper can increase the absorption of curcumin by more than 2,000%.
Flex those Flaxseeds
Flaxseeds contain a high concentration of those all-important brain nourishing omega-3 fatty acids that are essential for keeping you sharp. The seeds are rich in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which the body uses to produce omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) that have important roles in optimal brain function, learning and memory. Low levels of omega-3s may go on to accelerate brain ageing with declining memory and more brain-fog.
An easy way to sprinkle flaxseeds into your day is by tossing the seeds over a salad, cereal or smoothie and by including a flaxseed oil supplement in your supplement regimen.
The bottom line
Taking care of your brain for improved focus and concentration starts with understanding how to fuel yourself efficiently. After all, your brain needs lots of energy to power those complex neurological networks (around 20% of your daily calorie intake, to be precise!).
That’s why getting the right nutrients for memory as part of a healthy and balanced diet, while also making time to exercise and rest, could go a long way towards improving your focus, concentration and memory.
Riya Lakhani ANutr is a registered nutritionist and health writer with a special interest in plant-based nutrition. She has completed a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Human Nutrition, and has developed a passion for writing about all things plant-based.