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The Happiness Diet: 5 Food Habits That Can Reverse Depression and Actually Make You Happier

Did you know that just a few surprising dietary tweaks can boost your happiness, and help speed upBe Happy recovery from depression?

The number of people on antidepressants is startling.

And when you look at the stats, almost 25% of women and 15% of men in their 40s and 50s are on antidepressants.

Do you know what’s even scarier? Medicating (over-medicating) people for depression is also on the rise – by over 400% (SOURCE:)

So what’s going on here? Why is everyone so unhappy? [Read more…]


Food For The Brain

Food For The BrainHave you ever wondered why you experience a “food coma” after certain foods you eat? Have you ever felt really energized? Have you ever felt de-energised or sluggish an hour or so after treating yourself to a chocolate bar or something sweet like a soda drink? Have you noticed that sometimes caffeine has little or no effect on your state of mind at certain times during the day? [Read more…]


7 Foods That Can Help Boost Your Focus

We’ve all heard the saying ‘we are what we eat’. This rings true as much for our minds as it does for the rest of our body and vital organs. Here are 7 foods that can help boost your focus created by Amy Paturel for the Huffington Post. As far as I’m aware, through no fault of their own, very few people understand the importance of nutrition for our minds. If they did, they wouldn’t eat such cr*p! I’ve probably just alienated a few people but it’s a risk I’m willing to take. In fact, the majority of what we find in our supermarkets does not provide much quality nutrition at all. Check out this article to see an easy to read slideshow of foods that are great for our brains and therefore focus.

Brain FoodThe trick, says Patricia Bannan, M.S., R.D., author of Eat Right When Time is Tight, is fueling your body with foods that enhance focus, memory and concentration. Most of these gems are chock full of nutrients like fiber (which keeps you satisfied so you’re not thinking about hunger pangs) and essential fatty acids (which smooth connections in the brain).

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These 7 foods than can help boost your focus are congruent with my understanding of what our brain needs to function. Our brain needs essential fatty acids from foods such as avocados and and eggs. They’re called essential fatty acids as our body cannot produce them; we have to make a conscious effort to actually consume these daily. Fatty acids form the membranes surrounding brain cells, through which oxygen, glucose and antioxidants pass in and metabolic waste passes out. Our brain cells need them to produce brain cells. What wasn’t mentioned in these brain foods was complex carbohydrates to provide the brain with glucose – it’s key fuel. For more information on the right sorts of carbohydrates for our brain, see this article here.


Ways To Focus By Consuming Brain Foods

Very few people are aware of how our minds are affected by what we eat. Did you know that our brains weigh about 3 pounds, but they consume about 20 percent of your daily calories? These ways to focus by consuming brain foods are well worth a read if you’d like to make better choices about your diet in order to improve focus, concentration, and memory and also which foods to eat to help to prevent mental decline.

Ways To Focus By Consuming Brain Foods

Brain FoodConcentrate on these foods

Good concentration skills depend on a steady flow of messages between brain cells.  The first step in improving concentration and focus is by eating healthy food at regular intervals throughout the day.

The brain also needs myelin, a fatty substance that insulates the nerve fibers so signals can be more easily sent from one brain cell to another. These nerve fibers are like electrical wires in a well-oiled machine.

You can do your part by eating healthier and keeping the “machinery” of your brain in top shape.

A diet that includes myelin includes oily fish, walnuts, pumpkin and flax seeds. So don’t skip meals, pack snacks with seeds and nuts and you’re on your way to improving your concentration.

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Did anything surprise you from these ways to focus by consuming brain foods? A lot of this nutritional information has been featured on this site, but this was the first time I’ve read about Acetylcholine as being  the “messenger” – in that it keeps our brain cells on high alert for new information. It’s found in eggs, liver and soybeans. Other memory boosters include vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower – the cruciferous family.


Ways To Focus With Superfoods

We are what we eat, and that’s just as true for our brains as it is for the rest of our body and vital organs. Here are some ways to focus with superfoods from the Huggington Post. The Huffington Post actually called it Brain Food: Superfoods to improve cognitive function. There are a number of foods that have been proven to improve brain function, encourage focus and also to protect against age-related cognitive decline.  These include walnuts, olive oil, berries, sardines, coffee, spinach, avocados, water, wheat germ, beetroots, garlic, dark chocolate (yes really), and ice-cream (not really).

Ways To Focus With Superfoods

Superfoods For Your BrainBut before you dismiss the diet-brain connection as mere conjecture, keep in mind that study after study has found a relationship between what we put in our mouths and how well we can perform important thinking and memory tasks. While certain nutrients may specifically assist brain function, there is also the totality of our diets to consider. One recent U.K. study found that a diet high in saturated fat actually caused damage to neurons that control energy and appetite in mice. And several well-regarded studies have shown that meal timing is an important predictor of performance. For example, research shows that eating breakfast can improve the memory and acquisition skills of schoolchildren.

Click here to view the SlideShow on Huffington Post

Can you think of any more ways to focus with superfoods? This is a great list but not exhaustive  – there are additional foods including other types of nuts, whole oats (porridge), and other slow digesting carbohydrates, milk, yogurt and other dairy products. Again, there are plenty more that are featured on this site under the Food For Focus category.


Groundbreaking Research On New Focus Nutrient

Reports from Harvard University and the Brain Institute of Utah have revealed some groundbreaking research on new focus nutrient, citicoline, brand-named Cognizin®, and its effect on women. According to the research, healthy women who consumed 250mg a day of Cognizin® outperformed those who took a placebo pill on a measure of attentional performance and focus. They made significantly fewer errors and omission each task carried out. This excerpt from The San Fransisco Chronicle explains all.

Cognizin For Focus And AttentionDoes Cognizin® work? GoGungHo® Inc (makers of a focus/energy gel shot), believe it does. They made an agreement for the exclusive rights to distribute Cognizin®, at the proven effective dose of 250mg, within the energy/focus shots and drink category. And GungHo® is going GungHo. They recently broke launch records with the social media release of their product; University studentsgamers and women, love the “smooth focus”said Mason, co-founder. “We asked students what they wanted in an energy drink and they told us they actually wanted focus. Focus to game, study or work without the typical distracting buzz, jitters and crash. They also wanted the convenience of a gel shot with no sugar and all-natural ingredients.” GungHo has a patent-pending on their focus gel shot. “We combined the long-term impact on focus and memory provided by the Cognizin® with the immediate alertness of caffeine – far less than used in typical energy shots – and the smoothness of ashwaganda. Hence folks can get the energy and focus they want without the harsh jitters or crash.” Said Dr Dan Mowry.

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Quite why the groundbreaking research on new focus nutrient was performed only on women, we do not know.  However it does say that Cognizin® could by used by adults of all ages to help them improve their focus, attention and memory. I’m not an advocate for drugs to help with attention and focus but this appears to be a totally natural ingredient, so potentially groundbreaking results indeed. My belief is that all drugs will have some kind of side effect.  Drugs for, say, the treatment of ADHD are fairly new, so no one really knows the long-term effect. I understand that they’re working for kids with ADHD in schools (and adults), but it may just be, that they need something else to help them concentrate as Sir Ken Robinson points out (videos for which you’ll find in the ‘Videos’ section).


The Best Brain Foods For Your Child

If you’re a parent the chances are that you’ll have taken a vested interest in nutrition.  Here’s a recap of the best brain foods for your child which I highly recommend reading, even if you’re not a parent! We are what we eat after all and unless we educate ourselves, we may just be depriving our bodies and brains of key ingredients.

Brain Food For Your ChildMilk, Yoghurt and Other Dairy Products: Milk and other dairy products are a rich source of Protein, Calcium, Potassium and Vitamin D. All these essential nutrients are a key source to the development of neuromuscular system, neurotransmitters, enzymes and brain tissues. Children and people in the adolescent age group who are in the growing stage also require these nutrients.

All Kinds Of Berries: You might refer to strawberries, cherries, blueberries and blackberries as “Brainberries” as they provide almost all essential brain nutrients. They are an ample source of antioxidants and Vitamin C which help in reducing the oxidative stress. The seeds are a rich source omega-3 fatty acids, one of the most important constituents of the outer membrane of our brain cells.

Eggs and Nuts: Choline, another one of the essential elements for the development of memory stem cells is to be found in abundance in eggs. Nuts also have a fair proportion of this chemical. A Choline rich diet increases the production of memory stem cells in brain. It also minimizes fatigue and improves reaction time. Nuts and seeds are a rich source of Vitamin D. High levels of Vitamin D respond to a less cognitive decline.

Read the full article here

If you read the whole article on the best brain foods for your child you’ll see that salmon is mentioned again.  This is a common theme which for me is unfortunate as my lips swell to three times their normal size. Whilst this might be hilarious for others, it’s not a pleasant feeling. Previous posts on food for focus have advised that fish oil supplements should be taken for those who don’t like fish or who are allergic.  It was interesting to see whole grains mentioned here too. A lot of breakfast cereals that children love don’t include whole grains so what’s the best way to feed your child this key ingredient? Whole grain porridge is a winner with my nieces and nephews.  If you make it with milk and add brain berries that’s three out of these five brain foods covered in one fell swoop!


Eating High Fat Foods Causes Inflammation Of Your Brain

If you struggle to focus, it may just be down to your diet.  Not only are fatty foods detrimental to your vital organs and physique, but eating high fat causes inflammation of your brain.  Now I’m not talking about ‘good’ fats –  which your body requires to function, I refer to typical trans fats and fats that are often found in fast foods.  This is an insightful article by Sharon Kirkey for the health section of Canada.com.

Eating High Fat Foods Causes Inflammation Of Your Brain


Image From Julosstock http://www.jt-book.com/

When the researchers looked at the animals’ brains, they found higher levels of the stress hormone, corticosterone. They also saw changes in the expression of proteins that help control signalling between neurons in areas of the brain regulating emotions and reward.

Fulton said the type of fat might make a difference. Other research has shown that food high in saturated fat — such as hamburgers, bacon, pork sausages, cheese, butter, ice cream — cause inflammation throughout the body, including the brain, and that this inflammation may be causing changes that can lead to “negative mood states.” But Fulton’s lab has found some evidence that animals consuming the same total amount of fat, but “good fat, like olive oil,” experience less anxiety.

They also reported the following:

“In the short-term high-fat food feels comforting, but in the long-term, and with increasing adiposity (fat mass) it is having negative effects on mood.

“We know that diet is a large contributor to the obesity epidemic throughout the world,” Fulton added. Foods high in saturated fats and sugar are particularly abundant, she said.

In addition to obesity’s well-known associations with high blood pressure, cancer, and Type 2 diabetes, “we really need to consider mental disorders,” she said.

Lau, editor-in-chief of the Canadian Journal of Diabetes and chair of the diabetes and endocrine research group at U of Calgary, said the story is much more complex.

“We still don’t understand why obese people are more depressed — is it related to body image (or other issues)?” he asked.

Read the full article here

The fact that eating high fat foods causes inflammation of your brain and can lead to mental disorders does not surprise me in the slightest because I take a particular interest in nutrition. What does surprise me is the fact that they’re so readily available and that governments where there is a high proportion of obese people, do not take any action.  It doesn’t just surprise me, it infuriates me.   If everyone was required to be educated as to the effects of fast foods and fatty foods, and nutrition as a whole, maybe we could put an end to this obesity epidemic once and for all? Perhaps if fast foods weren’t so cheap and healthy goods weren’t so expensive, that my help too? Tax unhealthy foods and subsidise healthy foods? So obvious, yet will it happen?


Eat Fish And Focus!

You may have read on this site that fish is regarded as an excellent source of brain food.  If it’s an excellent source of brain food, then surely it’s ok to say ‘eat fish and focus?’ Here, Connie Diekman, for University City Patch, explains how it’s the Omega-3 fatty acid content of fish that is reported to be a key ingredient for our brains.

Fish For Focus, Brain FoodSeveral new studies have looked at the health of the brain, as well as memory and learning, and it seems inclusion of fish in your diet is an important component.

Studies have looked at fish intake and its impact on memory, learning and even mood. While the extent of research is still limited, studies do show that those who eat fish more often, many studies indicate at least once a week, have greater brain volume.

Researchers suggest that the impact of fish on the brain is related to the Omega-3 fatty acid content of the fish. Omega-3 fatty acids help increase blood flow, fight inflammation and prevent accumulation of plaque associated with Alzheimer’s.

Click here to view the original source of the article

If you’re allergic to fish (I can relate to that), then maybe it’s wise to ignore the advice to ‘eat fish and focus!’ You can take fish oil/ omega-3 supplements.  For those who are not allergic, it is recommended that you consume 2 portions of fish a week and the fish with highest omega-3 content are:

  • Arctic char — 139 mg/3 ounces
  • Herring — 181 mg/3 ounces
  • Mackerel — 102-157 mg/3 ounces (depends on origin)
  • Opah/Moonfish — 135 mg/3 ounces
  • Salmon — 110-120 mg/3 ounces (depends on origin)
  • Bluefin tuna — 128 mg/3 ounces

Brain Foods To Help You Focus

We all know that our brains need feeding for them to function properly. It’s important to eat the correct brain foods to help you focus, as the wrong types of food, may have an opposite effect.  Here are a few natural tips for boosting your ability to focus.

Eat breakfast

It turns out that breakfast is one, if not the most, important meals of the day.
Studies have shown that students who eat breakfast perform significantly better than students who do not.
Researchers have found that dairy, fruits and high-fiber whole grains are the best for concentration.
So, make sure to think twice before skipping breakfast.


Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for proper brain growth and function.
Incorporating it into your diet has been linked with lowering dementia and increasing memory overtime.
Popular foods that contain omega-3s are fish, seeds and nuts.
Always strive for a balanced diet that is filled with a variety of different food groups.

Click here to view the original source of the article

When I first read that drinking caffeine was one of the brain foods to help you focus, and late at night, I thought this was rather controversial. I therefore was not going to include this article, even though it’s exactly what I used to do when I was studying at university late at night, as late at night was my effective time.  Caffeine is great earlier on in the day, but it can obviously affect your sleep, which in turn will affect your ability to focus the next day.  I’d therefore take the caffeine suggestion with a pinch of salt, and if you do drink caffeine, then green tea is the broccoli of teas in my opinion.  (I say broccoli, as broccoli is a well known super food.)