Why Food Matters to Your Focus
As an entrepreneur, concentration is the unseen currency that brings immeasurable value to your business. But mastering focus is no easy task, and adding the right foods to your diet is a great way to keep your brain running smoothly. Our brains use 20 percent of the energy produced by our bodies. Not giving it the proper nutrients leads to memory problems, fatigue and a lack of concentration – common symptoms to anyone who has suffered from temporary brain fog. If we consider food as the fuel for our brains, it becomes clear that optimal brain functioning depends on how, what and when we eat.
How: Eat for the long game.
The food we eat is broken down into glucose, or energy, which keeps our brains alert and focused. Our bloodstream acts as a fuel delivery service, bringing the necessary power to keep our minds in tune. We can choose to get our glucose from sugary snacks or fruits and whole grains, but the choices we make have consequences.
Sugary foods provide an early, but temporary boost of energy because the glucose is released into our bloodstream quickly. While sugar is fun, it can lead to a severe energy crash. The best foods for our brains – like whole grains, leafy greens, protein and fruits – release glucose slowly, providing sustained fuel over a more extended period. That’s right, a morning bowl of oatmeal and blueberries might not be as exciting as a chocolate chip muffin, but it will serve your concentration better in the long run.
What: Mind your peas and cucumbers.
Your elementary school health teacher was right – you should eat your veggies. Leafy greens are especially potent for brain function. Spinach and kale are packed with nutrients that increase brain responsiveness and memory. A neurological study found that people who ate two servings of vegetables daily showed the mental focus of people five years younger than them. Salad, please!
Fruits also help with brain focus, especially blueberries. The small but mighty berry can help you maintain your concentration five hours after you eat them. Blueberries are full of antioxidants, vitamin C, vitamin E and flavonoids, which stimulate the flow of oxygen and blood to the brain, supporting our memories and ability to learn new information.
One of the easiest things to enhance your focus is drinking more water. Our brains depend on water to provide the necessary electrical energy to operate. Drinking more water can help stave off fatigue, headaches, sleeplessness and irritability.
When: Eat small. Eat often.
Remember about thirty seconds ago when we discussed how food energy, called glucose, is released into your bloodstream either quickly or slowly depending upon what you eat? Another way to keep your brain fueled is by eating smaller meals throughout the day. Grazing on the right foods – bananas, beans or whole grain pasta – keeps your glucose levels consistent and focus sharp.
As with anything related to diet and nutrition, it’s essential to get to know what works for you as an individual, including consulting your doctors for important medical information.
However, with the underlying awareness that food matters to your brain functioning, you can start to make better decisions about what to eat to help you stay focused on your business.