Submitted by Matt Tomasino on Sun, 12/13/2015 - 13:27
You get hungry, you eat. This, along with breathing, is about the simplest human function that has maintained human evolution since day one. A no brainer, right? Well, therein lies the rub.
Few people have been taught how to choose food as a valuable tool. Most humans eat according to their hunger and their taste buds, not how their food choice will affect their body, especially their mind.
Could choosing specific foods throughout your day enhance your cognitive performance?
Believe it or not, decision making and diet go hand-in-hand and most people never connect the two.
Open4nutrition explores the mechanics of this simple, yet misunderstood process that takes just being hungry to a whole new level.
Your Body, Your Car
Most know more about their car than their own body. However, you wouldn't put water in your car’s gas tank, this could damage the engine. You wouldn’t put the wrong oil into your car as this would cause it to run sluggish and eventually break down.
Now think of your body. Filling it with processed food on a daily basis can make a big difference in not only physical, but mental performance as well.
According to ‘What You Eat Affects Your Productivity’, an article by Harvard Business Review (10/17/14),
“Food has a direct impact on our cognitive performance, which is why a poor decision at lunch can derail an entire afternoon...Just about everything we eat is converted by our body into glucose, which provides the energy our brains need to stay alert. When we’re running low on glucose, we have a tough time staying focused and our attention drifts.”
Planning Your Fuel Intake
When it comes to a weekday lunch, working people get whatever they can as fast as they can, wolf it down at their desk, and get back to work. However, planning what to choose beforehand could give you the upper hand.
Maintaining glucose levels by snacking every several hours on a handful of clean, non-processed foods like nuts, berries, seeds, sulfite/additive-free dried fruit, raw vegetables, and non-sugar, non-dairy smoothies is equivalent to keeping your gas tank topped off so you always have a full energy reserve.
Handfuls of these clean choices throughout the day will reduce spikes and dips in glucose levels which can otherwise make you feel exhausted. Eating these quick complex carbs and proteins should have you performing better in no time.
The Journal of Nutrition & Food Sciences cites a study that claims,
“The Doetinchem Cohort Study reported that higher intake of nuts was associated with a significantly better cognitive function (memory, speed, cognitive flexibility and global cognitive function) at baseline.”
Minimal Food, Maximum Decision
Recently, it was found that eating less food may enhance decision making.
A study in PloS One (10/23/14) found that,
“...people who were moderately hungry or had a moderate appetite, compared to people who were satiated or had a lower appetite, made more advantageous decisions.”
The next time you are heading into a meeting or a situation where you need to be “on,” you may want to think twice about consuming that carb laden breakfast or lunch. Being bogged down by food is most adversely associated with doing something physical but the same applies to using your brain.
When your body is trying to digest proteins, carbs, sugars and more it needs as much digestive energy as possible. Therefore, choosing the wrong foods, can result in robbing yourself of essential brain energy needed to perform important cognitive tasks.
Approach your diet as if it offers a wide range of potential fixes which can enhance your mental performance as well as alleviate minor depression, anxiety and fatigue. Get plenty of sleep, drink clean filtered water, and eat low on the food chain to stay on your toes all day long.
At Open4Nutrition we clear away the clutter and open your eyes to the many choices you have to catapult your health.
Get Smart about Nutrition™