3 Nutrition Tips For Sustained Cognitive Performance

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3 Nutrition Tips For Sustained Cognitive Performance

Nutrition is perhaps one of the most underrated elements of cognitive performance in the workplace and it’s not surprising. For most of us food is associated with our bodies: with losing or gaining weight, with comfort. But if you are interested in improving your cognitive performance, it is important to remember that you need to eat to fuel your brain.

Are you familiar with the 11am and 3pm “brain drain”? Then it’s quite likely that you’re not putting enough thought into your diet, and enough sustainable energy into your body to feed your brain.

Our concentration levels are directly linked to the glucose levels in our bodies. That’s why you start to feel groggy at 11am (3 to 4 hours after breakfast and an hour or two before lunch). If you want to improve your cognitive performance have a look at these tips to help you make smarter food choices.


Don’t Make Food Decisions When You Are Hungry

When you are hungry, your self-control is at its lowest. Your conscious mind knows that a burger is not a healthy food choice, but your body wants its fuel. The burger is cheaper and faster to order. It’s a battle you will probably lose if you are unprepared.

Sure, sometimes you may want to eat out, but decide where you are going to eat before lunch time. Think about what you are going to order ahead of time too. If you’d like to find out more about the concept of decision fatigue, read this blog article: The Art of Avoiding Decision Fatigue or Ego Depletion.


Don’t Allow Yourself To Get Starving Hungry In The First Place

Reconsider what you eat and how often you eat it. A large breakfast or carbohydrate-rich lunch might give you the instant gratification you seek, but a major glucose intake is likely to make you crash a little while later.

Eating smaller snacks at shorter intervals throughout the day will help you to maintain consistent glucose levels. This also requires some preparation. Make containers of nuts, low GI fruits and proteins easily accessible so that healthy eating is easier to choose than junk.


Make Healthy Food Choices

Fresh and organic fruits and vegetables are good for the mind and body, and they are essential for sustained cognitive performance. They contain high levels of anti-oxidants, which are beneficial for your memory and mood, both of which have a significant impact on your workplace performance. Remember that the brain is subject to oxidative damage, and feeding it with anti-oxidants can help to combat this.

Fruits and vegetables also contain essential nutrients which help your brain with manufacturing dopamine, a neurotransmitter that helps you stay engaged and motivated. Your brain also needs healthy proteins for dopamine production, so keep this in mind when making food choices.


How to improve your cognitive performance in summary:

Don’t make food choices when you are feeling hungry and low in energy; you will probably make the wrong ones. Maintain consistent glucose levels throughout the day by grazing on smaller meals that you eat more frequently. Make sure these meals are rich in fresh fruit, vegetables and lean proteins.


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