Stronger Mental Acuity Requires Focus On Your Food Choices
“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”—Virginia Woolf
The workplace environment of corporate executives and business owners typically requires engaging in high-priority decision-making, execution and implementation of the “corporate mission.” These activities can sometimes lead to mental fatigue especially when they involve “cognitive” tasks for an extended period of time.
In today’s high competitive world, temporary mental fatigue can produce decrements in sustained performance and productivity and impair the ability to assess corporate risk or reward.
The right food choices
The right food choices may be an effective antidote for the mental malaise. Abundant research suggests that without adequate nutrients, the brain’s ability to focus, remember information and perform other cognitive functions can be compromised.
Foods fuel the brain
Foods fuel the brain—an adult human brain is about 2% of total body weight and extracts roughly 20% of the body’s daily calories.
The brain is a highly active organ that relies on glucose for fuel. Its main source of glucose comes either directly from carbohydrate-containing food and drinks or is produced by the body from non-carbohydrate sources.
The brain’s uptake of glucose increases when faced with mentally demanding tasks and therefore, dips in glucose availability may impact mental acuity.
Dr. David Mischoulon
Dr. David Mischoulon, Director of Research at Massachusetts General Hospital states, “a healthy diet supplies brain cells with energy and provides the chemicals needed for essential activities such as facilitating communication among cells, protecting brain tissue from injury, repairing cell damage and promoting the formation of new brain cells and connections. The brain demands plentiful amounts of vitamins, minerals, fats and other nutrients to maintain peak mental performance.”
In addition, Dr. Mischoulon states that the nutritional components of a person’s overall diet affects the chemistry of the brain in a number of ways. Levels of brain chemicals such as the neurotransmitters dopamine, acetylcholine and serotonin are directly related to what we eat.
It is suggested that the excessive consumption of certain foods can decrease the effectiveness of these neurotransmitters in the brain, while conversely, other foods can help maintain an efficient balance of neurotransmitters. Foods high in antioxidants, essential fatty acids and other molecules are needed for good brain health.
Therefore, an optimal should include these nutrient rich foods: a variety of green/colored vegetables, seasonal fruits, whole-grains, low-fat dairy, beans, lean meat, fish, nuts and seeds.
Next- Next time you hit that 3pm brain fog, try reaching for these