FOOD FOR A HEALTHY MIND
Whether you need to be focused for a business meeting, or calm your nerves after a stressful day, food plays an important role in helping you achieve that required frame of mind. In turn, the way you feel can make a difference in how successfully you work, study and interact with others. This happens due to the hormonal influence that food has on our bodies. It influences production and functioning of chemicals in the brain (neurotransmitters) that influence our behaviour.
What to eat when you want to be alert
When you want to give an exam, make a presentation or crack a deal, you want to be at your sharpest best. To achieve this, you must eat at least two hours before you perform. Don’t drink any alcohol at least one day before the D-day. The breakfast you eat should be low on fat. Fat takes longer to digest and slows you down mentally. Eat good quality protein before your performance, as it helps keep you full for a longer duration and does not bring about unnecessary hunger pangs. Eating protein helps tyrosine (an amino acid) reach your brain. Tyrosine helps with the production of the alertness chemical, dopamine, as well as norepinephrine. When the brain produces these chemicals, distinct changes in your behaviour take place; people tend to think more clearly, react positively.
A good breakfast would ideally include:
A bowl of partially-cooked sprouted moong mixed with a salad, and one cup low-fat curd. You can have your tea or coffee as usual.
A glass of tomato, carrot and beetroot juice along with 10-15 almonds, and a fruit.
A glass of carrot and spinach juice, along with two egg whites and a toast (whole wheat bread).
A bowl of channa, rajma or chowli and a fruit. Eating up to 3/4th of your daily capacity prevents you from feeling sleepy and less alert. The trick is to eat low-fat light food and more protein two hours before you perform. You could also take a B-complex tablet with a vitamin C supplement that morning. B-complex helps convert food into energy, and makes you feel extremely motivated and energetic. Vitamin C can help in stressful situations, as it nullifies the free radicals produced as a result of stress.
These strategies, however, would not apply to those with any serious physical or psychological problems.
A healthy breakfast can include a glass of carrot and spinach juice