Eat to increase alertness
Acommon complaint among most executives, students and professionals is that they find it difficult to concentrate and stay alert. Common excuses for the same are stress, lack of sleep or distraction due to underlying personal problems. Thus, to increase the alertness level, people often take refuge in caffeinated beverages like tea and coffee, and end up getting addicted to them.
But are you aware that even diet can play an important role in either making you sluggish, or in fine-tuning your mind? By making some small dietary changes, you can increase your mental alertness as well as improve your performance by several notches.
It’s all in the ABC (Alert Brain Chemicals)
The entire game of keeping the brain alert or making it drowsy, sleepy or exhausted is the result of interplay between a few brain chemicals — norepinephrine (NE), dopamine and serotonin. Research suggests that people are more alert when the brain produces higher levels of dopamine and norepinephrine, while serotonin has a more calming and anxiety-reducing effect, often making the person drowsy. Dopamine and norepinephrine have the ability to offset the effect of serotonin, thus increasing alertness and concentration. So, eating carbohydrate-rich rice or pasta makes a person calm or sluggish, whereas eating protein-rich fish or sprouts at lunch makes a person more alert.
Quick guide for an alert diet
A diet that boosts concentration levels works great for those who constantly complain about poor attention span. Some recommendations on foods to keep concentration high are:
Eggs in any form provide good-quality protein necessary for sustained alertness in the morning.
Eat protein first and carbohydrates later, if you want to feel alert. For example, eat the fish first, and then the bread.
Do not eat carbs on an empty stomach. Doing so will make you feel sleepy.
Avoid large, greasy meals. Eating large meals makes you lethargic. The fattier or heavier the meal, the more lethargic you feel.
Hydrate yourself with 8-10 glasses of water daily, as it leads to good blood circulation in the brain. Those who complain of poor concentration tend to be dehydrated.
Break up the entire day’s calorie intake into four to five small meals. They prevent dip in blood-sugar levels and hence, prevent a drop in performance levels associated with lower alertness.
Meditation can help to sharpen mental skills.
Eggs in any form provide good quality protein necessary for sustained alertness