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    Many Food Options continued...

    With really high doses of glucose, memory could actually be impaired, Gold explains.

    The protein versus carbohydrate battle seems to be in the limelight these days, especially with high-protein, and low-carb diets inching their way into weight-conscious homes.

    As a source for brainpower, however, neither carbs nor proteins appear to play a direct role on a person's ability to concentrate.

    Carbohydrates convert into glucose in the body, but Wilson says that process may take a while. Carbs usually aren't available for the body to use until after at least two to four hours, she says, while proteins aren't usually available until after at least four hours.

    But, even then, it's not guaranteed that the mix of foods will target the brain and make it more alert, or that one single nutrient will improve concentration and memory in the long-term.

    Experts do know, based on scientific research, that whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains support health in general.

    "If an individual consistently eats a healthy diet, their level of performance will be enhanced," says Wilson, "If not, it might decrease ability to concentrate."

    How Much Is Enough?

    Other factors that might interfere with a person's focus include eating too much or too little.

    A heavy meal right before an important affair might make a person feel lethargic, says Wilson, primarily because blood is being diverted from the brain to the stomach for digestion.

    On the other extreme, people who don't take in enough calories because they skip meals or are on a restrictive diet may experience hunger pangs -- which could certainly be distracting.

    Additionally, studies show that children who eat breakfast tend to have better short-term memory than their peers who do not eat such meals. Kids who eat high-caloric breakfasts, however, had impaired concentration.

    The other extreme, the high-fat diet, may negatively impact alertness. In several studies, rats that were fed high-fat meals tended to have poorer learning and memory than counterparts who were fed more balanced diets.

    Store shelves are flooded with vitamins, minerals, and herbs with claims to boost physical and mental health. The sheer number may be overwhelming -- actually requiring a bit of focus to decipher -- but if you're looking to improve your concentration for a big test or interview, here's a quick review of what's out there.

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