10 Hacks to Increase Your Focus at Work—All Through Your Diet
Feeling foggy-headed mid-afternoon at the office or just having general focus problems at work?
You’re not alone!
Focus and attention problems can affect many people’s day to day enjoyment as well as negatively affect their work abilities.
Luckily, there are many ways to increase your focus at work–all through your diet.
How to Improve Your Focus at Work Through Your Diet:
It’s true that sleep health is very important for focus and cognitive function throughout the day, but even without enough rest, an unhealthy diet and poor food choices can still lead you to suffer from focusing in on your day-to-day tasks. Let’s fix that!
Choosing whole, fresh foods and those without lots of additives is one of the first steps to take in order to improve your focus, but beyond those tips, you’ll also need to pay attention to meal timing, be mindful of sugar and sodium consumption, and attempt to choose the most optimal food choices throughout the day.
Believe it or not, even your beverage choices are important when it comes to improving your focus at work!
With those ideas in mind, take a look at these 10 simple hacks that you can use to increase your focus at work by choosing smart options throughout the day at all of your meals, snacks, and with your beverages.
There are also some tips listed below for supporting your blood sugar levels which is another health issue that is also imperative for improving your focus and overall health.
1. Enjoy a Cup of Coffee at the Best Time
Research has shown that individuals who time their coffee at optimal hours benefit from the popular drink’s focus perks more effectively. It’s all about the way caffeine affects your blood sugar levels and how caffeine works with your biological clock.
Most people benefit from having their cup between 9 and 11 a.m. which is the time that coffee seems to give us the boost we all need in order to focus and get important things done early on. Drinking coffee at this time will also help it last throughout the earliest parts of the afternoon without leaving up wide awake and alert during the evening.
2. Opt for Caffeine-Free Beverage Choices Most of the Day
If you’re sensitive to the caffeine in coffee, or want a focus-enhancing drink later on in the day, trying a cup of mint tea, decaffeinated coffee, or green tea which all contain focus-enhancing properties and can improve how you feel.
Mint tea is also especially helpful if you suffer from headaches or digestive issues since it improves the way blood flows in the body which improves brain function.
Mint also helps reduce stress which can be great for helping you think more clearly when you feel anxious and overwhelmed at work. So keep a box of peppermint or spearmint tea at your desk and enjoy a warm or chilled cup if you need a caffeine-free pick-me up!
Water with lemon is also refreshing, hydrating, and it makes for a great option to keep with you at work. Hydration is important when it comes to improving your focus since dehydration can impair blood sugar levels and blood flow.
3. Eat a Fiber-Rich Breakfast
Fiber digests slowly in the body which keeps you fuller longer and keeps blood sugar levels more stable. Aim to eat at least 10 grams of fiber for breakfast which will keep you satiated and ensure your blood sugar levels support your focus abilities.
Low blood sugar is one of the most overlooked causes of attention problems and is easy enough to treat with your diet. So be sure you make a smart choice first thing in the day where a fiber-rich meal can often benefit you the most.
Smart choices for a fiber-rich breakfast include:
- a bowl of whole grain oatmeal prepared without sugar and served with some fresh fruit and nuts or seeds
- a green smoothie with low-sugar fruits and some protein powder or oats
- a cup of nonfat Greek yogurt with some raw almonds and a bowl of oatmeal with berries
- a piece of sprouted grain toast served with 2 tablespoons of raw almond butter or natural peanut butter and your choice of fruit, such as an apple
Skip the urge to enjoy too much protein or fat first thing since they can slow down digestion in the stomach and spike insulin levels later on. Fiber feeds the good bacteria in your digestive tract which can also provide more energy and boost your mood throughout the day—who knew!
4. Choose Raw Almonds as a Snack
An ounce of raw almonds, which is about 22 nuts, provides nearly the perfect portion of protein, fat, and fiber that make it a great snack for improving your focus and even your mood and waistline. Almonds are also a great source of the mineral magnesium which has been shown to improve focus, energy, and attentiveness.
For even more satiety, pair your almonds with an apple or an orange which both contain a special fiber known as pectin which can help keep you fuller longer and improve digestion.
5. Have One Cup of Fresh or Frozen Berries Daily
Berries, specifically blueberries, have been shown to prevent the risks of Alzheimer’s disease due to the way they enhance memory, focus, and improve mood. All berries are rich in antioxidants, fiber, and Vitamin C.
Berries can also help reduce high levels of stress and are great foods to eat in replacement to high-sugar foods that impair your ability to focus, so have a cup of them each day whether you enjoy them fresh or frozen.
Smoothies, oatmeal, on salads or as a snack are all great ideas for ways you can enjoy berries each day!
6. Eat Your Greens
Did you know greens can help you focus and improve the way your brain works? That’s because of the antioxidants they contain and many also contain large amounts of folate, an important B vitamin that helps you focus more easily.
Greens are also a good source of magnesium which improves mood, energy, focus, and it can even help reduce stress in the body. Leafy greens are also great sources of vitamins A, C, and K as well.
Spinach, kale, chard, collards, romaine, arugula, and dark lettuces are all great options, so work these into your day either in lunch as a salad or soup, in a green smoothie, or make a collard wrap for lunch versus having a high-carb, bread-based wrap.
7. Watch the Sodium
Too much sodium can cause high blood pressure, disrupt optimal blood sugar function, can cause headaches, and it can also lead to increased stress and feeling sluggish and fatigued throughout the day. So don’t add salt to your food and if you use any packaged foods, be mindful of how much sodium they contain.
The daily maximum intake of salt is 1500 milligrams, and it’s easy to rack up more than you think when you’re relying on restaurant meals, packaged foods, or lots of condiments and seasonings.
To enhance the taste of your meals without salt, try using fresh herbs and spices instead of salt; many of them, such as basil and mint, can even improve your focus and ability to think more clearly throughout the day. You can also find low-sodium or no-salt-added seasonings, or just squeeze some lemon or lime onto your foods to add a little zing and zest without the salt!
8. Eat Some Protein At Each Meal
Protein-rich foods such as lean fish, eggs, lentils, chickpeas, and quinoa are all great options to include during your day and they can improve your ability to focus at work.
Plain peanut or almond butter are also good sources of protein, and although they’re high in fat, they can make for a great snack or topping at one of your meals.
In general, try to get in at least 10 grams of protein at breakfast and another 10 – 15 grams at lunch if you can. While eating too much protein isn’t helpful, sufficient levels of protein intake throughout the day can improve neurotransmitter function and help you think more clearly.
Plus, all whole foods have protein. Even a starchy potato has 3 grams of protein, broccoli has 4 grams per cup, and kale has 5 grams of protein per cup.
The bottom line is that your protein intake can add up more quickly than you might think when you’re eating real, whole foods, so fill up your plate with the fresh foods and you won’t have a problem meeting your protein needs.
9. Space Out Your Meals
Another way to improve your focus at work is to space out your meals evenly throughout the day.
For instance, instead of skipping breakfast and eating a massive lunch, be sure to eat your fiber-rich breakfast (see above) and then have a lunch similar to the same size as your breakfast, around 3-4 hours later.
Eating similar size meals throughout the day and making sure your meals are spaced out evenly apart will ensure that your blood sugar levels stay stable and you’re not sluggish from overeating.
10. Enjoy a Piece of Dark Chocolate or Raw Cacao
Having a little dark chocolate each day won’t derail your health efforts and it can even help improve your focus at work along with your mood and memory. Like coffee, chocolate has natural properties that boost cognitive function.
Dark chocolate improves blood flow to the brain which can help you think more clearly, remember more information, and can even change the way the brain ages over time for the better.
Just be sure to choose dark chocolate with at least 85% cacao content when you purchase dark chocolate bars and only enjoy an ounce or two at a time. Eating too much chocolate in one sitting is not helpful for your focus abilities and may even make you feel jittery or sick to your stomach.
You can also enjoy a tablespoon or two of raw cacao in a smoothie (or even in your coffee) as a way to take advantage of chocolate’s benefits for focus and memory. Since it’s the raw form of chocolate, raw cacao can give you even more benefits than processed chocolate since it has never been heated or processed, and it contains no sugar or additives.
Now that you know these 10 hacks to increase your focus at work, it’s time to give them a try!
While you’re at it, see How Science Proved that Nutrition is More Effective than Prescriptions at Improving Mental Health.