I’m not talking about some magic pill, but a combined effort of what is good for the rest of your body also being essential to keeping your brain sharp and focused. I’m writing this article in the middle of the week, in the middle of my day, both of which are “slower” times for me than the beginning or the end. What did I do to focus? One of my favorite food combinations right now: Greek yogurt, a “little cutie” orange, and a handful (sort of—1 serving) of almonds, followed by my last coffee of the day. Some of you will say “YUK!” Others may go right out and try it…My intent is to eat something to boost my energy quickly (orange), protein (yogurt and a little in almonds), good fats (almonds), and the phytonutrients and mild stimulant/diuretic (coffee). I can now concentrate, my oxygen intake is better, I’m ready to think. If I had felt really in a fog, I might include a brisk walk, dance around the room for a few songs, or maybe just put my feet up, close my eyes, and “meditate.” All of these CAN be used to focus!
Let’s look at some things that might work for you!
- Caffeine has been both savior and devil in our society. For most, it’s the wake-up “juice” they need to be alert, but also tends to be a mild diuretic, decreasing excess water retention, and sometimes helping relieve a severe headache. (Check your OTC migraine meds; most of them contain some caffeine.) Too much can make some jittery and unfocused. This is one that I find varies vastly from one of my clients to another!
- Sugar, (yes, I said the s-word—but in this case I mean any food that produces glucose), yields not only instant energy for muscles, but also the fuel for our brain to function properly. Too much at one time gives our kids that “sugar high,” with a corresponding crash. Mixed with lean protein and good fats to slow it down, it gives us sustained energy and thinking power!
- Regular (timed and planned) and consistent (well-balanced) “meals” will yield both your body and brain the fuels they need to function. DON’T skip the first one of the day…Your body is starving for nourishment, and so is your brain.
- Omega-3 rich foods are essential to brain function and development. They lower dementia and stroke risks, slow mental decline, and are vital to memory function.
- Other good fats (mufas—mono-unsaturated fats) such as dark chocolate, nuts, seeds, avocados, olives and their oils, contribute to healthy blood flow, therefore oxygenation of cells, and clearer thinking.
- Whole grains, whole fruits and vegetables, with all of their fiber and phytonutrients, help us stay healthy, in both mind and body.
- WATER! It’s amazing what hydration or lack of can do to your thinking process! Feel in a fog—try hydrating!
- Vitamins/minerals/supplements?? Check with your doctor! Many supplements are only beneficial if your diet is deficient (the balancing, planned part we’ve been talking about), or your body is unable to produce or absorb that nutrient on its own.
- ALONG WITH ALL THESE INGESTED THINGS:
- Sufficient Sleep
- Meditate—Allow your mind to rest and flow.
Linda Cook BS, CPT 937-369-7363 firstname.lastname@example.org