A workday can be long and exhausting. The morning’s sleepiness is followed by the midday low, and without a coffee break, motivation may well clock out mid-afternoon. How can nutrition support mental performance, concentration and a good mood? We have 5 clever tips that will get you through the day full of energy and motivation.
1. Complex carbohydrates for stable blood sugar levels
Northing's better than a roll with jam for breakfast! However, after having enjoyed a sweet breakfast, people often get really hungry by mid-morning. Complex carbohydrates will prevent that from happening because they keep blood sugar levels and consequently energy levels stable throughout the day. Good sources are oats, wholemeal bread and noodles, soy products and legumes. All of these can also be part of a good packed lunch. As snacks for in between you should choose nuts, raisins and fruits instead of sweet treats such as chocolate or cake. This will keep you focused and balanced from morning till night. I always find the transition from breakfast to lunch box a little hard.
2. Unsaturated fatty acids for your brain
Did you know? Our brain uses up around 20 % of the energy we ingest every day. To keep it working optimally, you should supply it with enough high-quality food. Walnuts for example contain a particularly large amount of unsaturated fatty acids, but hazelnuts, peanuts or pumpkin seeds also contain healthy minerals such as zinc as well as B vitamins and essential amino acids. Fatty types of fish such as salmon, mackerel or herring also contain lots of omega−3 fatty acids that boost the brain cells’ performance. Three meals with fish per week are recommended, but even replacing a cutlet with a salmon filet will help your body to better sustain its most important administrative organ.
3. Lots of liquids for well-supplied organs
When your concentration is at an absolute low point, you may be tempted to place your head directly under the coffee dispenser, mouth wide open. 2 to 6 cups of this stimulant a day are even healthy, but what is more important is drinking enough water. This should be at least 1.5 litres a day, because your body and brain are only optimally supplied with nutrients and can only work as they should if they are properly hydrated. Mineral water or unsweetened tea are ideal. If pure water tastes too boring for you, you can use cucumber slices, pieces of ginger, fresh berries or a couple of mint leaves to add some flavour and additional vitamins to your drink.
4. Colourful berries for healthy cells
Red berries not only taste good, they are also veritable brain food. The antioxidants they contain protect the cells and, it seems, protect the synapses in the brain, which are vital for storing memories. Instead of exotic superfoods such as goji berries or chokeberries you can eat local fruits from Grandma’s garden: blueberries, blackberries or blackcurrants. Additionally, they provide lots of vitamin C for a strong immune system. You can buy the berries frozen throughout the year and use them in a fruit juice mix, for example.
5. Veritable power snacks instead of glucose for top performance
Many people swear by a sugary energy kick before important meetings or exams and always have a packet of glucose sweets with them. However, if you really wish to remain productive on the long run, you should wave goodbye to this alleged helper as soon as you can. As with any other type of sugar, glucose will make your blood insulin levels shoot up, but this only works for a short time and is then followed by an energy low - which is really not helpful if your exam isn’t over yet. If your body is otherwise well supplied with all of the necessary nutrients, adrenaline will regulate the supply of extra energy in stress situations, making glucose and other performance boosters unnecessary. However, if you would like to give yourself a little boost, bananas, grapes or dried fruits are the better suppliers of glucose, additionally providing you with healthy minerals and fibre.