If improving your focus and concentration is a major concern for you these days, cleaning up your diet is a great place to start. Your brain is probably the most valuable organ in your body. The lack of attention it receives has a lot to do with the fact we can’t see it. Still, our brain is a central part of our anatomy that ensures that all systems operate smoothly. It carries out countless tasks every day. It just makes sense to show it the love and care it deserves.
While your brain may carry out millions of tasks each day to keep your body running smoothly, if you don’t take care of it, it can reach a point where it starts to slow down and affect your memory and focus.
You are not alone. For many, focus and concentration are becoming more of a challenge these days with so much to focus and concentrate on. Our modern world seems to be pulling us in so many directions giving us so much information to stay on top of. As a result, of multitasking and managing information overload our attention spans are rapidly decreasing.
The good news is that you can reclaim your focus by becoming aware of the negative impact of poor food choices and by deciding to choose more wisely. The other good news is that this solution is not complicated at all. Simply start with being mindful of the food you put into your body, one meal at a time.
Let’s start by discussing a few of the negative effects of a poor diet that might not be at the top of your mind (pun intended :))
Negative Effects Of Poor Dietary Choices on Your Brain
- Inflammatory Foods: By now you’ve probably heard that a diet high in processed foods is bad for your overall health and wellness. It’s because foods high in salt, sugar, degraded oils, hidden chemicals, and refined grains are components of an inflammatory diet. It is inflammation that is the underlying cause of every major disease. These foods have an inflammatory effect on the neurons (cells) in your brain. This inflammation can contribute to decreased focus and concentration, as well as learning and memory problems. Over time, this inflammation can increase your risk of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
- Hunger: While intermittent fasting has been shown to have an overall positive effect on brain cognition, random unscheduled hunger may not. You can get cranky when you’re hungry (also known as “hangry”) because your blood sugar levels drop, along with your energy levels. And when you don’t have enough energy, you feel fatigued, and therefore, are unable to focus and concentrate on the task at hand.
- Dehydration: If your water intake is too low. Your neurons (brain cells) can not function properly. This function is so crucial that even a small percentage drop in normal hydration levels can hurt concentration. Dehydration can also cause headaches, dizziness, low moods, and fatigue, all of which can contribute to decreased focus and concentration.
Just as there are factors that decrease your focus and concentration, there are many factors that improve focus levels. Here are a few choices that have a positive effect on your cognitive function.
Positive Effect of Good Dietary Choices on Your Brain
- A Balanced Diet: Eating a well-balanced diet goes a long way in helping to reduce stress and anxiety and increase energy while boosting focus and concentration.
A nutritionally balanced diet should include minerals and vitamins such as:
- Magnesium is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and soothing effect on the brain.
- Zinc is important for the healthy production and performance of neurons; brain cells.
- B vitamins are known for maintaining good brain health. Thiamine (B1) especially helps boost mental strength and short-term memory. Vitamin B6 is crucial for keeping up focus levels. Vitamin B9 (folate) sustains memory and healthy brain function. If your body is lacking in vitamin B12, it can cause brain fog, confusion, and memory loss.
- Vitamin D aids in the production of serotonin, one of the ‘feel-good’ hormones that help keep you focused and calm.
- Vitamin E keeps up the brain’s energy and strength.
- Protein is also very good for concentration because it’s considered the building block of the brain. Research shows that a high-protein diet, which includes lean meat, beans, omega-3 fatty acids, beans, and nuts, can help improve concentration and focus.
- Dietary supplements can also help support brain function. While supplements aren’t substitutes for real food, they can help support your balanced diet, especially when your body is lacking in certain minerals and vitamins, and you’re unable to provide them through your daily diet.
- Drink lots of water and electrolytes: Your brain is made up of 85% water. It can’t function without it. Neurotransmitters and hormones produced by the brain rely on water. When you drink adequate amounts of water, you’ll be able to stay focused and alert for longer.
Knowing what to eat throughout the day can have an immense effect on your ability to focus and concentrate. It can also greatly impact both your short-term and long-term mental health which can lead to an increase in productivity and efficiency. It may sound too simple to take notice but a nutrient-dense diet can improve cognition, while one lacking in essential nutrients can diminish your ability to concentrate.
Be well + eat your greens: :),
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