Staying focused with the constant distraction of everyday life is a challenge that we all face. We all have work, school, university, or personal commitments we need to focus on - but it's so easy to get distracted by things like...
✏️ Notifications from apps we barely use
✏️ Texts & messages
✏️ Non-urgent emails
✏️ Overwhelming to-do lists
We know that we can keep our phones on silent mode, and prioritise any incoming urgent emails... but how do we stay calm and present from within?
Nutrition and diet can help improve our focus and alertness. A balanced diet that includes all the essential food groups (proteins, carbohydrates and fats) is essential in maintaining optimal cognitive function.
Brain cells need nourishment to work and is this where good fats (Omega 3’s) from nuts, seeds and oily fish have a key role. Other vegan sources of omega 3 oils are algae and flax seeds. Our brains are mostly made-up of fat. It is thought that 60-70% of our brain is composed of fat. Omega 3 essential fatty acids help the brain to build nerve cells and are essential for maintaining concentration.
Having regular meals also helps to maintain balanced blood sugar levels. The brain utilises sugar as fuel. Complex carbohydrates (whole grains, beans, vegetables) are the best fuel for the brain, and they are also a great source of fibre, and they generally take longer to digest, resulting in a steadier source of brain fuel compared to simple carbohydrates such as sugary drinks and cakes etc...
Antioxidants, from colourful fruits and vegetables, help protect brain cells from oxidative stress, and can help maintain optimal cognitive function. Berries such as blueberries, blackberrries, strawberries, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, beetroots and avocados are packed full of antioxidants. Studies have found that antioxidants can reduce inflammation and improve circulation.
We can’t forget caffeine when it comes to stimulating the brain for alertness and brain function, but unfortunately the effects can be short lived. Over doing on caffeine can also cause restlessness, jitteriness, increased heart rate and sleep problems. Not ideal if you need to stay on top form!
TOP TIP ➡️ A great companion to caffeine is L-Theanine - an amino acid found in black tea. Theanine has been found to improve brain function, reduce anxiety and stress. Theanine together with caffeine can provide a greater benefit in improving focus and concentration. Theanine can also help reduce the negative effects of caffeine.
Nutritional supplements can help provide key nutrients to support concentration, focus and cognitive function. There are several natural products that can help boost brain function. Vitamins, minerals together with specific botanicals can help you achieve improved focus and mental alertness.
When it comes to supporting cognitive function, B vitamins are a great start to a supplement programme. B vitamins have been proven to support mental performance, concentration and reduce tiredness. The key B vitamins to look out for are Niacin (B3), Pantothenic Acid (B5), Pyridoxine (B6) and Methylcobalamin (B12).
Two minerals that are proven to support cognitive function and concentration are Zinc (naturally found in nuts, seeds, shellfish and legumes), and iodine (naturally found in seaweed, sea food and dairy foods).
Adaptogenic herbs such as Ashwagandha can help the body to cope with stress. Alongside this benefit, studies have found that adaptogens can support brain function. A combination of nutrients and botanicals is a great way to support your brain health.
Alongside a balanced healthy diet, good quality sleep, regular exercise, and good nutritional support can help you stay on top form in this ever-demanding world!
Photography: Ted Lavender