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6 Foods To Help You Focus

Nichole Dandrea, M.S., R.D.
Author:
June 26, 2013
Photo by Shutterstock.com
June 26, 2013

Let’s say you turn on the computer to do three things and find yourself an hour later, having accomplished none of those. Instead, what you've done is: checked Facebook, maybe sent a tweet or two, and then read a few articles on MindBodyGreen. And now you can't remember what, exactly, you needed to do in the first place.

These distractions may be a result of over-stimulation, but what you eat can also affect your clarity and productivity. Clean, unprocessed, foods are essential to keeping your mind clear and happy, especially given our ever-increasing amount of external stimuli.

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To help remain focused, include these six things daily into your diet. Be sure to stay hydrated and eat other whole, unprocessed foods.

Here's to healthy eating and a happy mind!

Berries

These have been shown to protect the brain from free radicals and may reduce the age-related effects of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Add some blueberries or strawberries to oatmeal and smoothies or grab a handful for a snack.

Whole grains like oatmeal, quinoa and barley

These contribute to your daily dietary fiber, which keeps you satisfied and your blood sugar stable resulting in a happy brain. Whole grains also contain B-vitamins, which are necessary for the breakdown of carbohydrates (your brain’s preferred source of energy) and a healthy nervous system. 

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Omega-3s

These increase circulation and are essential for brain development. Including walnuts, ground flax, or chia seeds into your diet every day may slow mental decline, improve memory, and increase brain power.

Leafy greens

They are chock full of the antioxidant lutein, which has been shown to prevent cognitive decline. Include leafy greens in your diet at least twice a day. They’re great when added to soups, whole grain pasta or salads.

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Caffeine

It can make you more alert and focused, but don’t overdo it. One cup of coffee, one ounce of dark chocolate, or three cups of green tea should do the trick. These treats all contain flavanoids and antioxidants, which help to improve blood flow, including blood flow to the brain!

Nitric oxide

It's a gas molecule that dilates the arteries, resulting in reduced blood pressure and increased blood flow. It’s not found in food, however certain foods can stimulate nitric oxide production in the body. Cayenne pepper, jalapenos, dark chocolate, and beets may all stimulate nitric oxide production.

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Nichole Dandrea, M.S., R.D.
Nichole Dandrea, M.S., R.D.

Nichole Dandrea, M.S., R.D., is a nutritionist and yoga instructor who, during one cold dreary season, transplanted herself from Philadelphia to bright, sunny Los Angeles to create a healthy chocolate company. She now, ironically, reminisces about those chilly, rainy days. She believes that eating plant-based whole foods are the foundation to healthy holistic living, and can help bring vitality, peace and energy to your body, soul and mind. She also believes that chocolate should be its own food group. You can often find her listening and singing to her favorite beats while walking her 12 year-old best friend, Isabella, or while up to her elbows in chocolate. Read more about her healthy chocolates at nicobellaorganics.com.