As we plunge into this incredibly busy time of year, and the culmination of year-end stress and exam fever sets in, what are we doing to help us concentrate during these last few weeks before the holidays?
What you are eating is the single most important factor in determining your concentration levels:
- Eat breakfast – this is key to boosting your concentration at the beginning of the day. Try hard boiled eggs, oats, whole bran cereals and berries of any kind.
- Coffee – it will come as no surprise that caffeine can improve mental alertness and give you energy, but less is more. Overdo it and you can feel uncomfortable and jittery.
- Keep your brain fuelled throughout the day. The top foods to include are berries, green leafy vegetables, avocados, nuts, cold-water fatty fish, coconut oil, dark chocolate, rosemary and turmeric. These contain the vitamins, minerals, essential fats, antioxidants and phytonutrients your brain needs to thrive.
Even a moderate half hour walk three times a week can improve your concentration abilities. Exercise can also promote the growth of new brain cells.
Get enough sleep:
At this time of the year, when 24 hours just aren’t enough, we tend to skimp on our sleep. This can result in a decline in planning, problem-solving skills, learning, concentration, learning memory and alertness. Herbal supplements, such as valerian root or amino acid L-theanine, can help reduce anxiety and promote sleep.
- Fish oils are the best-known supplements to help fuel the brain. Omega 3s have been found to improve memory and reduce cognitive decline. The concentration of EPA and DHA (the fatty acid chains) differ in different products available on the market and, depending on your life stage, the ratio that your body requires will differ.
- Herbal supplements containing ginkgo biloba are viewed as a good choice for improving concentration and overall focus.
- A nutritional supplement such as Biostrath®, a 100% natural formulation of yeast and herbs, provides vitamins, minerals, building substances and amino acids, and has been shown to assist with mental development, and support memory and concentration.
- Ayruvedic herbs, such as Bacopa (found in Keenmind®), are said to enhance memory, concentration and learning, while Ashwagandha (found in Mentat®) has been shown to have positive effects on neurotransmitters responsible for processing memory.
- Superfood Maca is a Peruvian root tuber that is extremely high in antioxidants. Because of its antioxidant properties, the root is believed to inhibit an enzyme that can damage cognitive functions. This can be included in smoothies or drinks.
Aaaaaannnd …. relax!
It may be hard to do, but finding time to relax and do something fun can provide your brain with enough recuperating time to get back into some serious studying later. Your mind is a muscle and needs time to settle and regroup, just like any other part of your body.
For any supplementation requirements, please consult with us at Thrive or with your local healthcare practitioner.
Thrive is the new name for National Road Pharmacy, 1 Natalia Terrace, Charles Way, Kloof
031 764 0311