I believe wholeheartedly that what we eat makes a massive difference to how we look, feel, think, concentrate and communicate! It makes perfect sense that if we eat well, we’ll feel well.
Something we all have in common is that we think and communicate constantly, whether this takes the form of verbal, non-verbal or written communication. As a new part-time blogger, I’m always on the lookout for interesting topics to write about, and I believe that my brain needs to be in top condition to do so.
In an attempt to help you, my fellow bloggers, to release those creative ideas, and get you thinking and communicating better than ever, this post is especially for you!
Have you ever found it impossible to focus or concentrate and you just can’t seem to “get with the program?” What you’ve been feeding your body may be the problem.
A study by the Society of Neuroscience San Diego, California, reported that rats and mice raised on a rodent equivalent junk food diet struggled to find their way around a maze, and took longer to remember solutions which they had already solved. These results indicate that a diet of fast food, donuts, coffee etc, isn’t good for our brain power.
So, what should you be doing to release that untapped brainpower?
1) Eat foods containing omega 3 (DHA) – it is essential for normal brain function.
- Sources: salmon, mackerel, sardines, pilchards, fresh tuna, green leafy vegetables, nuts (walnuts, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts), seeds (sesame), Soya bean oil, linseed oil, canola oil.
Maintain blood glucose levels – your brain requires a steady supply of glucose to operate normally. Dips and peaks in blood sugar (caused by choosing the wrong foods or not eating regularly) can affect concentration and memory and can make you feel tired and “fuzzy minded.” Eating regularly will make it easier for you to concentrate and focus. Choose foods which are high in fibre, as these will break down slowly in the blood maintaining your sugar levels throughout the day
2) Always have breakfast – studies have shown that skipping breakfast can reduce work performance. Now, that doesn’t mean finishing off last night’s pizza. Again, try to include high fibre foods.
- Sources: wholegrain bread, porridge, no added sugar muesli, wholegrain rice/pasta, wholegrain crackers.
3) Eat a range of fruit and vegetables daily – they are packed full of antioxidants, including beta-carotene, vitamin C and E, which help keep your brain in top condition.
- Sources: blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, strawberries, spinach, raspberries, Brussels sprouts, plums, broccoli, avocados, oranges, red grapes, red bell peppers, cherries, kiwis, tomatoes.
4) Stay hydrated – your brain is around 80 percent water, so keeping it hydrated is really important. Even slight dehydration can cause headaches, irritability and can raise stress hormones.
Also remember too much caffeine may cause irritability and headaches as well. From time to time try drinking herbal tea, green tea, decaffeinated tea/coffee, sugar free squash.
- Other suitable drinks:
- Banana whip – in a blender combine 1 cup semi-skimmed milk, 1 small banana, add a few ice cubes.
- Orange whip – in a blender combine 1 cup orange juice, 1 carton orange/vanilla diet yogurt, add a few ice cubes.
- Low-calorie hot chocolate made with semi-skimmed milk.
5) Plan your snacks – prepare your snacks in advance, and always keep them with you when you’re away from home. This will mean that you’re less likely to reach for unhealthy foods.
- Snack ideas:
- Small bowl of wholegrain breakfast cereal with semi-skimmed milk.
- Handful of unsalted nuts (walnuts/almonds/Brazil nuts), or seeds (sunflower/sesame).
- Half sandwich, or slice of toast with banana.
- Handful of rice crackers.
- Wholemeal scone with reduced sugar jam.
- Handful of dried fruit.
- Carrot, cucumber, or celery sticks with cottage cheese.
- Bowl of fresh/frozen/tinned (in natural juices) fruit.
- Frozen grapes.
- Low-fat yoghurt.
- Cottage cheese and wholegrain crackers.
- Fruit smoothie made with semi-skimmed milk.
- Air popped popcorn.
6) Exercise often – researchers have found that exercise boosts blood flow to a brain area involved in memory, even in people who aren’t in top shape, and therefore exercising may boost memory.
- Suitable exercises – walking, swimming, running, cycling, or a home exercise video.
7) Sleep well - planning, problem solving, learning, concentration and alertness are all effected by lack of sleep. So get a good 7/8 hours each night.
Bloggers beware of the cookie monster syndrome! Make sure your brain is in top condition by feeding it what it really wants, and believe me, it isn’t cookies!