I have been in sales for about thirteen years and the past four and a half years have been with the same company. My current company is a very recognizable Fortune 500 company, and I have loved my job and time here.
One of the really interesting and unusual experiences about working for this company is the level of collaboration among the sales people… instead of the usual competition that one would face in a sales organization, people actually work together. I’ve worked in sales for the entertainment industry and the shipping industry – and everywhere I went, the company culture was to employ competitiveness among sales folk. It’s very different here. The difference is that we share knowledge because the more you know, and let the other person know, the more successful everyone is overall. A great mentality and a warm environment.
Every week, someone from my team is responsible for sharing a motivational article for the week. One of my colleagues found this article from WebMD, and I found it fascinating, as you know, there has been a direct correlation between food and my energy levels as of late.
FOODS TO EAT FOR BRAIN POWER
1. Caffeine, with a Caveat
“Coffee is good in the short term,” says Somer. “One or two cups can improve alertness and brain power temporarily.
“But if you keep going back for cup and after cup, you’ll be too rattled to think clearly. If you’re fueling your day with caffeine, it exacerbates the problems and adds to fatigue. You can go through caffeine withdrawal. It’s definitely a double-edged sword.”
“It can boost concentration, help you focus, and also provide antioxidants,” she says.
2. Quality Carbs for Concentration
“Eating a small carb snack before a test – a whole-wheat English muffin with a little peanut butter and a glass of orange juice, will help boost concentration and brainpower, and is better than going in on an empty stomach,” Somer says.
“Quality (complex) carbs, not jelly beans or a Snickers bar, can supply the brain with the fuel it needs to operate optimally.”
But she warns against too much of a good thing: “If you have a big plate of pasta and some bread at lunch before a meeting, you’re going to want to take a siesta.”
3. Glucose for Memory
Everyone has heard of the “sugar high.” But is it real, and is it a good thing?
A small study of older adults examined this issue: they were given a sweet drink or other carbs – and those participants fared better on memory tests than others who were given a placebo.
Somer says you’ll get more bang for your buck with whole grains (that is, healthy complex carbs) rather than a quick hit of sugar.
“You’ll get the glucose level you need without the spikes,” she says
4. Natural Brain Foods for Cognition: Dark Fruits and Veggies for Antioxidants
“The antioxidants in fruits and vegetables protect the brain from oxidants that damage delicate cell membranes and brain cells, and may cause dementia,” Somer says. “Maintaining a high antioxidant level is important for cognition and memory.”
Look for darker colored fruits and vegetables for highest levels. Most nutritionists name blueberries as the ultimate antioxidant powerhouse.
5. Natural Brain Foods for Alertness: Fish for Omega-3s
“People who eat lots of omega-3s maintain brain capacity, concentration and alertness much better,” says Somer.
Kulze recommends getting your omega-3 fatty acids from oily, cold-water fish, such as salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines and trout.
“Wild Alaskan salmon is best,” Kulze says. “It has a lot of omega-3s, plus other brain nutrients such as the B vitamins and selenium.”
Aim for three servings per week. You can also get omega 3s in fortified eggs.
6. Natural Brain Foods for Memory: Spinach, Broccoli, and Beans for B Vitamins
“Vitamins like B-6 and B-12 are important in maintaining your nervous system in general and are associated with improved memory and alertness,” Somer says.
While B-12 and folic acid (folate) are best absorbed in supplement form, she says, “be aware that as you get older you need more B-12. Foods like spinach, broccoli, or beans are a good source of folate.”
Don’t Skip Breakfast
Hunger hinders concentration. Period. Breakfast will get your neurons popping. And here’s one of the best natural brain foods to get your day off right: oatmeal.
“Steel-cut oats would be a great choice,” Kulze says. “They are an excellent source of glucose delivered over a long period of time.”
But Do Skip the Late Nights
No amount of food can help if you’re not getting enough rest. Get a good night’s sleep, and when you wake up, select foods that will stimulate your taste buds – and your brain as well.
I remember eating chocolate pudding and tuna in a can when I was studying for finals because I thought that was brain food! Apparently, I was a little off.
On a side note- I also learned that eggs and coconut water are great for hangovers. Who knew?!