BY: Lively Staff

April 6, 2017

Improve Focus with Healthy Eating

Concentrate on Healthy Eating to Improve Focus

 

The importance of healthy eating goes beyond the physical benefits–it can offer a variety of mental benefits that result in a more focused, less distracted, you.

Ensuring you’re getting the proper nutrients to successfully conquer each day is vital in improving focus.  It all starts with the gut; our gut is the centerpiece for keeping the body’s immune system and inflammation in check; when we eat food, gut-focused hormones from that food that enter the brain influence cognitive ability such as recognizing when we’re full, processing information given to us, and focus (1).

To improve focus with healthy eating, try working some of these focus-enriching foods into your diet:

Egg Yolks

Egg yolks contain choline, an essential nutrient that is responsible for maintaining brain function (2).  Eggs are also rich in vitamins and minerals essential for cell function that includes the brain and memory, nervous system, and maintaining metabolism (3).

Whip up these Baked Egg and Smoked Salmon meals for breakfast to get some extra choline into your diet.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

When looking for a great way to increase brain function, look no further than extra virgin olive oil.  Packed with antioxidants called polyphenols, extra virgin olive oil has been shown to improve learning and memory, but show to benefit premature signs of aging (4). 

Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate is not only a tasty sweet treat, but it houses several health benefits.  Research has shown that cocoa has the ability to improve cognitive function in older adults who are mentally impaired, as well as improving several risk factors for disease (5).  Caffeine has been shown to improve brain function, and cocoa contains this stimulant which can also be attributed to dark chocolate’s benefits (6). 

Try making these Grain-Free Dark Chocolate Waffles next time you need a cognitive boost.

Leafy Greens

Studies have shown that green veggies like kale and spinach contain carotenoids, which help to boost brain function in aging adults (7).  Leafy greens contain lutein, which studies have shown to play neuroprotective roles by clinging onto the cell membrane of the brain cells (8). 

 

 

 

Sources:

(1) Gómez-Pinilla, F. (2008). Brain foods: the effects of nutrients on brain function. Nature Reviews Neuroscience,9(7), 568-578. doi:10.1038/nrn2421

(2) Zeisel, S. H., & Costa, K. D. (2009). Choline: an essential nutrient for public health. Nutrition Reviews,67(11), 615-623. doi:10.1111/j.1753-4887.2009.00246.x

(3) Eggs Can. (n.d.). Retrieved March 27, 2017, from http://thinkegg.com/index.php/eggs-can/

(4) Farr SA, Price TO, Dominguez LJ, Motisi A, Saiano F, Niehoff ML, Morley JE, Banks WA, Ercal N, Barbagallo M (2012). Extra virgin olive oil improves learning and memory in SAMP8 mice. J. Alzheimers Dis. 28(1):81-92. doi: 10.3233/JAD-2011-110662.

(5) Desideri, G., C. Kwik-Uribe, D. Grassi, S. Necozione, L. Ghiadoni, D. Mastroiacovo, A. Raffaele, L. Ferri, R. Bocale, M. C. Lechiara, C. Marini, and C. Ferri. “Benefits in Cognitive Function, Blood Pressure, and Insulin Resistance Through Cocoa Flavanol Consumption in Elderly Subjects With Mild Cognitive Impairment: The Cocoa, Cognition, and Aging (CoCoA) Study.” Hypertension60.3 (2012): 794-801. Web.

(6) Smit, Hendrik J., Elizabeth A. Gaffan, and Peter J. Rogers. “Methylxanthines are the psycho-pharmacologically active constituents of chocolate.” Psychopharmacology176.3-4 (2004): 412-19. Web.

(7) Kesse-Guyot, Emmanuelle, Valentina A. Andreeva, Véronique Ducros, Claude Jeandel, Chantal Julia, Serge Hercberg, and Pilar Galan. “Carotenoid-rich dietary patterns during midlife and subsequent cognitive function.” British Journal of Nutrition111.05 (2013): 915-23. Web.

(8) Zamroziewicz, Marta K., Erick J. Paul, Chris E. Zwilling, Elizabeth J. Johnson, Matthew J. Kuchan, Neal J. Cohen, and Aron K. Barbey. “Parahippocampal Cortex Mediates the Relationship between Lutein and Crystallized Intelligence in Healthy, Older Adults.” Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience8 (2016): n. pag. Web.

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