Are you battling to stay on top of emails, meetings and deadlines?
Sure, life is hectic this time of year, but you start each day with a plan to get so much done – just to find yourself distracted and focusing on low-priority tasks! Why does this happen and how do you keep your grey matter functioning at optimum level?
We all know that eating healthy is essential in maintaining a healthy body, but did you know that your brain is food sensitive? In fact, your brain gobbles up about 20% of your daily calorie intake!
You’d be shocked to learn how fast what you eat affects how you think and process. A slice of cake could cause your blood sugar to spike as soon as 15 minutes after you eat it, and cognitive impairments start soon after! Putting it simply: your diet affects how much energy you have, which in turn, influences your productivity.
Truth is that most people eat for taste, convenience, their waistline … but eating for your brain is a lot smarter. According to neurologist Jeff Victoroff, M.D., author of Saving Your Brain, “The brain needs certain nutrients to survive and flourish. The foods you choose every day affect alertness, energy levels, emotional stability and, in the long run, the likelihood of mental decline.”
So, if you’re serious about achieving top workplace performance, what should your diet look like?
It should be rich in fruit and vegetables (no surprise here!) A fascinating paper in the British Journal of Health Psychology concluded that the more fruit and vegetables people consumed (up to 7 portions per day), the happier, more engaged, and more creative they tend to be.
The best brain boosting vegetables are dark, leafy vegetables like spinach, sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower. Best options for brain boosting fruit are blueberries, cranberries, strawberries, plums, avos, red grapes, cherries and kiwi fruit.
Fish high in Omega-3 fatty acids is considered the ultimate brain food – sardines, salmon, tuna, trout, herring and anchovies, are good options. Why? Well, according to Victoroff, fresh fruit and vegetables increases blood flow to the brain and studies show that Omega-3 fatty acids help to improve cognitive function.
What more could you add? Dark chocolate, or its source, cocoa beans, is rich in “flavanols”, which boosts blood flow to the brain around 2 to 3 hours after consumption. This is one “superfood” where more is not better! Unfortunately, you have to do this in moderation.
Also, remember, 80% of the brain is made up of water. Try to drink at least 2 litres of water per day to keep your brain functioning at optimum level. One alcoholic drink per day is good for the brain (score!), while anything more than 3 can be harmful.
Also, taking a brisk 30 minute walk every day, getting help for depression and keeping your brain active through hobbies or studying; could also help to keep your brain in shape.
Eating healthy has many lifelong benefits. If you don’t already eat healthfully, try making a few changes. Gradual changes are the key to long-term success. However, the good news is that you will most likely notice that even the smallest changes will affect your productivity in a positive way.
So, in the words of Virginia Woolf: “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” Food for thought, don’t you think?
Source: www.webmd.com, www.dailymail.co.uk, www.prevntion.com, www.nytimes.com, www.onhealth.com, blog.bufferapp.com, www.womanshealth.com, bebrainfit.com, www.smh.com.au, www.healthline.com, yourstory.com, blog.trello.com, alifeofproductivity.com, www.inc.com, hbr.org, www.healio.com, www.oprahmag.co.za, www.realbuzz.com
DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.