So many folks have told me that since the beginning of the pandemic, they have found it difficult to concentrate. Too many distractions, too many changes, and in general.. too much noise! This post won’t begin to solve all the problems that lead to the distractions, BUT I will tackle what you can do to give your brain the boost it needs so that it can stay strong during this trying time, and into the future.
- Caffeine – Yep, that morning or afternoon jolt can give you the energy and concentration you need, BUT, the effects are short term AND too much caffeine will actually ruin your concentration as you will be too jittery and jumpy.
- Sugar– Sugar can help you with your short-term memory boost, BUT it comes with a few big caveats. 1. The sugar you body wants is glucose, the type you get from carbohydrates, NOT sucrose, the type of sugar derived from table sugar. 2. Too much sugar, will make you groggy, the opposite of what you want. The Solution; a small glass of juice.
- Breakfast – For students in particular, a breakfast of high fiber, dairy, and fruit, has shown to improve memory and alertness. Too big a breakfast, you lose your concentration.
- Fish – Yep, fish is brain food. A diet rich in Omega 3 fatty acids has shown to reduce the risk of dementia, lower stroke risks, and slow the progress of mental decline. Some doctors recommend 2 serving of fish a week, mine recommends 5 per week. Hint, a can of tuna counts as a serving and is a fantastic addition to a green salad.
- Nuts and Dark Chocolate – Nuts and dark chocolate contain high levels of Vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant in the effort to prevent cognitive decline. A handful of nuts a day can make all the difference. Choose almonds, walnuts, and pecans as they contain the most benefits. Skip the peanuts and cashews as they can cause inflammation. All you need is 1 oz of dark chocolate a day. 1 oz is about the size of the end of your thumb
- Avocado – These little green wonders are loaded with Vitamin E, and as I noted above, Vitamin E is a powerful ally in the fight to keep your brain strong. And while you may read cautions about the fat content of avocado, I wouldn’t be concerned, the fat in an avocado is monounsaturated and is the type your body wants for healthy blood flow.
- Blueberries – Think of them as little blue shields, protecting your brain from free radicals that want to attack your brain cells and leading to dementia or Alzheimer’s.
- Water – Staying hydrated during the day helps keep your working in the way it is supposed to, i.e. consuming food, creating energy, eliminating waste. Without enough water, your body directs energy to other places besides your brain, leaving you in a fog. So, drink your water regularly. The amount needed varies per person, but 8 glasses a day is not a bad rule of thumb.
You can find more details about these food sources at WebMD
These are easy foods to incorporate into just about any diet. So, when you are taking care of your body, don’t forget to also take care of your brain!
Hi, I’m Chris Stiehl, a.k.a. The Wide-Body. This blog is dedicated to the “everyday athlete”, and that person is you! I sincerely believe an athlete resides in every one of us and I want to inspire you to discover that athlete within you. You are also built with a specific body type, and each type has its own power, so embrace that power and ignore the noise that says your body shape is unworthy. That power is your gift, and thus each week, I will post articles featuring topics about Health, Fitness, and Food so that you can incorporate these ideas into life and enjoy the gift you have been given.
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Keywords: mental health, concentration, Alzheimer’s, dementia, caffeine, glucose, breakfast, fish, brain, nuts, avocado, blueberries, water, hydrate, webmd, tuna, salmon, vitamin e, ADHD