Eating to Improve Focus

Author: Jocie Antonelli

Spinachomelette Lr

All of us want a memory like a steel trap. Unfortunately, many of us aren’t built that way, and we can use all the help we can get. As discussed in an earlier blog, there are different habits, dietary and otherwise, you can employ to improve your success in school. This particular blog will focus on one specific nutrient, lutein.

Lutein is an antioxidant that has recently been shown to increase concentration, focus, and memory. The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory is working with the University of Illinois and Abbott labs in studying the effects of lutein on the concentration, focus, and memories of our servicewomen and servicemen. This antioxidant is most commonly associated with eye health.  However, these studies are showing that lutein plays a pivotal role in maintaining attention.  Research is showing that the brain works faster and is sharper when supplemented with lutein.  And who doesn’t want to be able to concentrate longer?  

There are the two standard ways to increase dietary intake of lutein: through food choices or supplementation. Rich dietary sources of lutein include: spinach, egg yolks, corn, kiwi, orange juice, grapes, zucchini, and various other dark green leafy vegetables. A lutein rich day might look like this:  a whole egg omelet with spinach and peppers at breakfast, followed by a spinach salad at lunch, and a serving of peas and orange juice at dinner. If you are interested in supplementation, a good place to start is 10 mg per day. Lutein intake unfortunately doesn’t create an immediate effect, so it’s important to be consistent and consume daily.    

So instead of turning to coffee and sugar for a boost, make sure to consume lutein-rich foods throughout the day. Happy learning!