Wellbeing

Could poor nutrition be the reason for a lack of focus in your business?

- June 8, 2023 3 MIN READ

 

Have you ever considered that your inability to stay focused is due to your diet, rather than a personal flaw or lack of discipline? asks wellness expert, Vesna Hrsto.

Our capacity to focus is one of the ways we achieve our goals, enabling us to become 100 per cent finishers in the tasks we undertake.

Focus will make you better at what you do! It will enhance your skills, allow you to excel in even difficult tasks, and provide a deep sense of fulfilment that comes from mastering your craft.

In his book, Deep Work, Cal Newport shared why focus is critical in our fast changing world: “Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. It’s a skill that allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time.”


Imagine where you could be today if you had deep focus to pursue your goals just one year ago; where would you be personally, financially and professionally.

3 signs that poor nutrition is affecting your focus

Your ability to stay focused and be productive is a sign of wellbeing. If you recognise the tell-tale signs below, then it’s time to take stock and see how poor nutrition could be the reason for your lack of focus.

The three tell-tale signs that your nutrition is affecting your focus are:

  1. You run out of brain power to complete tasks.
  2. You put off goals that you know could have a huge impact on your business because you barely have enough energy to get through the day, let alone take on something else.
  3. You feel mental fatigue on a daily basis, which leads to procrastination and chopping and changing tasks (aka shiny object syndrome).

Poor diet choices

Foods rich in sugar or high-dose fructose (chocolate, soft drinks, junk foods, ice-cream, biscuits, etc.) create disruption to optimal brain function. The main source of fuel for the brain is glucose. If we consume too many sugars, it creates a blood glucose rollercoaster – ever felt a post-sugar crash?


According to Dr Daniel Amen, “​​Eating a high-fructose diet over the long term alters your brain’s ability to function and causes memory loss.”

Processed foods won’t do you any favours either. Ultra-processed foods are essentially anything in a packet that has gone through a level of processing – including pasta, bread or cereals. Processed foods rob the body of nutrition, like B-vitamins, that are essential for energy and stress relief.

Regular consumption of ultra-processed foods or fructose will lower your nutrient status.

What to eat when you’re lacking focus

Healthy salad lunch in jar on desk

Here are four main nutritional deficiencies that affect focus and how you can easily add them back into your diet.

Omega 3:

One of the most researched nutrients, and the ultimate brain food, is Omega 3. It’s been shown to be particularly effective for ADHD in children and adults.

Omega 3s protect the brain, support communication between cells and have been used extensively in mental health issues.

The modern western diet is low in Omega 3s, which is bad news for focus and concentration. They can be found in salmon, fatty fish, oysters, sardines, chia seeds, flaxseeds and walnuts.

B-vitamins:

B-vitamins are well known for increasing energy, focus and alertness. They are involved in everything from supporting brain chemistry to cellular energy. In other words, when you have adequate B-vitamins you’ll have more energy, resilience, and better concentration and memory.

You can find these in leafy greens, organ meats, meat, dairy, eggs, oats, green beans, potatoes, asparagus, cheese, spinach and avocado.

Vitamin D3:

Vitamin D3 is one of the most important nutrients to boost focus and concentration levels. It’s also one of the most common deficiencies, and is a deficiency of sun exposure.

Vitamin D3 has been shown to be critical for healthy nerve function (in the brain) and it’s important for everything from optimal mood to bone health.

You can increase your vitamin D levels by spending 20-30 mins in direct sunlight, or eating seafood like herring, sardines, salmon, tuna, oysters, or by taking a supplement.

Magnesium:

Another common deficiency for those who are chronically stressed or consume high fructose or ultra-processed foods regularly is magnesium.

This mineral has been shown to improve resilience to stress (thus improving focus), and improve energy and performance. Magnesium regulates glucose control – our brain fuel – and is important for long-term memory.

You can increase magnesium in your diet through almonds, cashews, dark chocolate, avocados, seeds and spinach.


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