With only a certain number of hours in the working day, it’s important to find ways to increase your focus and concentration to make life easier and more productive. Many people can find it difficult to get their brain into gear, office workers in particular. They can be constantly distracted by colleagues chatting, phone calls and emails. Also, the same working routine can send your mind wandering.
Keeping engaged and your mind active is important for reasons that stretch beyond one’s career. Although slowing and tiredness may be a part of the ageing process, important nutrients that specifically benefit your mind are worth considering.
DHA & Omega 3
One nutrient you may not be familiar with is docosahexaenoic acid, also known as DHA. DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid that forms one of the core structural components of the brain; it is also present in nerve tissues and the eyes. Not many food sources provide DHA but oily fish, seafood and algae are the major omega-3 players if you are looking to up your intake. If fish tends to be absent from your diet, it’s important to ensure that you don’t become deficient in DHA, as although your body will naturally produce the substance, the amount is quite minimal. Forever Arctic Sea contains both the fatty acids DHA and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). DHA contributes to the maintenance of normal brain function, as well as vision and blood triglyceride levels. Both DHA and EPA contribute to the normal function of the heart.
B vitamins are also excellent for one’s mental concentration. Thiamine (vitamin B1), niacin (vitamin B3) and folate (vitamin B9) all contribute to normal psychological function, pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) contributes to normal mental performance, and niacin, folate and pantothenic acid also contribute to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue. Next time you’re feeling a tad sluggish, you’ll want to reach for foods rich in B vitamins such as meat, fish and nuts. Forever Daily and Forever Kids are also high in these B vitamins. Folate and vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, often work together, and if you are deficient in B12, it’s likely that you’re also deficient in folate, as B12 is required to convert folate into its active form.
Folate and folic acid
Folate and folic acid are both forms of vitamin B9. Natural folate is found in foods like spinach, beans and dairy, while folic acid is simply a synthetic form of the vitamin that’s added to supplements and foods like flour and cereal. Folate and folic acid have the same basic molecular structure, they both function the same in the body and they both offer the same health benefits. In foods, folate needs to be enzymatically converted in the intestines to be absorbed and provide benefits. However, folate is not particularly stable and there is a large loss in vitamin value during food processing or supplement manufacturing. For this reason, Forever has chosen to use folic acid, a more stable and more absorbable form of folate. For a supplement that combines both vitamin B12 and vitamin B9, choose Forever B12 Plus or Argi+.
Protein and Carbs
Many concentration issues come from two sources: lack of food and lack of water. So, it is very important to get your diet right. Starting with carbohydrates, your body turns them into glucose, which also directly fuels your brain. Without it, you may find it hard to concentrate. They also signal your brain to produce serotonin, a hormone that regulates your mood, appetite and sleep.
Eating carbohydrates together with protein-rich foods may boost the amount of tryptophan in your brain which is then converted into serotonin. Protein not only keeps our brain sharp and our energy levels high, but it also keeps us full and reduces cravings. By being less hungry during office hours, we are able to concentrate better on our work.
Polyphenols are micronutrients that we get through certain plant-based foods. Dark chocolate is full of them boosting our endorphins and ability to concentrate. Plus, it has a hint of caffeine to give us that extra jolt of energy and focus. Other sources include berries, grapes, red wine and green tea.
Have you got any tips for improving concentration? Let us know in the comments.