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Most everyone knows a great cup of coffee will give you a mental boost, but what about certain foods? While I’m not giving up my cup of Joe (and you don’t have to either), there are other foods besides coffee to improve your focus. We all know we feel so much better with a good meal in our bodies, but when it comes to knowing what foods give us the most focus power each day, things get a bit hazy.

With so many sugar-filled, processed food breakfast options, morning meals can become less than healthy to say the least. Then, there’s lunch to think about. Sandwiches may seem like a healthy option (and they can be if they have great ingredients) but too many starchy carbs can leave you sleepy mid-day instead of alert and awake. It’s much better to eat your complex carbs earlier in the day and keep lunch protein-based to optimize your mental focus. Mental focus is usually desired the most in the morning and afternoon hours, so adding in natural foods to improve your focus during these times is a great way to maximize your diet and brain power all in one.

Aside from protein, however, there are some other foods you can add to your day that require little effort and they go perfectly with your meals. See if you can fit in all these foods this week and you’ll surely feel the difference, no caffeine needed. 

1. Spirulina

Spirulina is an amazing gift from nature in so many ways. Due to its Vitamin B12, protein, and iron content, spirulina is one of the best focus foods you can eat. It helps to optimize your mood, relieve stress and tension, assist in healthy digestion so you stay energized, and improve mental clarity. Add a teaspoon to a morning smoothie with some cacao, spinach, almond butter, and blueberries. You’ll never taste it – promise!

2. Cacao

The “food of the gods” is another mental food you should enjoy plenty of. Adding a couple tablespoons of cacao powder to your day is a great way to improve your mood and mental focus all in one. Raw cacao powder actually has very little caffeine, though processed chocolate is pretty high in caffeine. Cacao is also the highest source of magnesium of all foods, which makes it great to fight those morning nerves we all have. Cacao is also high in sulfur, which keeps your skin and liver in great shape, and it’s a good source of fiber and iron. Plus, you get to eat chocolate as brain food- what else can you ask for? Okay, if you need another reason, it’s also high in chromium, a mineral that helps improve your blood sugar and mental focus, along with ward off fatigue and diabetes. Check out these 20 Superfood Vegan Recipes Made With Raw Cacao.

3. Almonds

Feeling sluggish mid-morning or mid-day? Have a few raw almonds and you’ll feel much better. Almonds are rich in magnesium, which improves mental focus, reduces stress, and aids in healthy nervous system function. Almonds are also high in fiber, they help lower your blood sugar, and they’re high in protein and B vitamins. Not a fan of raw almonds? Make your own almond-based recipes instead!

4. Hemp Seeds

Hemp seeds are one of the best sources of vegan protein out there, not to mention they’re a fabulous source of omega 3 fats, iron, B vitamins, and magnesium. Hemp seeds can help improve your mood, which will in turn improve your focus. They’re also so easy to add to anything, whether it be a smoothie, vegan yogurt, oatmeal, quinoa, or whatever else you enjoy.

5. Maca

This superfood is usually linked to energy and hormones, but maca is also fantastic for mental focus. Maca can help reduce stress and fatigue, which both get in the way of your focus abilities. It’s also a wonderful source of amino acids (protein) which improves blood flow to the brain, reduces stress, and wards off low blood sugar. Nix that second or third cup of coffee and have a maca latte or a morning maca smoothie instead.

6. Bananas

Though bananas are high in sugar, they’re also great for mental focus and energy. So long as you eat mostly yellow bananas, they’re actually lower in sugar than fruits like apples and pineapple. Bananas are also rich in Vitamin B6, magnesium, fiber, Vitamin C, potassium, and water. Their carbohydrate and B vitamin content will help give you plenty of energy without causing you to crash later on in the day like refined breads or sugary dried fruit can. Have a banana with a handful of almonds for a snack mid-day and you’ll feel refreshed and ready to go!

7. Leafy Greens

Leafy greens like kale, spinach, romaine, collards and Swiss chard are all some of the best foods for mental focus of all. Greens are packed with magnesium, iron, B vitamins, protein, fiber, and chlorophyll. Their complete nutrient profile will give you a greater sense of calm and they’ll help ensure you feel grounded and focus instead of jittery and wired like caffeine can make you feel. Due to their unique nutritional profile, leafy greens fight stress, headaches, sluggishness, and depression all in one. Have some in a smoothie, a salad, or in a healthy wrap. 

Other great mental focus foods include: most all veggies, chickpeas (or hummus), peanuts and peanut butter, oatmeal, and quinoa. Try having more of these and keep the coffee to just one cup first thing in the day.

What’s your favorite food to eat for mental focus?

Image source: Raw Vegan Almond Fig Bars

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