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What Is Neuroplasticity? How Can Neuroplasticity Eliminate Brain Fog?Why Should You Get Rid of Brain Fog? What Factors Can Boost Neuroplasticity?What Factors Can Curb Neuroplasticity?Brain-Recovery Foods: How Crucial Is Nutrition in Overcoming Brain Fog?What Are the Best Brain Fog Foods to Kickstart Plasticity and Help Your Neurons Bounce Back?Conclusion

Fatigue, tension and inflammation can produce brain fog. If you don’t do something about it, it can become a way of life and gradually lead to cognitive decline. Fortunately, your brain can reprogram itself and ward off brain fog symptoms by a unique ability called “neuroplasticity.”

“Brain fog foods” are healthy eats that can promote brain plasticity. The right combination of nutrients unleashes powerful substances that can help you regain your mental focus.

In this article, we explain what neuroplasticity is, its triggers and suppressors, and how it can help reinvigorate your mind. We also talk about the best brain-recovery foods that can help bring you back to peak mental performance.

What Is Neuroplasticity?

Neuroplasticity is your brain's ability to rewire. It is part of normal growth and is shaped by your experiences. Neuroplastic changes occur both at the structural and functional levels.

At the structural level, neuroplasticity involves the following brain cell parts:

neurons synapses

1  Nucleus

It houses the DNA, which contains nature's instructions for making new neurons and signaling molecules. RNA is also found in it, aiding in DNA code translation.

2  Cell body

The structures here perform various functions, like food digestion, energy generation, neurotransmitter production, etc. Proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids abound in the cell body.

3  Axon

It extends from the cell body, transmitting signals to other neurons. Its membrane is high in omega-3s, which accelerate neural communication. Myelin, a choline-rich fatty covering, wraps around the axon to further boost signaling.

4  Dendrites

Dendrites are cell body extensions that receive signals from other neurons.

5  Synapse

A synapse connects one neuron to another. Most neuron-to-neuron signaling occurs here.

At the functional level, neuroplasticity involves the following processes:

1  Neurogenesis— the growth of new neurons.

2  Synaptogenesis— the formation of new neural connections. It is a straightforward process when only intact neurons are involved. When damaged nerve cells are present, synaptic connections are built around them.

3  Long-term potentiation (LTP)— the strengthening of repeatedly used synapses, making them more efficient at signaling.

4  Long-term depression (LTD)— when synaptic signaling weakens and slows down. It usually comes before synaptic pruning.

5  Synaptic pruning— the removal of unused synapses. It helps speed up the signals in neural networks that are used often.

Neuroplasticity is either adaptive or maladaptive, depending on the neural pathways you habitually use when responding to stress. Activating brain pathways that enable you to cope well leads to adaptive neuroplasticity. It sharpens your cognitive function, balances your mood and keeps you motivated. But letting the stress get to you can give you maladaptive neuroplasticity, leading to persistent brain fog, depression, anxiety and loss of motivation.

How Can Neuroplasticity Eliminate Brain Fog?

As in other body cells, balance inside every neuron is important. When an imbalance sets in the adult brain, restoration occurs but only to a limited extent. Unlike sunburned skin, which renews easily, it takes a while for neurons to overcome an imbalance because:

  • Unlike the skin, the brain has much fewer self-renewing cells. Self-renewing neurons in the human brain are located only in the hippocampus, olfactory nerves and inner brain cavities.
  • Mature brain cells have more complex structures than skin cells. Misfiring or severed axons and dendrites may regenerate, but it does not always readily occur.
  • Self-renewing cells can migrate to inflamed areas, but pro-inflammatory molecules kill them before reaching their destination.

“Neuroplastic changes can clear brain fog as they involve more than just cell regrowth. Moving the synapses around also improves brain function by creating new neural circuits. However, the speed of this process also depends on the number of intact neurons involved and how they are used.”

Why Should You Get Rid of Brain Fog?

Brain fog can keep you from successfully pursuing your goals, whether at home, work or school. You don’t get a lot of chances crushing a certification exam, getting a promotion or outwitting a chess grandmaster. What’s more, brain fog can be a symptom of a brewing mental health issue like Alzheimer’s disease or depression. So you should at least consult your doctor about it if it persists.

For brain fatigue caused by everyday stress, natural fixes can safely bring back your mental focus. They can help keep your neurons healthy until well into your golden years.

What Factors Can Boost Neuroplasticity?

The main promoter of brain plasticity is brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which affects all parts of the nerve cell. It is most abundant in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex. The factors that increase BDNF levels act by one or a combination of the following mechanisms:

Brain Stimulation

Neuronal excitation enhances BDNF, leading to synaptogenesis and LTP. Activities that can excite the neurons include brain exercises, physical activity, social interaction, etc.

Decreased Blood Sugar

Fasting exposes your brain to acute stress, which also boosts BDNF levels. Other activities that can lead to the peak ketotic state, like sleep, exercise, and the ketogenic diet, may also enhance BDNF release. 

decreased blood sugar

Stress Reduction

Chronic stress leads to the buildup of stress hormones in the body. It decreases BDNF levels and presents as cognitive impairment, depression and demotivation. Stress management by sleep, meditation, breathing exercises, etc. can push BDNF levels back to normal.

Brain Nourishment

Research shows that some heart-healthy eats also directly benefit the brain. Proper nutrition is good for overall health, but your neurons need "brain-healthy nutrients" to protect them from chronic inflammation and early decline.

Increasing BDNF levels enhances brain health and leads to adaptive neuroplasticity. Both manifest clinically as hippocampal enlargement, cognitive improvement, mood balance and overall satisfaction with life . So if you want to rev up your weary neurons, boosting your BDNF may help.


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What Factors Can Curb Neuroplasticity?

Exposures that can reduce neuroplasticity or produce maladaptive patterns include:

Poor Lifestyle

Chronic fatigue, emotional tension and lack of sleep all lead to chronic stress. Alcohol, smoking and bad dietary choices fry your neurons with toxins. Physical inactivity and too much screen time leave your brain unchallenged. All these can lower your BDNF levels.

Environmental Pollution

Modern life has created many conveniences but has also damaged the environment. Pollutants can also poison your neurons, producing a wide range of symptoms—from subtle ones like forgetfulness to severe ones like unconsciousness.


Sickness can reduce neuroplasticity in various ways. Severe disease can produce symptoms of brain fog. They can go away or improve by combining medical care with rehabilitative therapy and good nutrition. 

These factors impair your neurons by inhibiting BDNF secretion, causing direct injury or both. Addressing them early limits the damage and maximizes the benefits of neuroplasticity.


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Brain-Recovery Foods: How Crucial Is Nutrition in Overcoming Brain Fog?

Nutrition directly impacts mental and athletic performance.

For instance, nutritional deficiencies can damage the neurons, causing mental fatigue, weak senses, movement difficulties, etc. Doctors correct the deficit by vitamin or mineral supplementation. People can regain mental clarity and go back to their usual after medical therapy and rehabilitation.

In cases where a nutrient deficiency is not the cause of brain fog, good nutrition always complements medical treatment. A brain-healthy diet helps restore the neurons by the following mechanisms:

  • It maintains structures and replenishes used-up nutrients.
  • It provides energy to power up the brain.
  • It protects from further injury.
  • It maintains proper function.
  • It enhances neuroplasticity. Not all food types are rich in nutrients that can boost this ability.

Some nutrients are known to promote brain health and plasticity by stimulating BDNF secretion and other mechanisms. They include:

1  Alpha-glycerophosphocholine (Alpha-GPC)

the easily-absorbed form of choline. Choline does more than maintain the myelin sheath. It is also crucial to brain fat metabolism and is an important ingredient of acetylcholine, the memory neurotransmitter.

2  Curcumin

protects the brain from toxins and infection. It reduces LTD in vital neural networks, like those involved in learning and memory. It also helps prevent Alzheimer’s disease by delaying the formation of tau proteins.

3  Omega-3 fatty acids

have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. DHA, in particular, primes synapses for development.

4  Trans-resveratrol

optimizes cerebral blood flow, neutralizes oxidative stress and combats inflammation. It also reduces tau protein formation and the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

5  Uridine

a building block of nucleic acids and is essential in neurogenesis, immunity and energy production.

6  Vitamin C

necessary for making neurotransmitters that enhance mental focus and motivation. Vitamin C bolsters your brain's immunity, protects it from oxidative stress and increases important synaptic proteins.

These nutrients' actions make them important neuroplasticity inducers. So if you want to recharge your brain, don't choose just any food. Choose brain fog foods and get a good helping of these vitamins.

What Are the Best Brain Fog Foods to Kickstart Plasticity and Help Your Neurons Bounce Back?

The MIND diet has been proven to enhance adaptive neuroplasticity and prevent cognitive decline.

"MIND" stands for "Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay."

"DASH" stands for "Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension."

The MIND diet includes the following food groups:

1  Uridine-rich dark green vegetables, such as broccoli. You need at least 6 servings a week.

2  Other vegetables. They include curcumin-rich turmeric root, but you need different types every day to optimize this group's benefits. Have at least 1 serving daily.

3  Nuts, particularly walnuts, which have high omega-3 fatty acid content. You need at least 5 servings a week.

4  Berries, such as blueberries and strawberries, which are good sources of trans-resveratrol and vitamin C. You need at least 2 servings weekly.

5  Beans, which are rich in fiber and protein. Soybeans are particularly rich in omega-3 fatty acids. You need at least 3 servings a week of a variety of beans.

6  Whole grains, which are healthy energy sources. You need at least 3 servings daily.

7  Fish, which is a good protein source. Small fatty fish are high in omega-3s but have low mercury content. You need 1 serving a week.

8  Poultry, which includes eggs and skinless poultry meat. Eggs have high levels of alpha-GPC, while lean poultry meat is a good protein source. You need 2 servings weekly.

9  Olive oil, which has healthy fats that protect the heart and the brain's blood supply. You can use it regularly for cooking.


You must likewise limit your intake of the following:

1   Pastries and sweets, which raise your blood sugar levels and diabetes mellitus risk. Diabetes mellitus damages neurons. Take no more than 5 servings of these foods a week.

2   Red meat, butter, margarine, and cheese, which contain high amounts of unhealthy fats. They are also often served salty, which means that they may also be high in sodium. All of them can increase your risk for heart disease and stroke. Take only up to 4 servings of red meat weekly. Butter and margarine should be limited to 1 tablespoon daily. Have cheese no more than once a week.

3  Fast food contains high amounts of sugar, unhealthy fats and sodium. Have no more than 1 serving a week.

4  Healthy people on the MIND diet may include one serving of red wine daily if they choose, but it is not mandatory. This drink is made from grapes, which are rich in trans-resveratrol. However, it also contains alcohol, which can worsen mental fuzziness or any illness. It is best not to take it when you have a medical condition. You may get your dose of trans-resveratrol from a safer source.

Experts agree that the MIND diet's success is more from the combined effects of multiple brain-healthy nutrients and not just one. Therefore, to jumpstart neuroplasticity and regain your mental focus, you need to make sure that you're getting these food groups in the recommended amounts.

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Neuroplasticity is the brain's main mechanism for restoring itself and getting rid of brain fog. It has adaptive and maladaptive forms. Neuroplasticity is activated by BDNF, a growth factor that increases with acute stress and decreases with chronic stress.

Good nutrition also raises BDNF levels. The MIND diet is a nutritional strategy proven to enhance adaptive neuroplasticity, improve brain health and protect from cognitive decline. Experts agree that its effectiveness lies in the synergy between different BDNF enhancers and not just one. Doctor-formulated Brain Assist is the total neuroplasticity supplement that has them all.

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How to Help Your Child’s Mental Focus: a Comprehensive, Expert Guide


What Parts of Kids’ Brains Are Concerned with Mental Focus? Nature vs. Nurture: Are All Kids Born with the Same Ability to Focus?What Causes Lack of Concentration Among Children? Non-Modifiable Factors How Can You Help Improve Your Child’s Concentration and Mental Performance?Conclusion

Mental focus is crucial to a child’s personal development and long-term success. Children with good concentration generally do better in school, have high self-esteem and are motivated to accomplish their goals. Meanwhile, easily distracted kids experience the opposite, with each negative encounter causing a domino effect on all aspects of their growth.

Inattention is common among young people, but when it starts to hurt their academic performance, self-confidence, and personal relationships, it becomes a cause for concern. Your child is born with unique gifts, and it’s only natural to want to help them unleash their hidden genius. In this article, we discuss the many factors that can distract kids and what various field experts recommend to enhance their focus and mental performance.

What Parts of Kids’ Brains Are Concerned with Mental Focus?

Children are born with billions of brain cells connected by trillions of synapses. Different regions of the brain help your child focus, and they work in synergy.

For example, a toddler’s perception of hunger and sighting of food engage different neural pathways. To respond to hunger pangs, another neural network motivates the child to take action and continue until they are fed.

As in adults, children’s mental focus is the result of the combined actions of different brain parts, particularly the following:

1  Reticular activating system (RAS)

A collection of brainstem nerves involved in wakefulness and sleep.

2  Hippocampus

The seat of memory and learning. 

3  Sensory processing centers

Cerebral regions that analyze and make sense of what a person perceives from the environment. They include cognitive networks for calculation, language, and logic, as well as emotional processing centers

4  Frontal and prefrontal lobes

The seats of attention, decision-making, motivation, cognition, planning, judgment, morality and impulse control. The prefrontal lobe completes its development in adulthood, well after most other brain regions have finished theirs.

5  Astrocytes

Non-nervous cells that support the neurons’ nutrition and growth. They are critical to neuroplasticity and adaptation.

Adults are taught by experience to ignore various external stimuli and control their urges. Their ability to concentrate mostly depends on the activity of the above parts, which are largely affected by lifestyle choices.

By comparison:

“Children’s brains have not had enough practice to allow for significant pruning, habitualization, and adaptation, so they are more prone to environmental distractions on top of internal ones. In addition to the above regions, their sensory nerve pathways—sight, hearing, touch, smell, taste and position sense—greatly influence their mental focus.”

Nature vs. Nurture: Are All Kids Born with the Same Ability to Focus?

Some children are more proactive in pursuing their goals, whereas others are more laid back. Some “are not the forgiving type,” while others easily forget they were ever angry. Some are more adventurous, while others are overcautious.

These are all explained by differences in temperament, the inclination to behave a certain way in response to a stimulus.

In the 1970s, child psychiatrists Thomas and Chess theorized that kids were born temperamentally diverse, having different moods, thresholds of responsiveness, distractibility, persistence levels, etc. They believed that the combination of these traits determined a child’s goodness of fit into their environment.

“Kids are not born with the same ability to concentrate or filter their thoughts.”

Angry children who keep getting into fights and struggling academically will continue to resort to the same defense mechanisms without intervention.

“However, the brain’s plasticity makes it possible to optimize mental performance by training, therapy and other tools.”

Modern science and patient guidance have helped countless children turn their Ds and Fs into straight-A performances.

If your child seems to have learning and emotional difficulties, you need to find out how to help them focus better. The sooner you do this, the sooner they can overcome developmental barriers.

What Causes Lack of Concentration Among Children?

Children who have focus problems tend to be shy, demotivated, indecisive and full of self-doubt. They can pick up on their parents’ frustration and build negative perceptions of themselves. Additionally, labeling from other children, teachers or parents can make them too discouraged to try again, which often results in withdrawal or aggression. All of these can make it more difficult to unlock their abilities.

Does this sound familiar?

If your child or a friend’s has difficulty concentrating or paying attention, doctors recommend looking into the following possibilities:

Modifiable Factors

These are the more common reasons for poor focus and mental performance in children. A large majority are easy to correct, and thus, have a good prognosis.

1  Surroundings Full of Distractions

Examine your child’s learning environment. Extra stimulation of their senses can make them lose focus easily. At school, they could be seated next to classmates who would rather talk than listen to their teachers. At home, wall decorations, loud noises, strewn-out toys, TV and others could divert their attention from doing their homework.

2  Lack of Good Sleep

Not getting enough sleep tires out the RAS and can make kids too drowsy to pay attention. Check for things that make it difficult for them to fall asleep at the right hours or get good sleep quality. Late-night horror shows and electronic gadget use, midnight noises, bed bugs, uncomfortable cots, etc. are common examples.

3  Finds No Motivation in School

Our educational system recommends the same learning courses for kids. However, as we mentioned previously, children are born with different gifts and temperaments. Lack of interest can mask true intelligence, and it may be because kids find schoolwork too difficult or easy.

Tasks that are too difficult can demotivate young, inexperienced people. Meanwhile, too easy assignments can also bore them. You’ll never know the difference unless you sit with your child and investigate. Either way, lack of interest can result in poor focus and fund of knowledge.

4  Inactivity-Induced Brain Fog

Take a break and get your child moving. Exercise raises levels of oxygen, nutrients and the neuronal growth factor BDNF in the brain. All of these substances stimulate growth and synaptic formation in regions critical to learning, concentration and emotional balance. Sedentariness deprives your child of the mental benefits of physical activity. The right brain fog foods can help!

5  Poor Nutrition and Energy Management

The brain needs food for fuel, tissue maintenance, disease protection and proper function. Poor neuronal nutrition comes in three forms: too little intake, too much intake and intake of the wrong kinds of food.

Children who eat too little are at risk for vitamin deficiencies, dehydration, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar level) and various electrolyte deficits. All of these conditions reduce mental alertness, attention and motivation. Hunger and thirst can also distract kids.

Meanwhile, children who eat too much may suffer from chronic inflammation and early-onset cardiovascular disease, which also impair mental performance.

Eating the “wrong” kinds of food can likewise damage the body and brain.

  • Lunches filled with simple sugars and refined carbohydrates produce steep energy spikes and crashes, making kids too drowsy to focus at midday. They also make them susceptible to “insulin issues,” i. e. diabetes mellitus and its cardiovascular and neurologic complications.
  • Saturated fats, trans fats and cholesterol all contribute to plaque formation inside the blood vessels. They raise kids’ proneness to inflammation. Plaque formation and excess sodium increase the risk of stroke in the young.
  • Alcohol produces both immediate and long-term mental impairment. Acute effects include confusion, disinhibition, incoordination and drowsiness. Chronic abuse can make those acute changes permanent and also lead to liver disease.

Without proper guidance, kids may get accustomed to the standard American diet, which is high in simple sugars, refined carbohydrates, unhealthy fats and sodium. Additionally, since children naturally get curious about many things, parents should watch out for signs of underage drinking or experimentation with alcohol.

6  Toxic Exposure from the Environment

Environmental pollutants (see table below) expose children to various chemicals, some of which can directly damage neurons. These poisons also injure other organs, so symptoms of toxic brain damage may accompany other signs.

For example, mercury, can contaminate fatty fish. When it builds up, it may severely impair children’s problem-solving skills and sensorimotor functions. Since it circulates in the body, it can also produce kidney failure, which is potentially fatal.


7  Too Little Social Interaction

Other species are born with their brains almost fully programmed, but the human brain starts with a clean slate. Social interaction stimulates the neurons and grounds children’s expectations of the real world. The lack of it can lead to relationship and emotional troubles, which can divert their attention from important tasks.

Additionally, moderate video-gaming has been shown to enhance mental performance, but too much of it can deprive kids of opportunities for healthy communication with real people. Check your child’s screen time to see if they have too much of it.

8  Too Worried to Think

Poor psychosocial conditions (see table below) have different effects on different kids because of temperamental diversity. Generally, however, they put kids at risk of poor mental and emotional maturity, as well as psychiatric health problems.

Economic barriers can likewise prevent children from having good access to education and technology. Their detrimental effects are even more greatly felt now when online learning has become necessary.

9  Too Sick to Focus

Our educational system recommends the same learning courses for kids. However, as we mentioned previously, children are born with different gifts and temperaments. Lack of interest can mask true intelligence, and it may be because kids find schoolwork too difficult or easy.

Tasks that are too difficult can demotivate young, inexperienced people. Meanwhile, too easy assignments can also bore them. You’ll never know the difference unless you sit with your child and investigate. Either way, lack of interest can result in poor focus and fund of knowledge.

10  Down with the Blues

Mental health issues (see table below) in children manifest in a variety of ways. Without help, they can lead to poor school performance, as well as relationship and future career troubles.

11  Consider a Learning Disorder

Learning difficulties (see table below) have genetic and environmental components. Modern medicine and nutrition can improve them vastly, helping most kids reach their milestones. Those with mild impairment can become highly successful adults so long as the necessary support is given early.

12  Drug Effects

Some medications (see table below) can make children too drowsy to focus during school hours, so dosage and timing are important to consider. Ask your pediatrician or look at your medicine labels to see if any treatment that your child is on contains sedatives.

Non-Modifiable Factors

Inborn conditions that can affect mental performance (see table below) are rare. They are not always apparent at birth, and their manifestations range from mild to severe. Their course, treatment, and prognosis depend on symptom severity, with most needing advanced medical interventions or having no cure. Specialist consults are always necessary in these cases.

Those that affect the brain include the following:

1  Disordered Brain Growth Genetics

At birth, brain structures may be missing, misshapen, protruding from the skull, etc. Some can be corrected by early surgery. Others, however, produce epilepsies, failure to thrive and mental retardation.

2  Faulty Neurophysiology

Here, abnormal brain activity is not due to gross structural changes but may be related to defective micro-scale glucose and electrolyte metabolism. Most cases are due to incomplete development and resolve with brain maturation. However, poor nutrition and chronic illness can make abnormal brainwaves persist.

Rare, severe cases are associated with epilepsies that may or may not be eliminated by ablation.

3  Genetic Conditions That Indirectly Affect the Brain

These conditions impair mental performance by producing inflammatory substances, toxins, glucose and electrolyte imbalance, oxygen depletion, etc. Many children do well as long as their symptoms are under control.

4  Pregnancy-Related Conditions

Various maternal illnesses and adverse labor conditions can cause brain damage to the newborn. Some children survive with intact cognition and only mild motor impairment, while others have more serious manifestations.

Examples of Conditions That Can Impair a Child’s Ability to Focus
Environmental Pollutants Heavy metals like lead, mercury and hexavalent chromium

Organic fumes

Packaging waste

Industrial waste

Medical waste
Poor Psychosocial Conditions Psychological trauma from bullying, family abuse, loss, grief, witnessing a crime, family breakups, etc.

Overcritical language

Loss or lack of a guiding figure

Economic hardships
Medical Illnesses Infections



Diarrheal illnesses

Ear infection, hearing problems

Visual problems

Serious conditions like cancer, autoimmune disease, encephalitis, type 1 diabetes mellitus, meningitis, immunodeficiency, anemia, hypothyroidism, etc.
Mental Health Issues Mood disorders like major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder

Anxiety disorders

Body dysmorphia, eating disorders

Psychotic disorders

Oppositional defiant disorder

Substance abuse
Learning and Developmental Disorders Autism spectrum disorders

Sensory processing disorders



Mathematics disorder

Communication disorders
Medications Antihistamines, e. g. diphenhydramine

Anti-epileptic drugs, e. g. valproate

Anxiolytics, e. g. lorazepam

Antidepressants, e. g. mirtazapine

Antipsychotics, e. g. risperidone
Genetic Disorders Those directly affecting brain growth
  • Fragile X
  • Prosencephaly
  • Encephalocele
Those indirectly affecting brain function
  • Phenylketonuria
  • Congenital adrenal hyperplasia
Pregnancy-Related Disorders Folate deficiency, leading to central nervous system malformation

Congenital rubella syndrome

Other forms of maternal malnutrition and infection

Fetal alcohol syndrome

Cerebral palsy, etc.

“The reasons for poor mental concentration in a huge majority of pediatric cases are trivial. However, since kids cannot articulate their symptoms as well as adults can, doctors routinely try to look for a more serious cause—physical, psychological, social, etc.—until it is completely ruled out.”

They could miss a potentially fatal condition if they ignored subtle neurologic changes.

As in any health problem, the earlier that it is addressed, the better are the chances for a full recovery.

How Can You Help Improve Your Child’s Concentration and Mental Performance?

Now, you’re aware of the elements that can potentially distract your child. Below is a list of expert-recommended actions that you can take to help them focus better:

1  Give Them a Room Dedicated to Studying

Easily distracted kids can concentrate better while working in a dedicated study room—a room free of distractions. You can do the following to create one for your kid:

  • Pick a room that exposes them the least to outside noise.
  • Teach your child to organize their things. Workspace organization lessens potentially distracting clutter and enhances focus and productivity.
  • Paint the walls with cool, plain colors. Avoid displays of cartoon characters and other irrelevant graphics.
  • Limit electronic equipment to only the kind that they use for studying.

2  Help Them Practice Sleep Hygiene

Healthy sleep is acquired by developing consistent bedtime routines. You can help your child improve their sleeping habits by doing the following:

  • Remind them to go to bed at the same hours every night. Cue them by turning off the TV and their electronic gadgets.
  • Encourage them to get their things ready for school, brush their teeth and take a warm bath before going to bed.
  • Paint the walls with cool, plain colors. Avoid displays of cartoon characters and other irrelevant graphics.
  • Read happy stories to young kids. Encourage older kids to make a habit of reading storybooks or light novels before sleep.

3  Teach

Sometimes, young people just need to be shown the way out of complicated problems. Understanding and solving drills on their own can boost their confidence and regain their interest in schoolwork.

Sit with your child and determine what areas they find difficult. Show them the correct way of approaching each problem and give them plenty of practice drills. Congratulate them for any improvements and motivate them to keep working on challenging questions. Hire a tutor for subjects that you think are beyond your expertise.

4  Make Learning Fun through Brain Games

Children who find schoolwork too easy can eliminate boredom by solving increasingly challenging drills. Related brain games can also make learning more fun. Studies show that, when done in moderation, brain games can sharpen cognition across various age groups. Different game levels are available for various subjects, including math, vocabulary, science and history.

5  Make Delayed Gratification a Tool

Temperaments aside, rewards stimulate the brain’s pleasure centers and create positive reinforcement. Children will happily control their impulses and concentrate if they know they are getting a big prize for it—an act called “delayed gratification.” You can motivate your child to do better in school by offering a highly desired reward, such as a new toy, fun trip or added playtime.

6  Let Your Child Run and Play

Push your child to be more physically active. They can start with fun activities like walking the house pet, dancing to their favorite tunes, racing with other kids, etc. You can also encourage them to play a sport. Athletics teach children lessons on and off the field that help them grow emotionally and teach them life skills like strategy and discipline.

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7  Feed Your Child's Brain

Diet impacts many aspects of health, including mental performance, which is why doctors do not overlook this aspect when examining or treating patients.

Mental focus problems caused by nutritional deficiencies are treated by supplementation with the appropriate nutrients. Meanwhile, children with phenylketonuria and the like are advised to avoid certain foods. For other conditions, doctors routinely complement their management strategies with good nutrition.

Heart-healthy diets include vegetables, fruits, grains, fat-free dairy, oils and various protein sources. Studies show that certain heart-healthy diets can become brain-healthy as well. One example is the Mediterranean diet, which can boost kids' mental performance and self-esteem.

You can level up a heart-healthy diet into one that also directly benefits the brain by choosing food groups rich in the following nutrients:

  • Alpha-glycerophosphocholine—enhances alertness, memory retrieval, muscle strength and other body functions.
  • Curcumin—sharpens the mind, stabilizes the mood and protects the brain.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids—speed up brain cell communication and absorb toxic free radicals. Studies show that children born to moms on omega-3-rich diets tend to have high IQ.
  • Trans-resveratrol—a powerful brain antioxidant and immunity modulator.
  • Uridine—a building block of RNA and DNA, directing the production of chemicals that enhance mental performance. It is also involved in many aspects of metabolism.
  • Vitamin C—an antioxidant and immunity enhancer. It also increases the production of chemicals that boost alertness and mood levels.

Aside from their unique cardiovascular health benefits, evidence proves that these nutrients raise BDNF levels in the brain. Ask your doctor about including them in your child’s dietary regimen.

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8  Go Green

Limit your child’s toxic exposure by doing your part in protecting the environment.

  • Avoid burning plastics and other materials.
  • Have fun raising greens together with your child. Plant trees if you live in a rural or suburban area. If you reside in a crowded city, grow a vertical garden.
  • Avoid or stop smoking. Teach your child about its health and environmental dangers.
  • Encourage them to bike, walk or take the bus when going to school. Make sure your kid has a helmet on when riding a bike.
  • Take trips to the countryside or beach to expose your child to cleaner air.

The list goes on. The World Health Organization states that cleaning up the environment can reduce childhood deaths and illnesses worldwide by 25%.

9  Have Heart-to-Heart Talks with Your Child

Talking to your child provides you more opportunities for teaching and investigating potential problems. Find time every day to do the following:

  • Set the rules. Teach them about acceptable behaviors at home and in school. Use gentle but clear words.
  • When correcting a child, emphasize the lesson and not the punishment. Being too harsh can push kids to lie.
  • Everyone has unique abilities that can make them highly prized in their community, so teach your child the value of individuality. If you have two or more children, avoid playing favorites or labeling anyone as a “black sheep.”
  • Talk to them about dealing with defeat, frustration and anger. Validate their feelings. Teach them better ways to respond in similar situations in the future.
  • Most importantly, children are generally afraid of reporting abusive treatment, but such experiences come with physical signs and behavioral changes. Examine your child’s body for bruises and cuts in odd places. Look for signs of anxiety, such as sleep difficulties, bedwetting, panic attacks, concentration problems, lying, etc. Comb through the words they use, which their immature minds can make up for things they don’t understand.

child-givesTalking to your child gives you more opportunities to teach or find out if something is bothering them.

10  Encourage Playtime with Other Kids

Video games are fun and stimulating. However, they can become predictable over time, so they will never be good substitutes for real-life interactions.

On the other hand, studies show that collaborative play with other children can speed up cognitive development. Such interactions stimulate critical brain regions, including language centers, audio and visual processing networks and areas for emotional regulation and judgment. So encourage your child to enjoy some playtime with their friends today.

11  Chat with Their Teachers and School Counselors

Talk to teachers and school counselors about your child’s behavior. If they cannot focus well during class, you can ask to have your child sit closer to the front and away from distractions.

If the child is persistently inattentive and disruptive even in front of authority figures, it may be time to look for medically treatable disorders. For example, ADHD is diagnosed when school-age kids exhibit these behaviors both at home and in school.

12  Find the Child’s Comfortable Learning Style

Just as temperaments are different, educational experts hypothesize that children’s learning styles also vary.

  • Visual learners learn better with the rich use of images. The text’s spatial orientation can also help them remember what they read.
  • Auditory learners may benefit from listening to teachers and audio-recorded lessons.
  • Kinesthetic-tactile learners understand concepts better by touching and manipulating objects in their environment.

Some kids do well with just one learning style, while others have mixed learning styles. School counselors and developmental specialists may help you figure out which one suits your child best and formulate study habits that work. 

13  Work with Your Pediatrician

Medical conditions like asthma and diabetes are still more common causes of poor school performance than ADHD and other learning disabilities. Take your child to the pediatrician for a checkup. The doctor can look for a physical cause and recommend treatments that can eliminate or improve it. Specialist consultation may be needed in some cases.

14  Get Specialist Help

If the primary care doctor finds nothing wrong physically, they can recommend a specialist to look for learning disabilities or psychiatric problems. Depending on the diagnosis, medications, psychotherapy, the use of special writing tools, etc. can help your child make dramatic improvements.

15  Adjust Their Medications

Medications for allergies, seizures and psychiatric conditions are some examples of sedative-containing drugs. If your child finds it hard to focus in class after taking their meds, ask your doctor to adjust the dosage, intake schedule or both. The doctor may also offer a suitable alternative drug.

As you can see from this guide, helping kids regain their focus does not have to be a one-man job. In fact, enlisting the help of a few experts may give your child the best chance at recovery.


“if you sense any bothersome changes in your kid, don’t delay in taking action. The longer they stay sick or adopt a maladaptive behavior, the greater the damage and the longer it will take for them to recover.”


Mental focus impacts various aspects of children’s personal growth. It is the product of the coordinated actions of different brain areas.

In adults, those areas include the RAS, hippocampus, sensory processing centers, frontal and prefrontal lobes and astrocytes. By comparison, children have not mastered screening out unimportant stimuli. We add their sensory pathways in this neural circuit because of their significant influence on kids’ mental abilities.

Science recognizes the genetic differences among children in terms of temperament and capacity to concentrate. However, neuroplasticity enables them to overcome learning and developmental barriers through training, therapy and other tools. Children who can fully harness their mental abilities achieve mental momentum, translating into higher incomes and happier lives as adults.

There are modifiable and non-modifiable factors affecting concentration. The causes of impairment range from common, easily correctable conditions to rare, more serious health disorders.

We have presented here a comprehensive guide to help parents enhance their children’s focus. While there are many ways to help kids reach their full mental potential, it is best to identify possible problems early and address them as soon they are detected.

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Brain Food Diet: the Hands-On Guide to Nourishing Your Brain

Sharp minds are always at the top of their game.

There are many ways to boost the brain, but none is as important as feeding it the right food and nutrients. The link between proper diet and optimum mental performance is widely documented. By comparison, poor eating consistently shows a negative impact on all functions of the mind.

With the right diet, you can stay fit and sharpen your mental focus at the same time. Brain foods are healthful eats that keep the body strong and also power up your neurons.

Here, we explain the critical role of diet and nutrition in brain health, round up the best and worst foods for mental focus, and help you formulate a brain food diet plan.



How Does Good Nutrition Boost Your Mental Performance? What Is the Best Diet for Sharpening Mental Focus? What Foods Can Make the Brain Sluggish?How Should You Make A Brain Food Diet Plan? What Else Can Boost Mental Performance Besides the Best Brain Diet? Conclusion

How Does Good Nutrition Boost Your Mental Performance?

The old expression "You are what you eat" sums up food's effects on the body. Feeding it trash makes you constantly feeling sick and energy-drained. Giving it the proper nutrients peps you up and gets you ready for any challenge.

In the brain, food directly influences how you think and interact with your environment. You'll understand why when you take a glimpse of the central nervous system's inner workings.

Food Provides Energy to Your Brain Cells

Food powers up the neurons and their support cells so they can perform their tasks properly. Just like the Energizer bunny will not move with empty batteries, your brain will stop working as it should without fuel.

One gram of carbohydrates yields 4 calories, and proteins have the same amount of energy. Every gram of fat gives off 9 calories. B vitamins are needed to extract fuel from food. Iron delivers oxygen to burn that fuel and boost the brain.

People need all of these nutrients to stay alert and focused. If cars can run on clean fuel, so can your brain, and a well-balanced diet provides that.

energy food

The Energy Content of Food

Nutrients Build Up the Neurons

Calories do not tell you the entire story. Recent evidence shows that the quality of food impacts health more than the amount taken.

For example, some nutrients do not only perk up the brain but also help form new neurons and protect other structures. Such nutrients make up a "high-quality diet." On the other hand, “low-quality foods" provide only calories and no other benefits. They may even release pro-inflammatory chemicals in the body.

The following nutrients are found in high-quality diets:

  • Fats, especially omega-3 fatty acids like docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), make up the brain's cell membranes. These substances speed up brain signals, boosting reflexes, memory retrieval, problem-solving and other mental tasks. DHA and EPA are essential fatty acids. The body does not make them, so they have to be obtained from the diet.
  • Carbohydrates and proteins are the building blocks of many structures inside and outside of the brain cells. High-quality carbohydrates come from whole grains. Meanwhile, high-quality proteins come from sources that have more essential fatty acids than non-essential ones.
  • DNA and RNA are needed for new brain cell formation. They also initiate the production of hormones and brain-signaling chemicals called "neurotransmitters." Uridine, obtained from dark green vegetables, is a component of RNA. Thymidine, a DNA component, is derived from uridine.
  • Vitamins, notably vitamins C and K, help build brain cells, support cells, blood vessels and connective tissues. Minerals like calcium, potassium, magnesium, etc. also aid in forming these structures.
  • Curcumin stimulates the growth of new neurons, powering up the memory and focus. It promotes brain cell regrowth and plasticity after an injury.

The best brain diet combines all these nutrients as each has a unique role in maintaining health and peak performance.

Diet Dictates Mental Function

A healthy brain has all its parts working synergistically. Cells communicate like clockwork when neurotransmitters and hormones are in a perfect balance. These brain chemicals are made using different nutrients, too.

  • Acetylcholine is derived from alpha-glycerophosphocholine, a substance found in high amounts in eggs and legumes. This neurotransmitter is involved in muscle movement, digestion, cardiovascular health, visual focus, maintaining wakefulness and many other functions. Its deficiency is responsible for most Alzheimer's disease symptoms. Acetylcholine imbalance gives rise to Parkinsonian involuntary movements.
  • Dopamine, a hormone and neurotransmitter, is made from amino acids, which come from digested proteins. Curcumin stimulates its production. Dopamine enhances attention, movement control, reward-motivated behavior and mood. It is severely depleted in Parkinson's disease. Dopamine imbalance is implicated in depression and ADHD.
  • Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is another neurotransmitter made from amino acids. It induces sleep and prevents overstimulation of the brain.
  • Norepinephrine, another molecule that functions as a hormone and neurotransmitter, is made from amino acids through several vitamin-aided steps. It works like caffeine because it keeps you alert and focused. It also improves mood. Vitamin C, B vitamins and curcumin enhance its production.
  • Serotonin is amino-acid-derived and helps elevate the mood. Serotonin deficiency is associated with depression. Curcumin increases brain serotonin levels.
  • Brain neurotrophic-derived factor (BDNF) is a growth factor, a protein molecule that promotes brain cell resilience and regeneration. It enhances neuroplasticity and learning. Curcumin is a nutrient that can stimulate BDNF secretion.

Brain foods improve focus and mental performance because they are rich in high-quality nutrients that boost the above substances.

Good Food Protects the Brain from Disease

The best brain diet helps protect from illnesses that can drastically weaken mental performance. Uridine and B vitamins are crucial to immune function. Vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids and trans-resveratrol trap free radicals and other toxic substances that can promote inflammation. Curcumin and vitamin C help combat both biological and chemical disease agents.

In contrast, the standard American diet lacks these important nutrients. It is also high in substances that introduce stress in the body and aggravate illness, particularly, saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, sodium and excess sugars.

Electrolyte and Fluid Balance Are Crucial to Mental Alertness and Focus

Proper nutrition and hydration maintain the smooth electrolyte flow in the neurons, which is also necessary for signal transmission. Electrolyte and fluid imbalances can compromise mental function and may be fatal in severe cases.


A brain-healthy diet lets you compete at the highest levels in any field.

 As you can see, nutrition has multiple vital roles in the brain, so careful food selection is key to optimum mental performance. Sadly, many active people are so accustomed to the standard American diet, which contributes little to proper neuronal function and upkeep. If you're on this diet and feeling constantly stressed, depressed, and distracted, you might consider switching to a regimen that will nourish the brain back to health.

“When it comes to overall brain health, just adding certain supplements will sharpen your brain”

Bindya Gandhi, M.D
Integrative & Functional, Family Doc

What Is the Best Diet for Sharpening Mental Focus?

There is a growing body of evidence supporting the beneficial effects of the MIND diet on mental performance.

"MIND" stands for "Mediterranean-DASH Diet Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay," while "DASH" is short for "Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension."

Both the Mediterranean and DASH regimens are consistent with the USDA and HHS' concept of a healthy eating pattern. A healthy eating pattern includes a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, grains, low-fat dairy, proteins and oils. It is also rich in potassium and low on sodium, added sugars and saturated and trans fats.

Studies show that people on a healthy eating pattern, such as the MIND diet, have laser-sharp focus, emotional and psychological balance and exceptional memory that can remain until well into the retirement years. Individuals with sustained focus achieve mental momentum that primes them for long runs of success in any endeavor.

In each food group recommended by the health experts, there are some with specific neurologic benefits and can, therefore, be truly called "brain foods."



Vegetables have high amounts of dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and alpha-glycerophosphocholine. The brain foods in this group are broccoli, soybeans and turmeric.

Broccoli is a dark green vegetable rich in vitamin K, which helps build brain fats, and uridine.

Soybeans are legumes that have plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and minerals.

Turmeric is a root vegetable that has high amounts of curcumin.


Fruits have lots of dietary fiber, vitamin C and potassium. The brain foods in this group are grapes, berries, oranges and cocoa.

Grapes and berries are rich sources of the potent stilbenoid antioxidant trans-resveratrol. Red wine, one of the MIND diet's main components, is made from grapes.

Oranges are rich in vitamin C.

Cocoa is best taken as dark chocolate. It has caffeine, which boosts alertness and focus, and different types of flavonoid antioxidants.


Aside from starch, which is a major carbohydrate source, grains have dietary fiber, minerals and vitamins. The best for the brain are whole grains like brown rice, oats and quinoa.

Active individuals may take refined grains as long as they are fortified with nutrients that are lost during processing. However, for better blood sugar control, whole grains must make up more than half of one’s daily carbohydrate intake.


  Low-fat dairy:

Low-fat dairy contains 1% fat or lower. This food group includes low-fat milk, yogurt and soymilk. The fats taken out during processing are mostly saturated types. Low-fat dairy is rich in carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, minerals and alpha-glycerophosphocholine. Fortified milk and soymilk have high amounts of omega-3 oils.


Animal and plant proteins also have vitamins and minerals. The brain foods in this group are fatty fish, poultry meat, eggs, nuts and seeds.

Fatty fish are rich sources of DHA, EPA, iron and vitamins B12 and D. This group includes salmon, anchovies, herring, sardines and trout.

Some fatty fish have high levels of mercury, which can impair mental performance, among many things. This is due to their exposure to contaminated water present in some geographic areas. They include bluefish, some tuna species, shark, king mackerel, etc. They are better avoided or taken in reduced quantities.

Poultry meat is high in niacin (vitamin B3) and iron. Eggs are rich in alpha-glycerophosphocholine.

Nuts and seeds are rich in vitamin E and omega-3 oils. Nuts include walnuts and butternuts. Seeds include chia and flax seeds.

6  Oils:

Oils are fats with large amounts of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, which make them liquid at room temperature. The brain foods in this group are flaxseed, soybean, and canola oils, which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and low on saturated fats. Olive oil, which is mostly composed of monounsaturated fats, is a MIND diet mainstay.

A diet containing all these food groups will help you enhance your mental focus, stay within a healthy weight range and avoid nutritional deficiencies.

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What Foods Can Make the Brain Sluggish?

For cardiovascular and mental health, nutrition experts advise limiting the intake of the following dietary components:

  Added (simple) sugars:

Simple sugars are present in abundant amounts in sweetened beverages, pastries, creams, candies, etc. It can cause blood glucose spikes—what we call "the sugar high"—which give the body and brain a huge but transient energy boost.

In normal young individuals, insulin clears excess glucose within two hours of eating, leading to an equally abrupt decrease in energy and mental alertness. Over time, however, chronic excess glucose intake will make it difficult for your body to normalize your blood glucose levels.

Persistently high blood sugar can kill off your neurons, damage your heart and blood vessels, weaken your immune system and produce other complications. Cognitive decline and other signs of nerve impairment can manifest early in life.

The recommended daily limit for added sugars is 10% of the total calories consumed. In a 2,000-calorie diet, this is equivalent to about 12 teaspoons of sugar. For your reference, a 12-ounce can of Coca-Cola has about 10 teaspoons of sugar.

  Refined carbohydrates:

Refined carbohydrates are processed whole grains. Unless fortified, they lose most of the good nutrients during processing. Even if they are fortified, one thing about them is that they can cause blood glucose spikes, just like simple sugars.

Sources of refined carbohydrates include white bread, white rice, pastries and breakfast cereals. Individuals who have them in their diet must replace at least half of their daily intake with whole grains.


A diet high in added sugars, refined carbohydrates, saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol and sodium can severely limit your mental and physical performance over time. Chronically high blood sugar and its widespread complications can all lead to early-onset neurologic decline.

  Saturated fats, trans fats and cholesterol:

The human body makes saturated fats and cholesterol abundantly as they are important for structural maintenance and energy production. They are, therefore, non-essential fats. However, the standard American diet increases their levels beyond what is needed for normal function. They do not only make you overweight and easily fatigued but also keep you from reaching your peak mental performance.

Saturated and trans fats are found in fatty red meat, whole milk, margarine, butter, cream cheese, processed foods and fast food. Unlike oils, they become solid at normal temperatures. In the brain, they can make cell membranes less fluid, making neuronal communication difficult. They can also induce inflammation and reduce blood flow, which can harm the brain and diminish your mental focus.

Cholesterol is a vital component of cell membranes and hormones, but the body can create its own supply. Dietary cholesterol adds to it unnecessarily. Excess deposits of this fatty substance in the blood vessels reduce blood flow, trigger inflammation and weaken the neurons.

The recommended daily limit for saturated fats is 10% of the total calories taken. The USDA does not set upper limits for trans fats and cholesterol but recommends that they must be avoided as much as possible. As a rule, most foods high in saturated fats also have plenty of trans fats and cholesterol.


The standard American diet contains a lot of salt, and therefore, sodium. Some canned vegetables and meat also have high salt content.

This electrolyte is needed for normal function, including mental tasks. However, excessive amounts can produce conditions that suffocate the brain and accelerate cognitive decline.

The recommended daily limit for sodium intake is 2,300 mg. This is equivalent to about one teaspoon of table salt.


Too much alcohol can compromise mental performance, and chronically high levels can mess up the brain. Excessive drinking during pregnancy can harm the growing fetus. And we all know why drunk driving is never a good idea.

The USDA recommends limiting alcohol intake to one drink a day for women and two for men. One drink has 0.6 fluid ounces of pure alcohol, which is equivalent to 12 fl. oz. of regular beer, 5 fl. oz. of wine or 1.5 fl. oz. of 80-proof distilled spirits.


The MIND diet includes moderate red wine intake, but this is more for the beverage's antioxidant properties and not its alcohol content. People who prefer to have red wine in their regimen can have one glass a day. There is no recommendation that those who are not taking alcohol should start doing it. They can get the brain booster trans-resveratrol from other foods and supplements.

Except for alcohol, these substances are the principal components of the standard American diet. That is why there has been a steep rise in neurological and mental health issues in the last few decades. However, limiting their intake has been shown to enhance mental focus, delay cognitive decline and maintain psychological well-being.

How Should You Make A Brain Food Diet Plan?

A proven nutritional strategy for improving brain health is the MIND diet plan.

The MIND diet includes the following:

  Dark green vegetables—at least 6 servings a week
  Other vegetables—at least 1 serving a day
  Nuts—5 servings a week
  Berries—at least 2 servings a week
  Beans—at least 3 servings a week
6  Whole grains—at least 3 servings a day
7  Fish—1 serving a week
8  Poultry—2 servings a week
9  Olive oil—regular use
10  Red wine—once a day, but not mandatory

Meanwhile, it also has the following restrictions:

  Red meat—no more than 4 servings a week
  Butter and margarine—no more than 1 tablespoon daily
  Cheese—no more than 1 serving a week
  Pastries and sweets—no more than 5 servings a week
  Fast food—no more than 1 serving a week 


For a 2,000-calorie daily diet, a sample 3-day meal plan can look like this:

table days

These meals require short preparation time. However, if you are too busy to cook but want to ensure that your neurons stay healthy, there's always doctor-formulated Brain Assist.

Brain Assist has six of the most powerful brain boosters known: alpha-glycerophosphocholine, curcumin, omega-3 fatty acids, trans-resveratrol, uridine and vitamin C. One pack of this delicious smoothie is enough to keep you focused throughout the day, ready to build mental momentum.

What Else Can Boost Mental Performance Besides the Best Brain Diet?

You may be tired of hearing it from the health buffs, and yet they're right. Studies show that consistent brain training and physical activity can also perk up the brain. When combined with a brain-healthy diet, they can improve mental performance and help stave off cognitive decline.

Brain games involve repeating various perceptual and cognitive tasks over extended periods. Playing fast-paced video games has been associated with better vision, attention, processing speed and decision-making skills among young adults. Engagement in commercially available computerized cognitive games has been found to improve mental function in older individuals.

Meanwhile, physical exercise is known to induce BDNF. This growth factor stimulates brain cell regeneration in the hippocampus, the center of memory and learning. Regular physical activity is known to help older individuals stay sharp and focused.

Other ways that can safely and effectively boost your mental focus are sleep, stress reduction and minimizing toxic exposures.



The best brain diet provides energy, enhances neuronal resilience and growth, promotes proper function, fights disease and ensures electrolyte balance. The standard American diet lacks most of these qualities, so it does not contribute much to brain health.

On the other hand, a healthy eating pattern, such as the MIND diet, has a combination of powerful brain boosters that help keep the mind sharp for a very long time. Sustained focus builds mental momentum, a major determinant of lifelong success. Therefore, active individuals who want to stay at peak performance levels should switch to such a regimen.


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