Finding it hard to get anything done at work? You’re not alone.
With our busy and hectic lifestyles, it’s really common to feel a dip in concentration, says nutritionist Amy Morris (who works with www.waterforhealth.co.uk)
But the good news is, by making small changes to your diet and lifestyle, you can make a real difference to your brain power in just a week. Here is Amy’s seven-step guide…
Step 1: Have breakfast
Breakfast is an essential part of your daily routine. If you skip breakfast regularly, make sure it becomes a priority when trying to boost your brain power. Eating breakfast daily can help improve short-term memory and attention span, with several studies showing that students who eat breakfast tend to perform better overall than those who skip it.
A good breakfast should ideally include a little food from all three of the macronutrient groups, such as protein, carbohydrates and fats. All choices should be as fresh as possible and in whole food form for maximum nutrition and benefits to health and concentration.
Step 2: Go green (tea)
Ditch your morning coffee and replace it with matcha green tea. Matcha will still give you a caffeine fix, which can help to energise and improve concentration, but unlike your normal morning coffee, matcha will also give you a good dose of antioxidants that are known for helping to protect cells and DNA from damage.
Matcha also contains a good amount of the amino acid L-Theanine, and can eliminate the negative effects of caffeine such as jitteriness. The best sources of matcha are organically grown and come from Uji in Japan.
Step 3: Go nuts
Nuts and seeds are a good source of vitamin E which has been linked in some studies to less cognitive decline as you age. Chia pods are a great way to get in extra vitamin E from seeds, and when you make your cereal or porridge in the morning try topping with a handful of pecans, cashews and almonds, slightly ground in your blender first, or choose unsalted nuts as a healthy mid-morning snack.
Step 4: Drink more water
A lack of water in the body, means lack of water to the brain. This lack of water can cause poor concentration, lack of focus, headaches, depression and forgetfulness. The best water to drink is purified water that is as free from chemicals and contaminants as possible. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recommends that men drink 2.5 litres of water per day, and women 2 litres per day. But this may need to be increased if you exercise a lot or have a very physically demanding job.
Step 5: Eat more oily fish
Several studies have shown that supplementing your diet with omega 3 fish oil can boost concentration due to its ability to help increase blood flow to the brain during mental activity. Additional studies also show that a diet with higher levels of omega 3 has been linked to a lowered risk of dementia and strokes, and can slow down mental decline.
Omega 3 fish oil can be obtained through eating oily fish, such as line and pole caught mackerel (this is also lower in mercury). However, if you’d prefer, a high-quality omega 3 fish oil supplement like UnoCardio 1000 can help ensure you’re getting adequate amounts of omega 3 daily.
Step 6: Meditate
A study published in the journal Psychological Science, found that people who meditate intensively had better attention and sustained focus, even during the most mundane of tasks. Research from the University of North Carolina also found that meditating for as little as 20 minutes a day, over just four days can be enough to improve cognitive skills.
In one test, students were given a particularly challenging computer test of sustained attention – those who had meditated performed 10 times better than the control group. If you are new to meditation, look out for meditation groups in your area, or watch the experts online. As well as boosting concentration, it will also lower your stress levels if practised at the end of each day, even just for 10 minutes.
Step 7: Sleep well
Scientists have found that people with sleep deprivation have lower alertness and concentration. They also found it is more difficult to concentrate and pay attention, making it easier for you get confused and not remember things as they happened. Research has found that everyone’s concentration is best after at least seven hours of sleep. Any less and people start to suffer with more mood problems and difficulty concentrating.
How do you boost your concentration at work? Tell us in the comments box below