Few would argue the fact that great athletic performance starts with a great diet. For decades, scientists have published studies supporting the link between what you eat and how your body functions.
Your brain is undoubtedly a part of your body. Like your muscles, it needs proper nutrition to perform at its peak, too! In fact, recent research indicates an equally strong connection between a good diet and great work performance. The right foods can improve your memory, focus, cognitive processing and mood.
So if you rely on energy drinks or candy bars to get you through the work day, these nutrients may do a better job for you – and help you be an even better manager:
- Monounsaturated Fats. These “good for you” fats contribute to healthy blood flow in the brain, offering a tasty way to fuel mental processes. Consume more avocados, sunflower/safflower oils and almonds.
- Vitamin E. This essential vitamin may help preserve cognitive functioning as we age. Add a few servings of nuts and seeds to your diet each week to get more vitamin E.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids. These compounds slow mental decline and may play a vital role in enhancing memory as we age. Add salmon, walnuts or ground flax seeds to your diet.
- Choline. Choline is involved in the body’s production of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that boosts memory. Healthy options include wheat germ and eggs.
- Anthocyanin. Thought to be responsible for neuron protection, this powerful antioxidant may enhance both learning and memory. Blueberries, tart cherries and pomegranates are all good sources.
- Tyrosine. Tyrosine creates epinephrine and norepinephrine, which regulate mood, alertness and attention span. Seaweed, eggs and cottage cheese are all excellent sources.
- Tryptophan. In a high-stress environment, this helps improve mood and lower levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. Try chicken, soybeans, and yes – turkey.
- Caffeine. Thank goodness, right? In moderate amounts, caffeine can energize you and boost your mental acuity. Coffee and dark chocolate are popular choices.
- H2O. Yep – good old water is essential for proper cognitive functioning. When you’re dehydrated, your brain tissue actually shrinks (and so does your IQ!).
The moral of this post? To be a better manager, feed your brain! Add these essential nutrients to your diet, and give your mind what it needs to perform at its best, every day.
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