There is nothing worse than attending meetings, presentations, exams and formulating creative ideas with a brain that feels like it is running on reserves. With over 6 000 thoughts a day, we all want to capitalise on our best thinking moments. The problem is that by the time we realise our brains are tired, it is often too late to do anything about it!
As the most complex organ in the body, the brain is governed by what we eat – determining concentration levels, memory retention, the aptitude for recalling names, places and events, intelligence, learning ability and preventing age-related memory decline.
“Your brain consumes more glucose than any other organ. On a sedentary day, your brain can consume up to 40% of all the carbohydrates you eat – that’s why you get hungry after exams! Any imbalance in the supply of glucose to the brain and you can experience poor concentration, excessive thirst and forgetfulness,” says Patrick.
Get your neurons firing again and back in control with Patrick’s brain-friendly diet:
- Eat wholefoods – Focus on wholegrains, lentils, beans, nuts, seeds, fresh fruit and vegetables. Avoid refined and overcooked foods.
- Avoid sugar – Stay away from foods with any hidden/added sugars. Read labels and learn to look out for hidden sugars.
- Five servings of fruit and veg a day – Choose dark green, leafy and root vegetables such as sweet potatoes, broccoli, spinach or peppers. Apples, berries, plums or citrus fruit are good choices for fruits, while bananas, grapes and potatoes should be eaten in moderation as they contain a lot of natural sugar.
- Wholegrains on a daily basis – Aim for four or more servings per day of wholegrains such as brown rice, millet, rye, oats, wholewheat, corn or quinoa. Avoid refined ‘white’ foods.
- Combine protein and carbohydrate foods – The secret to the Low-GL diet lies in combining proteins with slow-(sugar) releasing carbohydrates. The protein further helps to slow down the breakdown of these carbohydrates, ensuring a slow release of their sugars into your system.
- Aim for three to five eggs a week – Eggs are great “brain food” and the richest dietary source of choline and Omega-3. Choose free-range or organic.
- Eat cold-water fish – Try to eat salmon, herring or mackerel two to three times a week as they are a rich source of Omega-3 fats.
- Include seeds and cold-pressed seed oils in your diet – The best seeds to eat are raw and unsalted flax, pumpkin, sunflower and sesame. Grind them up to acquire all of their nutrients, and sprinkle them over salads or soups. Good oil choices are flaxseed and hemp. Drizzle over salads instead of a dressing, or over vegetables instead of butter. Do not cook with these oils, as their essential fats are damaged by heat.
- Reduce fats – Minimise the intake of fatty fried food, processed food and saturated fat from meat and dairy products.
- Maximise on nutrients – It’s not always easy to ensure you are getting the right nutrients for optimum brain functioning every day, which is why it is helpful to supplement with Patrick Holford’s Advanced Brain Food.