So here it is, a rapid fire look at the 5 best foods that aid focus when your struggling for that creative spark, or battling through another hour of revision.
1.) Spirulina - Theres no end to the benefits of the dark green powdered algae that is Spirulina. Due to its high levels of Vitamin B12, iron and protein, it makes Spirulina the king of focus foods. the superfood improves mental clarity when your lagging, relieves stress and tension, and can even assist your digestion. So you'll not only be more focused, but you'll be energised too! The green algae itself can be pretty potent - so we recommend mixing it up with a nice smoothie or juice so you wont taste it. Spirulina also comes in a tablet form, so if drinking the powder in a juice isn't your thing, just pop one of the green pills instead. If there was a category for foods that go above and beyond the term “superfood”, Spirulina would be the first on the list, now get it down you.
2.) Almonds - If you take a closer look at the photo for this blog post above, you'll notice we try and always have a few of the superfood nuts to hand at the office. Both because they're great to retain the focus we may have lost and are pretty tasty . A handful of raw almonds are full of magnesium, which not only helps with mental focus and aids your central nervous system functions but also reduces stress - which can help when your exam may only be a couple of hours away. Before you grab yourself a bag, know they're also high in fibre, helping to lower your blood sugar and put a halt on your distracting cravings. Like above, almonds might not be your thing, so instead you could make some simple almond butter, throw some into a milkshake, or even make some almond pancakes if your a little peckish and have half an hour. This means if you play your cards right, you can have healthy guilt free pancakes and be powered up for that revision or work that seemed so daunting earlier. Whats the saying? Kill two birds with one stone?
3.) Bananas - they're energising effects on the body are unquestionable, with athletes from around the world swearing by them, but can they help with focusing the brain? Bananas release energy slowly when eaten, they help the brain stay more alert and receptive for longer periods of time. Bananas do this by they're high potassium levels which energise the brain, and allow us to be in a better psychological state to learn. There have been various scientific studies over recent years to show the correlation between improvement on exam grades and regular consumption of bananas throughout the day. But bananas don't stop there, they have even been proven to prevent memory loss, due to the high levels of vitamin B6 they contain. Thus meaning having a banana milkshake or chopping some banana on your morning porridge before your exam could potentially be the best decision you make all week.
4.) Avocados - The essential to focus is blood flow to the brain (and the heart), and nothing does that much better than avocados. They do this because they are loaded with monounsaturated fat (a healthy fat) which allows a better blood flow around the body, this then directly affects blood flow to the brain and aids focus and concentration. Aside from this, avocados are packed with fibre ( up to as much as 17 grams for a large sized one) which helps beat off the lure of donut you thought you wanted. Avocados are easy to get down you too, because you can have them with almost anything. Blend one up in a smoothie, have some chopped in a salad, spread lightly over toast or even make some guacamole for some fajitas - the choice is yours!
5.) Blueberries - Numerous studies have shown that blueberries boost “concentration and memory”. The sweet tasting navy coloured berries achieve this effect on the brain similar to the way avocados do, by stimulating the blood flow to the brain. But, its the antioxidants within blueberries that increase this blood flow and keep the mind fresh, rather than the healthy fats in avocados. Each blueberry contains a cocktail of antioxidants, with names far to long and complicated to write down here, but combining to not only aid focus, but to prevent against cancer, heart disease and dementia. If you haven't added the berries to your diet already, they are great in smoothies, juices, with cereal, muesli, or with some yogurt.
6.) Cacao - No we haven't spelt cocoa wrong, theres a new boy on the block. I say “new” very loosely, with cacao powder actually having been used for centuries around the world, but only recently being stocked in many local supermarkets. Cacao is the purest form of chocolate you can consume, essentially its raw chocolate. Much less processed than cocoa powder or a chocolate bar, it is thought to be the highest source of antioxidants of any food. These antioxidants, along with a complex list of other brain wave chemicals, aid in enhancing memory, your attention span and focus. Cacao also increases production of a substance called “dopamine” in the body, which is similar to serotonin creating a feel good factor. On top of this already extensive list of focus enhancing traits cacao has, it is also a natural stimulant, so you'll be motivated to make that deadline. Cacao usually comes in two forms, powder or “nibs”, which are small chunks of the raw chocolate. Mix into a hot drink, in smoothies or on porridge, or use as a nutritionally superior alternative to processed chocolate in baking and cooking, the choice is yours.
Eat these foods, drink them if you wish, and even combine all of them, Einstein wouldn't stand a chance.
The Shake It® team