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Tips for Smarter Living: Spring Clean Your Diet for Workplace Success

Posted By Administration, Thursday, April 5, 2018
Many women use spring as a time to try to lose weight for summer, why not try to improve the quality of our food choices to get the most we can out of our busy schedules without feeling deprived?
Food affects your brain. To function at your highest performance, your mind needs nutrient-rich and low glycemic foods. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and foods with B vitamins, antioxidants and essential fats.
Here is a list of tips your brain will thank you for:
Snack between meals: Eat a snack that's high in protein and complex carbohydrates between your regular meals. Cottage cheese, fruit, yogurt, tuna, hard-boiled eggs, protein-bars, an apple with peanut butter, and trail mix (heavy on the nuts, not the dried fruit and candy) are all great high-protein snacks.
Water: Stop dehydrating yourself! The minor signs of dehydration include lethargy, headaches, aches and pains, and a general sense of confusion called brain fog. Staying well hydrated is as simple as developing the habit of regularly drinking water. Aim for 90 ounces a day.
Spinach: Whether it's steamed, sautéed, or in a salad, spinach will help you remember facts and figures for that late-afternoon strategy session when your mind begins to go mushy.Research shows the lutein, folate and B vitamins in spinach can improve mental alertness and memory. And the antioxidants in spinach act as bodyguards for your brain, protecting them from free-radical damage that can cause memory loss and cognitive decline.
Beets: The natural nitrates in this root vegetable actually boost blood flow to your brain, according to researchers at Wake Forest University. This not only enhances mental performance, it also increases energy, to help you avoid that mid-afternoon slump.
Olive oil: This healthy fat is scientifically proven to help learning and memory. So it's a good choice for dipping your bread or drizzling on your salad if you want to be sure to retain information from that upcoming meeting. Olive oil has high levels of vitamin K, which studies show can help your brain process information faster. It's also packed with polyphenols, which can actually reverse learning and memory deficits. Studies show it can even protect the brain against Alzheimer's.
Salmon: Want to be laser-focused this afternoon? Salmon has DHA and omega-3 fatty acids, which not only increase brain function and concentration. Mackerel, herring, sardines and anchovies among other fish with "smart fats."
Tomatoes: Whether you choose them in salad, sauce or soup, tomatoes have high levels of lycopene, an antioxidant that helps fight free radicals. Those are the pesky chemicals that damage brain cells. So eating tomatoes can help prevent that damage, which in turn helps you think more logically and solve problems more constructively. Have you noticed that tomatoes have a slight sweetness? Eating tomatoes early in your meal is a great way to fulfill sugar cravings without spiking your blood sugar.
Eggs: Your next business brunch can boost your brain function and make you more alert, if you go for the omelet, the scramble, or the benedict. Packed with supportive antioxidants, eggs can also give you more energy and better concentration. The yolks are especially beneficial for brain function, because of a nutrient called choline, which a recent study links to better performance on cognitive tests.
Bananas: A banana contains about 25 grams of glucose, our brains work best with a small amount circulating in our bloodstream, so snacking on a banana can help us sustain our brainpower.
Dark Chocolate: Science says dark chocolate can lift your mood and fuel your focus. That's because of powerful antioxidants called flavonoids, which improve memory, learning and decision making. Dark chocolate also contains magnesium to help you de-stress, and a small amount of caffeine, to make you more alert. So if you're looking to increase your focus, decrease your stress level, and satisfy your sweet tooth, go ahead and splurge on a dark chocolate dessert. Science supports it.
Remember, diets filled with energy drinks, fast food and sugar negatively affects your mood, learning and memory, whereas diets filled with fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds can enhance your concentration and outlook. If we were to snack on something high in sugar, like a handful of M&Ms, then we risk a blood sugar spike followed by a crash. The result? Low energy and low productivity. Better choices will keep you fueled for maximum performance.
Contributed by:  Debbie Story, Corporate Identity, Inc.

Professional Women's Club of Chicago, PWCC is a Chicago based networking organization that provides networking connections that support, enrich and inspire women to advance professionally and personally. Members come from public and private sectors, multi-billion dollar corporations, mid-size and small businesses, as well as, non-profit organizations. Membership is open to women from all industries in all stages of their careers who want to develop a strong lifelong network. Learn more about membership and upcoming activities



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