Food for thought: Improve your concentration

  • 6 Jan 2009
  • Reading time 4 mins
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Losing your mind as you get older is a myth – you can keep your mental facilities in good shape with the right nutrition.

The myth is the older you get, the poorer your mental agility becomes. But I do believe that you can keep a sharp mind and a keen intellect at any age with the right combination of nature’s ‘smart nutrients’.

As a psychologist, I was taught that this was impossible – but I didn’t believe it, so I set out to prove it was true. I helped conduct a study, giving schoolchildren a high-strength multivitamin or a placebo and testing their IQ before and after. The children who took the multivitamin had a 9% increase in non-verbal IQ! The good news is that you don’t just have to be a child to benefit from these findings.

Dr Rakesh Chandra from the Memorial University of Newfoundland in Canada decided to test whether supplementation with vitamins and trace elements in modest amounts could improve memory and mental performance in healthy, elderly subjects. He gave 96 such men and women over the age of 65 either a daily supplement or a placebo for 12 months. Those taking the supplements showed substantial improvement in short-term memory, concentration and problem-solving skills.

Now that’s from just taking a good multivitamin. I’ve since pinpointed some key nutritional factors that I believe give you the edge on focus and concentration, memory and mental agility. I call these ‘smart nutrients’ and they include nutrients such as DMAE and phospholipids, which may directly support brain function. I personally take these nutrients every day and I’m convinced that they’re the best way to sharpen your mind and protect yourself against memory decline.

Brain Friendly Diet

The starting point for tuning up your brain is to follow an optimum nutrition diet and take daily supplements. Here are the ten golden rules to follow to make sure your diet is maximising your mental health.

1. Eat wholefoods – wholegrains, lentils, beans, nuts, seeds, fresh fruit and vegetables – and avoid refined, white and overcooked foods.

2. Avoid any form of sugar – in biscuits, cakes, confectionery and also foods with added sugar in the forms of syrups, dextrose and maltose.

3. Eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily – choose dark green, leafy and root vegetables such as watercress, carrots, sweet ......

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