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Best Protein Sources for Focus & Energy

Updated: Apr 16, 2023

Most proteins are good, but some are better than others. Here are the top proteins that are best for improving your focus, plus a common morning protein that's actually better at night.

Protein sources for focus chart, protein for energy chart

Top 3 - Proteins with the best brain boosting abilities

1. Whey Protein is particularly high in BCAA’s, and high quality powders disappear easily into morning beverages or blend up into tasty drinks themselves. Try it in your morning coffee, as long as it's cool enough to drink without burning yourself - any hotter and the protein clumps up.

2. Eggs have a bunch of brain boosting nutrients contained in their yolks, one of the most important of which is Choline which is incredibly important in helping people tune out excess stimulation (ex: a jackhammer in the background).

Eggs cooked any way are beneficial, but if you don’t like the taste of eggs or dislike consuming solid food in the morning, you can always try a clean egg coffee.

3. Fish is an amazing source of protein, as well as vital brain boosting Omega 3 fats, though perhaps not what most people think of as a breakfast food.

Think Lox or Smoked Salmon and cream cheese, kippers with eggs and tomatoes, or a fisherman’s breakfast scramble.

Other high quality sources of protein

4. Low sugar greek yogurt or cottage cheese contain some BCAA’s and go well with a handful of low sugar fruits like berries and topped with sliced almonds or other nuts and seeds.

5. Nitrate free bacon, sausage, ham, and other meats are all good sources of protein, and in addition to B vitamins and iron will also contain small amounts of Creatine, which are covered in Part 2 of this series: Natural Nutrition Supplements for ADHD.

6. Hemp seed and Chia seed are two vegan sources of complete protein that also contain ALA Omega 3s which are great at reducing brain inflammation. Try adding them to your morning yogurt or cottage cheese for a little crunch or a low sugar chia breakfast pudding.

Other Vegan sources worth mentioning:

Low sugar protein powders, bonus points for ones like Vega Sport which have added BCAA’s in them [20-30+ g protein per serving]

Tofu [10 g per 1/2 cup]

Low sugar protein soy/nut milks [10-20 g protein per cup]

Nutritional yeast [4 g per Tablespoon]

Nuts and nut butters [1-4 g per Tablespoon]

Broccoli, Spinach, Asparagus, and Brussels sprouts [4-5 g per cooked cup]

Why Collagen Coffee Doesn't Work for Everyone

Collagen coffee, Bulletproof coffee, coffee and protein, coffee and powder

Collagen has become a popular coffee addition thanks to Bulletproof Coffee.

Collagen and its main amino acid Glycine are vitally important for general health and to balance out the Methionine that is present in all of the muscle meat and other proteins that we eat, and ideally we should consume 10-20 grams of it every day.

The thing is, Glycine helps the body make serotonin, a calming neurotransmitter that helps people sleep. Not exactly what I'm looking for in my morning cup of coffee. Collagen in the morning or at any time of day is good for people with anxiety, schizophrenia, or a diagnosed serotonin deficiency, but for many people collagen is much better when taken at night.

When it is taken at night, collagen not only improves sleep quality but supplemental Glycine has been shown to improve memory and attention in young adults, and is being studied for benefits in Alzheimer's and similar diseases.

For evening collagen, it can be added to dinner time sauces and soups at a rate of 1-2 scoops per serving, or any caffeine free beverage of your choice.

For more information, check out this article on why protein is so good for focus.
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