If you find yourself low on energy in the afternoon, what kind of snack do you reach for? Many of us might opt for a chocolate bar or a fizzy drink, thinking that a quick hit of sugar will help us wake up and take on the rest of the day. Recent research, however, shows that we might actually be making the wrong decision when it comes to energy-boosting snacks.
While sugar can be useful when we need quick fuel to burn, it might actually make it more difficult for us to focus and learn new things. Picking up a chocolate bar in the middle of the day might help you feel more wide awake, but when it comes time to settle down and work you may well find yourself unable to focus.
So what should we be snacking on instead? When it comes to promoting focus and concentration, it turns out the answer is nuts. The key element is omega-3 fatty acid, which can be found in most varieties of nuts, and is particularly abundant in walnuts.
As well as helping fight heart disease and stroke (along with a whole host of other health benefits) this essential acid has been linked with increased concentration and brain function. The link between omega-3 fatty acid and brain health is so prominent, in fact, that some schools in the UK even tried providing kids with a daily dose of it in the form of fish oil tablets!
The results were dramatic, with teachers reporting "significant improvements" in concentration and learning across the full range of subjects. With an increase in omega-3 fatty acids came a noticeable improvement in concentration levels, and a subsequent increase in learning ability.
Of course, if you find yourself flagging in the middle of the day, you don't have to resort to a spoonful of fish oil in order to get your focus back. Instead, try a handful of nuts (much tastier, and more filling too, we think - plus they're much easier to carry around with you).
If you really want to build your focus, walnuts are the nut of choice. Although almost all nuts contain at least an element of omega-3, walnuts are by far the richest. Brazil nuts, cashew nuts, hazelnuts and peanuts are also great choices - you could even mix them all together for a tasty and varied snack.
Although a handful of nuts is perfect, any amount should be a treat for your brain - and could be surprisingly helpful when it comes to knuckling down and focussing for the rest of the day. Why not try it, and see what it does for your concentration levels?
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