View Full Version : Types of food help you concentrate?

07-29-13, 06:32 PM
Do you find there are any types of food that help you concentrate better? Sugar, carbs, protein, and so on? I had great concentration last week and terrible this week. I'm dieting and wonder if it has something to do with switching my regular menu. The problem is, I can't identify what food "type" helped me last week. :confused:

Let me know if you have a "go to" food that helps you focus better. Thanks!

07-29-13, 07:36 PM
Research (and personal experience) indicate that changes from week to
week are more likely to be the result of hormonal changes than dietary
changes, although a poor diet, lack of sleep and lack of exercise can all
contribute to worse symptoms.

These books may be helpful:

Women With Attention Defecit Disorder, by Sari Solden
Understanding Women With AD/HD, by Kathleen Nadeau and Patricia Quinn

ana futura
07-29-13, 08:27 PM
Good fats (nuts and avocados), fish high in omega 3's (salmon), complex carbs (whole grains like brown rice and veggies).

Avoid simple carbs like white flour and sugar.

A food allergy could be the culprit. Perhaps it's not about a food you ate last week, but a food you are eating this week? I'm slightly allergic to gluten and if I eat a lot of wheat it makes me a total space cadet.

How exactly are you dieting? Are you just restricting calories or...? A calorie reduction alone can make you spacey. Especially cutting out fat, unsaturated fats are necessary for brain health.

Or like Lunacie said it could be hormonal.

07-29-13, 08:30 PM
Bananas are a great snack. Healthy, vitamin filled. It also contains the precursor for dopamine. :)

07-29-13, 08:32 PM
Thanks for the tips! I narrowed it to diet because it's the only big change I've made. I keep a fairly regimented schedule. I'm also on medication that keeps my hormones at the same level everyday. Again, thanks for the tips.

07-29-13, 08:34 PM
@ Ana futura--did you stop simple carbs and sugar and notice an improvement in concentration?

ana futura
07-29-13, 08:38 PM
@ Ana futura--did you stop simple carbs and sugar and notice an improvement in concentration?

It's more that I notice I have a harder time concentrating when I eat them, especially white flour. Like I said, I think that's actually a gluten problem.

The problem with sugar is that it causes spikes. It's great in the short term, but bad in the long term. When I'm writing a paper I plow through candy and sugary snacks- it's the only time I do that. It will help your concentration short term, but then it will make your brain go caput an hour later- and you'll need more brain fuel right away.

Glucose is brain fuel, but it's best if you can consume the low burning kind (complex carbs).

If you were eating a lot of sugar before, but haven't replaced it with complex carbs, it would make sense that you would be spacey now.

ana futura
07-29-13, 09:02 PM
This is a really good article on the subject-

Here are some highlights-

The brain, which accounts for 2 percent of our body weight, sucks down roughly 20 percent of our daily calories. A picky eater, it demands a constant supply of glucose — primarily obtained from recently eaten carbohydrates (fruits, vegetables, grains etc.). Only in extreme instances of deprivation will the brain use other substances for fuel.

This is not to suggest that we should constantly slurp soda to keep our brains functioning optimally. On the contrary, high glucose levels slowly but surely damage cells everywhere in the body, including those in the brain, said Marc Montminy of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in California.

Become a grazer

To optimize brain power, Michael Green of Aston University in England suggests one tactic would be "more frequent but smaller meals." The brain works best with about 25 grams of glucose circulating in the blood stream — about the amount found in a banana, said Gibson.

Eat lower on the glycemic index (GI)

The glycemic index ranks foods according to how they affect blood glucose levels. Pretzels are high on the index, because they cause blood sugar to rise very quickly. Raw carrots, by comparison, have a low glycemic ranking.

Carbs in lower glycemic food are broken into glucose molecules more slowly, thereby providing a steadier supply of energy to the brain. Low GI meals, gratefully, also best satiate hunger, writes J.M. Bourre of the French National Medicine Academy inthe September 2006 issue of The Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging.

Know your fats

Despite fat's ability to lower the GI of a meal, not all fats are equal. Trans fats, common in fast food, are the worst. Saturated fats are not great. Unsaturated fat is the healthiest.

Essential fatty acids, such as Omega-3s, are proving valuable in treating depression and other psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia, as well as benefiting infant brain development, Green said. However, he added, the effect of supplements on a healthy adult brain is controversial. It may be best to stick to natural sources, such as cold-water fish, seeds and nuts.