Can’t Concentrate? Eat These Brain Foods
- Written By:Lauren Slayton
One of the common COVID-related complaints I hear from clients is trouble concentrating. An article on The Conversation said it best: “Anxiety and worry seem to eat up attention.” Here are five foods to help you get your work done, read more than one page at a time, and feel a bit better. There are certainly supplements that aid concentration, but I always advocate food first.
There’s a nutrient in eggs, specifically in egg yolks called choline. Choline is a precursor to a brain chemical acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is very important for cognitive function. So, please it’s 2020, let’s ditch the egg white omelets and eat those nutritious yolks.
In nutrition there’s the tendency (and I can be guilty of this) to seek out the latest, greatest ingredient or superfood. But we can’t forget the basics. Your brain needs water to function and even mild dehydration can cause attention problems. I find most people don’t drink enough water in the first half of the day. Then they’re playing catch up. Aim for 1 liter (4 cups) by lunch. I talk to clients about “the 2 P’s of pee.” Your urine should be pale and plentiful.
To all the coffee caffeine naysayers, it’s hard to argue that coffee helps with concentration and focus. However, it is dose dependent. It’s different for everyone but too much caffeine can leave you jittery. If any amount of coffee backfires for you, consider green tea. Green tea has caffeine and is an upper, but also contains an amino acid L-theanine, which counters some of the jittery effects of caffeine.
Omega 3 fats are crucial for brain function. Another benefit of these fats is that they positively impact your mood. Salmon, sardines, anchovies, and oysters are some of the highest dietary sources of omega-3. We suggest clients, who eat seafood, consume four or more fish meals a week. There are plant sources of omega 3’s such as walnuts and chia seeds but these are not nearly as absorbable as seafood sources.
Wild blueberries are different from your regular blueberries. They are small berries, often sold frozen and are higher in antioxidants than regular blueberries and confer some specific benefits. Research shows that wild blueberries aid concentration and focus in a range of ages from schoolchildren to older adults. These berries are excellent in smoothies or if you heat them a bit, they’re a great topping for Greek yogurt.
As a nutritionist, I approach everything through the lens of food. Of course, this is just one piece of the concentration puzzle…but an important piece and a great place to start.
Lauren Slayton is a nutritionist and the founder of Foodtrainers.