10 Natural Ways to Stay Focused and Sharp

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There are many natural ways to stay focused and sharp. From alternative therapies to herbal remedies, these natural approaches can help boost your productivity, protect your brain health as you age, and improve your overall wellbeing.

Nutrition to Stay Focused

Getting your fill of certain types of foods may help you stay focused and sharp.

Fish and Flaxseed

Flaxseed and oily fish like salmon and sardines are high in omega-3 fatty acids, a type of essential fatty acid that plays a key role in preserving brain health. A report published in Advances in Nutrition in 2013, for example, indicates that omega-3 fatty acids may help fight aging-related impairment in brain function. What's more, some research shows that omega-3 fatty acids may help improve attention.

In a study published in Neuropsychopharmacology in 2015, omega-3 supplementation was found to reduce symptoms of inattention in children.

Antioxidant-Rich Foods

Antioxidant nutrients may offer some protection against an aging-related decline in cognition (i.e., the set of mental abilities associated with processes like attention, memory, and problem-solving), according to a research review published in the European Journal of Nutrition in 2013. Looking at 10 previously published studies, the review's authors found some evidence that antioxidant nutrients such as vitamin C and vitamin E may help slow the rate of cognitive decline.

Green Tea

A rat-based study published in Brain and Cognition in 2008 suggests that green tea consumption may enhance learning and memory. Furthermore, a pilot study published in the journal Nutrients in 2014 found that daily green tea intake helped improve cognitive function in a small group of older adults.

Natural Remedies for Brain Health

A number of herbal remedies show promise as a natural approach to staying focused and sharp. Here's a look at the science behind two of those remedies.

Curcumin

Sourced from the herb turmeric, curcumin has been found to enhance cognitive function in some preliminary research. Additionally, a preliminary study published in the International Journal of Biochemistry and Biophysics in 2015 determined that curcumin may increase brain levels of docosahexaenoic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid found to have beneficial effects on cognitive function).

Rosemary

Daily intake of the herb rosemary may boost cognitive performance and sharpen memory in older adults, according to a small study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food in 2012.

Lifestyle Practices for Better Concentration

Lifestyle behaviors can also help you stay focused and sharp.

Getting Sufficient Sleep

A great deal of research has shown that sleep deprivation can have a profoundly negative impact on cognitive function, including damaging effects on focus and memory.

Exercising

A study published in Neurology in 2010 suggests that walking at least six miles per week may preserve memory in older adults. The study also found that regular exercise helped fight aging-related shrinkage in brain size.

Managing Your Stress

Like skimping on sleep, letting your everyday stress go unchecked can greatly impair cognitive function. To stay focused and sharp, it's crucial to take everyday steps to lower your stress levels.

Mind-Body Techniques for Greater Focus

Not only helpful in relieving stress, but the following mind-body techniques may also help you stay focused and sharp.

Meditation

In a study of 40 undergraduate students (published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America in 2007), researchers observed that five days of 20-minute meditation training helped improve attention, as well as lower anxiety, fatigue, anger, and depression.

Tai Chi

Published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine in 2015, a review of nine previously published studies shows that taking up tai chi may help improve attention, memory, and other measures of cognitive ability in healthy adults.​

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