the role of nutrition should not be underestimated when it comes to productivity. Just like bad fuel will make your car run slower or even damage the engine, your food choices have a huge impact on your productivity and finally your level of success.
Actually, that is a pretty good comparison - we all now what happens when you put sugar in the tank of your car (;
One of the first things I read in the news this morning is that McDonalds Japan is releasing a 48-Chicken McNuggets Menu in Japan. Facebook suggest as "trending news" that Pringles will add some holiday flavors.
One of the sites I follow posted about dangerous ingredients in "Fruit Loops" (surprise.....). It seems that the awareness for the importance of eating "good" foods is still not at the level I would wish for.
But when I checked my email a friendly reader of my blog had sent me this awesome picture that I need to share with you:
Mother nature provides everything we need to stay healthy and fit.
Nuts have proteins which aid in building and repairing our body tissues. All kinds of nuts are known to contain phytosterols, antioxidants and unsaturated fats like omega-3 fatty acids. Fatty acids are essential for normal functioning of the brain.
Nuts are a good source of neuroprotective compounds as well as minerals, melatonin, folate, antioxidants and vitamin E which improve the brainpower.
People under a lot of stress can benefit from consuming nuts. Also, research has shown that especially walnuts improve brain health by improving inferential reasoning in children.
Nuts should be eaten in moderation and raw. If possible chose organic nuts. Nuts are not a low calorie food.
Let´s put the spotlight on one of my second favorite nuts:
Cashews contain minerals such as zinc and magnesium - excellent brain-boosters. Magnesium is vital because it has been shown to improve learning skills and regulate sleeping patterns. Zinc is beneficial for the brain because low levels of the mineral can cause depression.
Cashews also contain vitamin B (thiamine), which has shown to boost better moods in women and mental energy and better moods in women, in addition, vitamin E when in low levels is linked to poor cognition.
Vegetables and Fruits in general
Vegetables and fruits help to remove free radicals from our body because they are good sources of antioxidants and they help in improving our brainpower.
Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli and cauliflower) are the vegetables that boost the brain power big time. They contain choline (a vitamin B) that known for supporting brain development.
Fruits and vegetables also contain antioxidants like zeaxanthin and lutein, which protect the body against the ultraviolet rays and also boost your brainpower.
Some of us are not very fond of veggies and fruits but increasing your brainpower is a pretty great argument, right?
Eating whole grains will help in supplying energy to the brain. To be able to focus on our daily activities, we need a steady and adequate supply of energy which is transported as glucose from our bloodstream to the brain.
The vital point is to ensure that natural whole grain are consumed as the essential vitamins and minerals are not present in refined grains, thereby making the grain not to boost our brain power.
Read HERE why grains should still be consumed in moderation.
Lycopene is a color pigment and antioxidant present in tomatoes; it supports the brain function by removing free radicals that take part in the development of dementia.
Glucose is the primary fuel our brain needs for energy. Moreover, our brain can run on more than two types of fuel, one being ketoacids or ketones (ketone bodies), Ketones are a by-product of fat when glucose is converted to energy by the process known as ketosis.
Coconut oil is such a versatile product with nearly unlimited benefits that I have dedicated a separate article to it. Read HERE
Celery is a good source of luteolin, a plant compound that calm inflammation in our brain. Inflammation is a main cause of neurodegeneration.
Experiments have shown that Luteolin can cause lower rates of memory loss in mice, and older mice that consume foods supplemented with luteolin improve on memory and learning tasks. Peppers and carrots are also good sources of luteolin.
The great thing is that people who make changes to their diet notice the extra power and that they can concentrate better within days.
Did you know that your diet could be sabotaging your success?
The food we eat is not only important for our overall health, but is most important for our brain health and therefore, your success in all aspects of your life.
A short while ago the German media was going berserk on a producer of salmon spread. Why? Because he was honest. The translation of the part marked red is:
"Can affect activity and concentration of kids." (ADHS)
Let´s ignore for now that this is not a problem of one producer who was honest enough to print it on the label. Most processed food and junk food contains these or other as harmful additives.
Let´s also ignore that ADHS is widely unknown in countries that eat natural foods and just consider it established that food and food additives do influence our brain functions.
Food producers know this. What you eat might not make or break your career but definitely make it easier or harder. A simple "2-day healthy food" test would surprise unhealthy eaters as they would immediately notice that they have way more energy, better concentration, less fatigue.
In our competitive times we all want our brain to perform at its peak, right?
Let’s look at 4 foods that are bad for the brain and could be harming your effort to be successful.
Foods That Are Bad For The Brain
Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a flavor enhancer that is added to our food. There are many afflictions that happen to lab animals after consuming MSG. We, as humans, are five times more sensitive to MSG, particularly when consumed over a lifetime.
MSG causes the brain to miswire, especially during the first few years of life. This messes up nearly all aspects of brain function. This includes behavior, intelligence, and hormones. When fed MSG, animal studies have shown a significant increase in the failure to complete complex tasks.
It has been found to damage the centers of the brain that control learning, social control, memory and social interaction.
MSG is found in foods that are labeled with the word “glutamate”. Avoiding this additive could be the very best thing you will ever do for your brain. Food producers hide MSG´s behind several different names as well.
It’s estimated that American’s eat 79 pounds of sugar per year. The not-so-sweet effects that consuming sugar are inflammation that causes neuronal and vascular damage and constant insulin spikes.
Large amounts of sugar cause the brain’s memory control center to become inflamed, resulting in this center not working at 100%. Also, increased intake of sugar has been shown to be linked to depression. It is safe to say that depression is not a career helper.
Studies have shown that people eating higher than normal amounts of sugar performed more poorly on a memory test than those people who didn’t add sugar to their diets. It concluded that eating a high-sugar diet for as little as one week, was enough to impair our memory.
If you see “partially hydrogenated oils” in the list of ingredients on the food that you are eating, you are harming not only your heart but also causing major brain drain. These “partially hydrogenated oils” are code for trans fats.
Diets that are high in trans fats have been shown to increase beta-amyloid, a peptide plaque, that deposit in our brains and is associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
A study published in the magazine Neurology found that people that ate high levels of trans fats had a lower cognitive ability.
Foods that are the main culprits include baked goods, processed foods, and fried foods.
This type of fat is not to be mistaken for "good fats". Our body needs good fats, they are good for us and our brain and they are even essential for weight-loss. Trans fat is bad fat.
4. Saturated Fat
A small amount of saturated fat is okay, but if your diet is high in this, it can decrease your brain’s ability to battle the formation of Alzheimer’s brain plaque. There are some exceptions to the rule like in example coconut oil.
Vegetarians who are looking for healthy protein alternatives can read HERE
If you binge on saturated fat, the onslaught will hurt your brain in the short-term. It impairs the brain’s ability to form new memories and learn, as soon as 10 minutes after consumption. Saturated fats in the amounts we typically consume it can lead to other health problems as well.
While several studies suggest that saturated fats cause disease and brain problems, in my personal opinion and experience this is partly true.
A large part of the problem is a) that we eat too much animal-based food and b) that we eat too much processed food (and in general) and meat of low quality - often in combination with other unhealthy foods, like sandwich bread, sausage and such.
As you can see, these 4 foods can cause numerous harmful changes in our brains. When our concentration, memory, and intelligence is compromised, our success in any venture in life will ultimately be damaged. We aren’t able to move forward to fulfill our dreams and goals, whether they be in our business life or our personal growth.
We must keep in mind that the small mistakes we make do sum up until they finally punish us in the form of a disease. We can make sure that our brain functions at peak level by consuming the right food.
It´s not about eating the perfect food all of the time. That would be the ideal but is often hard to realize when you have a busy career.
If you just implement the minor or major changes you can your brain and overall health will thank you.
Self-help books, media, tv shows - on a daily basis we receive wellness and health tips for different areas.
Shouldn´t we give the 46 ounces of nerve cells the same level of attention we give the rest of our bodies?
Your brain will love the following tips:
1. Use salt sparingly
I do not want to be the bearer of bad news again after recommending to remove sugar from your diet but sodium is another "bad guy" that needs some attention.
JAMA Neurology published a study that came to the conclusion that sodium is one of the factors that promotes high blood pressure. Studies prove without a doubt that sodium is a major contributor to high blood pressure.
A high blood pressure will increase the susceptibility for cognitive decline.
On average the mental decline caused by high blood pressure was rather small but high blood pressure also increases the likelihood of suffering a stroke. Most of the time a stroke causes severe brain damage.
2. Get enough sleep
Slowly, we are starting to understand the full impact of sufficient sleep on our brain health.
How important recuperative and recreative sleep is, clearly shows when we did not sleep enough. Irritability and concentration problems are obvious consequences, but a lack of sleep also affects our memory.
In addition to that, a lack of sleep has negative long-term consequences. While we sleep our brain removes degradation products. If the length of sleep is not sufficient, these degradation products can lead to inflammatory processes that impact the brain health negatively.
3. Protect your hearing
Our ears are one of the organs that suffer most from environmental changes. A few generations ago, church bells were probably the loudest sound. Nowadays our ears are exposed to constant background noises and loud sounds.
From the noise in a club, headsets to traffic noise - our ears hardly get a break. The number of people with hearing impairment is on the rise.
A study of the John Hopkins University showed that hearing impaired people have a 30 - 40 % higher chance to suffer cognitive declines.
Therefore, it is recommended to protect your ears as much as you can. Meditation also is a great form of treating your body and mind to silence.
4. Mind your weight
Did you know that healthy weight is a big contributor to your brain health?
In 2012 Neurology (a leading specialist magazine) published a long-term study. 6000 participants, on average 50 years old, have been examined for their cognitive functions. 10 years later the participants have been examined again.
Overweight participants showed a 22 % larger decline in cognitive abilities than participants with normal weight.
5. Maintain friendships
A person with few social contacts is not necessarily lonely. A person in a huge crowd of people can feel lonely. The number of "likes" on social media is not reflecting the number of meaningful relationships a person has.
As with many things in life, it is about quality and not quantity.
Loneliness leads to stress that can promote inflammatory processes in the brain. A study by the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago came to the result that of 1000 participants (aged over 80) the ones with the least amount of social contacts showed the largest cognitive decline.
Our brain health depends on many factors. Some factors we cannot influence - like our genetic disposition. Others are in our control.
The purpose of this article is to remind you that your brain is a precious treasure that needs your attention just like other parts of your body.
Read more brain, weight loss and health articles HERE