9 brain foods that will improve your focus and concentration

Takeaway: To boost your ability to focus, eat/drink more: Blueberries, green tea, avocados, leafy green vegetables, fatty fish, water, dark chocolate, flax seeds, and nuts.

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes, 46s. But it’s very skimmable.


Food is the fuel that regulates your energy and mood, both of which can significantly affect your focus. Just as you shouldn’t put olive oil into your car to make it run, you shouldn’t put chocolate syrup into your body to make you run.1 Food has the incredible ability to affect your mental clarity, mood, memory, and ability to focus, so if you’re looking to boost your focus, one of the places you should start with is what you’re eating. Below are 9 foods that will help you improve your focus.

green tea1


Studies show that blueberries boost “concentration and memory” for up to five hours because “the antioxidants in blueberries stimulate the flow of blood and oxygen to [your] brain – and keep the mind fresh”.2 Blueberries also contain a “cocktail of anti-oxidants including anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins, resveratrol and tannins”, and while I’m not going to even pretend I know what those are, they have been shown to boost focus, and even protect against cancer, heart disease, and dimensia.3


Green tea

Green tea helps you focus for two reasons: one, it contains caffeine, and two, it contains l’theanine. There is no doubt that caffeine helps you focus and improves your alertness. Good. That’s covered. Well, what the hell is l’theanine? It’s an ingredient that’s been shown to “increase alpha-wave activity”, which increases tranquility and releases caffeine more slowly, instead of all at once, which can lead to you crashing.4 The two ingredients also combine to “produce a better ability to focus attention, with improvement of both speed and accuracy”.5 If you’re able to handle the caffeine content, introducing green tea into your diet is pretty much a no-brainer.



According to WebMD, “every organ in the body depends on blood flow, especially the heart and brain”, and avocados “[enhance] blood flow, offering a simple, tasty way to fire up brain cells”.6 Avocados are also “loaded with fiber (11 to 17 grams per avocado), which helps keep hunger pangs at bay”.7

4Leafy green vegetables

Leafy green vegetables are full of antioxidants and carotenoids, which boost your brain power, and help protect your brain.8 (A good, general tip: the greener a leaf vegetable is, the better.) Leafy green vegetables are also full of B-vitamins, which are “proven to help your memory, focus, and overall brain health and power”. They also contain folic acid, which improves your mental clarity.9


Screen Shot 2013-06-04 at 12.57.39 PM

5Fatty fish

Fatty/oily fish contains omega-3 fatty acids which “aid memory, mental performance and behavioral function”. People who are deficient in omega-3’s are more likely to have “poor memory, mood swings, depression and fatigue”.10 Fish has also been proven to improve your concentration and mood. The main sources of fatty fish are “salmon, trout, mackerel, herring, sardines, pilchards and kipper”.11


If you want to improve your focus, you need to drink enough water. Water “gives the brain the electrical energy for all brain functions, including thought and memory processes”, and it has been proven to help you “think faster, be more focused, and experience greater clarity and creativity”.12 Every single function of your body depends on water, so it is critically important that you get enough of it.

7Screen Shot 2013-06-04 at 1.02.19 PMDark chocolate

Dark chocolate (dark chocolate, not the sugary, milky kind) can help you focus for a number of reasons. First, it contains a small amount of caffeine, which has been proven to heighten mental alertness. Dark chocolate contains magnesium, which helps you de-stress, and it also stimulates the release of endorphins and serotonin, which make you feel good and heighten your mood. This doesn’t mean you should eat a huge brick of chocolate every day, like the delicious-looking one on the right, but it does mean that dark chocolate in smaller doses can significantly boost your focus.13

8Flax seeds

Like a few of the foods listed already, flax seeds are high in magnesium, B-vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, and fiber, all of which aid with mental clarity, weight loss, and ultimately, focus.14 Flax is no doubt a super food. Just make sure you grind them after you buy them (so your body can digest them). Unlike the other items on this list, flax seeds can’t be eaten alone, but they’re great sprinkled on cereal, yogurt, oatmeal, salad, and more.



Nuts are great for your body in the long-term. “Nuts and seeds are good sources of the antioxidant vitamin E, which is associated with less cognitive decline as you age”, and you just need an ounce of them a day to get this benefit. They’re also rich with essential oils and amino acids that aid your focus.15

This post is a part of (the wonderful) Focus Week on A Year of Productivity.

  1. http://www.healthyrecipeoftheweek.com/The-Purpose-Of-Food-Nutrition.html 

  2. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1212579/A-bowl-blueberries-day-keeps-brain-active-afternoon.html 

  3. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1212579/A-bowl-blueberries-day-keeps-brain-active-afternoon.html 

  4. http://www.tching.com/2012/03/green-tea-helps-you-focus/ 

  5. http://www.tching.com/2012/03/green-tea-helps-you-focus/ 

  6. http://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/slideshow-brain-foods-that-help-you-concentrate 

  7. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/women-co/foods-for-focus_b_3346875.html 

  8. http://healthyyounow.com/home/2013/03/four-foods-that-help-your-focus/ 

  9. http://excelle.monster.com/benefits/articles/4601-5-foods-to-eat-before-your-interview?page=4 

  10. http://www.livestrong.com/article/499923-fish-oil-concentration/ 

  11. http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/content/wellbeing/features/boost-brainpower/1/ 

  12. http://www.waterbenefitshealth.com/water-and-brain.html 

  13. http://www.ahwatukee.com/community_focus/article_db22d25e-8b66-11e2-a666-001a4bcf887a.html 

  14. http://lowcarbdiets.about.com/od/whattoeat/a/flaxinfo.htm 

  15. http://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/slideshow-brain-foods-that-help-you-concentrate 

  • Jada Wooten

    Well Enlightening!!

  • Jada Wooten

    Well Enlightening!!

  • Thanks for this. :) I get to eat nice things and become more productive.

  • Thanks for this. :) I get to eat nice things and become more productive.

  • Ayaka

    Oops. Kinda ate toblerone.

  • Ayaka

    Oops. Kinda ate toblerone.

  • power star pawankalyan


  • Vulfious

    Also when drinking green tea substitute sugar with honey. It metabolises better and has other health/ nutritional benefits.

  • oopsyIdroppedtheball

    I was wondering if you could tell me if a woman by the name of Natasha Sandhu contacted you to apologize for copying this article and putting it out as her own on PokerTube? I’ve been more than a little put off by her attitude and was complaining/protesting because I had been given to understand that she had excused her behaviour (it wasn’t just your article or once) by making out that she didn’t understand that it was wrong to do what she did. When she was pressured, she claimed “… I apologised to everyone and all people involved…” and also said she did an interview about the issue of her plagiarizing other people’s work, but as of yet I’ve had no luck finding it. I’m still looking though. I’m happy to give you more information, but I want to know if what she is saying is the truth because I can’t find any evidence to support her claims as of yet.
    I don’t do twitter or I’d contact you that way and I’m also not in a position to get to my phone to sign up for quite some time because I left it behind on purpose. I’m going to submit an email to you under the name of Karen, but I’m not sure if that is of any use or just automated, or if you get twenty Karens a minute for that matter. Otherwise I’ll look for a post here and hopefully you can help me with this matter. Thank-you very much for your time.

  • Pavel Senatorov

    I use every day:
    – soy oil instead of fatty oily fish: I get exactly the good oil wo additives.
    – basic sport nutrition: BCAA 2:1:1 + glutamine + glutamic acid + sometimes soy protein
    – extra sport nutrition: creatine + beta alanin – looks like both help to think better, while no direct evidence found
    – lysine + taurine + vitamin C + tablet of vitamins+minerals + acetil L carnitine
    – use KCl instead of NaCl always: K ions are inside the body cells, and Na ions are mostly outside. Of course some NaCl also goes inside with food that was prepared by others.
    – cocoa powder with drinks: instead of dark chocolate. Thus no auto caffeine. If I want caffeine then I add instant coffee.

  • Brainier You

    Interesting read. I’ve been an avid researcher on brain health and it’s absolutely possible to improve brain function using food therapy. Here’s an additional list http://www.brainieryou.com/brain-food.html

  • Rose Willey

    Thanks for sharing, I like the content a lot.

Pin It on Pinterest

Emails suck. My newsletter doesn't.

After you sign up, I'll send you a few brand new productivity posts every Monday morning.

Join 200,000 monthly readers and never miss a single thing!

You can unsubscribe at any time, and I won't do anything slimy with your email. There are no catches.