Why is it we do so much to use “quick acting” things to give us that afternoon “pick me up”? Perhaps its time we put more focus on eating foods that will keep our brain healthy long term?
Some of the nutrients related to our brain health include:
- Omega 3’s – these “good fats” are found in fish. They help with the structure of brain cells so communication runs smoothly in our brain
- Iron – iron plays an essential role in carrying oxygen around in the blood. Often we feel tired and run down if our iron levels are low.
- Carbs –We know quick acting carbs (sugary things like soft drinks, energy drinks, chips and lollies) only give us a “lift” for a short time. Once their effect wears off we can feel tired, irritable and usually worse.
- Caffeine – caffeine in tea, coffee, coke and energy drinks can make some people feel anxious, find it hard to switch off and relax.
- Water – if you think about it, the brain is made up of 80% water. If we don’t take in enough water it’s not going to function as good as it should. We can feel tired and headachy.
- Vitamins – there are many vitamins and minerals linked with how we feel. E.g. if we don’t eat enough B vitamins, vitamin C, zinc and magnesium we can find it difficult to concentrate, remember things, sleep properly and even feel happy.
What can you do to feed your brain?
- Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water and avoid sugary drinks like soft drinks and energy drinks.
- Trial a few weeks without caffeine. you might feel a bit rubbish at first. With time though, you might feel a bit better and less reliant on it
- Include fish in your diet. Oily fish like salmon, tuna and mackerel are a great source of Omega 3’s. You can also get Omega 3 supplements if you don’t like fish
- Eat lean red meat. It’s a great source of protein and iron. If you don’t eat red meat have foods like lentils, eggs, chick peas, baked beans, tofu or nuts. We need protein foods at least twice/day
- Eat at least 2 pieces of fruit/day and loads of vegies at lunch and dinner. This will ensure you are taking in plenty of the different vitamins we need
- Eat only slow acting or low GI carbohydrate foods (carbs). These are foods like wholegrain bread, wholegrain crackers, muesli, porridge, sweet potato and pasta. The less processed the better
- Cut back on food & drinks high in sugar and unhealthy fats. E.g. fried takeaway foods, lollies, chips, chocolate, cakes, biscuits, soft drinks, cordials and energy drinks