Constantly in a state of distraction at work? Desperate to sit down and finish that email but keep magically gravitating towards the coffee maker? Grab back control of your attention span and tickle those taste buds in the process with these 5 foods guaranteed to give you the focus you crave:
1. “Just eat your greens!” Turns out mum was right. According to neurologist Jeff Victorov, leafy greens can help improve attention and are packed with antioxidants that protect against strokes, Parkinson’s and can help fight dementia.
2. Go nuts. Take a tip from Scrat and store up some brainpower: Nuts and seeds pack a load of nutrients that can seriously boost cognitive performance. A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology suggests that a good intake of vitamin E might help to prevent cognitive decline and nuts are rich in this vital vitamin, so get cracking (and nibbling).
Also, just a handful of pumpkin seeds a day is all you need to get your recommended daily amount of zinc, vital for enhancing memory and thinking skills.
3. Count on coffee. Coffee isn’t craved by most office workers first thing for nothing. I’m glad to report that studies suggest caffeine in an eight-ounce cup of coffee can improve attention and short-term memory. But be careful when gulping down your triple shot espresso, too much coffee can cause restlessness, nervousness, excitement, insomnia, flushed face, diuresis (you keep passing urine), and gastrointestinal disturbance (upset tummy) as this very unfortunate but hilarious story confirms from Buzzfeed.
4. Chocoholic’s delight. I’m also delighted to report that you can go ahead and stuff that double dark chocolate muffin right into your pie-hole! Yes, that’s right, flavonols found in dark chocolate (also found in red wine, green tea, and blueberries) offer a short-term boost in cognitive skills.
Dark chocolate also boosts the body’s production of endorphins (happy hormone) and can help to reduce pain and combats the negative affects of stress. So go forth and release your inner Augustus Gloop!
5. Chews gum. Randomly, that stick of Hubba Bubba may be the key to making it through a busy day. Studies have found chewing gum improves mood and alertness and reaction times were quicker, this effect became bigger as the task became more difficult. Chewing gum also improved selective and sustained attention.
But be warned, much like tennis elbow, you can get ‘chewer’s jaw’ or temporomandibular joint disorder, which can be a painful chronic condition. Anytime you overuse a certain set of muscles, it can lead to contracted muscles and related pain, including headaches, earaches, and toothaches over time.
So next time you’re looking to get hyper focussed at work, grab a dark chocolate fruit and nut bar with a side of spinach and a venti mocha to go. Then tame that coffee breath with a stick of Wrigleys to crank up your productivity. Just be sure you enjoy each of these brain-boosting foods in moderation!