Best Foods to Help Your Performance

Brain Foods

Best Foods to Eat To Help Your Performance

Nutrition plays a HUGE part for physical prowess but also mental dexterity so the way you eat should always be of high priority when it comes to performing your best.  The following suggestions if eaten (in reasonable proportions of course) can help you do more and produce better results.

1. Nuts!  They contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats to help keep your arteries clear and blood flowing freely without any restrictions, as well as increase levels of serotonin to boost mood.  Since they also contain fats they will create a longer lasting feeling of satiety (the feeling of being full) than some other foods that will be broken down by the body more quickly, thereby increasing your attention span and/or physical endurance.  Just one ounce a day is about right to help create this lasting effect.  If you’re not sure how much an ounce is, it’s about 24 almonds or 12 walnuts.

2. Fish, especially wild salmon, whitefish, tilapia, catfish, flounder and mahi mahi is a good sources of lean protein and omega-3 fatty acids which are artery-clearing (just like the nuts listed above) and also help reduce inflammation that can hamper athletic performance and contribute to chronic conditions like heart disease.   The suggestion to eating seafood is twice a week (or about 8 ounces total) to reap its anti-inflammatory benefits.  Its also best to stick to the fish rather than the pills if you can.

3. Coffee.  100mg of caffeine is close to the amount you’ll get in a cup of black coffee and has been proven to improve memory recall but you probably knew that without the being told that. Caffeine helps to increase mental and physical performance by blocking  receptors in your central nervous system that are responsible for binding a compound called adenosine. When you inhibit adenosine, you get increased activity of dopamine and glutamate, two feel-good, alertness-increasing brain-stimulating compounds, whalah super productive workdays and workouts. 

4.  Carbohydrates.  Protein may be important for building muscle, but carbohydrates are still the single most important component of an athlete or workday worrier’s diet.  Carbs are a very important when it comes to macronutrients because the body does need them to help break down fats and proteins correctly and get the most use out of them.  You can never go wrong with having a bowl of oatmeal in the morning before work or as part of your meal plan for your body’s performance. 

5.  At about 100 calories a piece, bananas and berries are a great source of easy-to-digest sugar and natural electrolytes. They are one of my favorite post-event recovery food, and for good reason: One medium banana contains 422 mg of potassium, which your body needs to regulate fluids and prevent muscle cramps and spasms.  Because you sweat out potassium during physical activity, it’s important to replenish as soon as possible afterward.  While the berries have antioxidants such as vitamins A, C, and E help protect against oxidative stress and free radicals that form in the body during a tough workout and berries are one of the best sources out there.

6. Leafy green vegetables.   They are full of antioxidants and carotenoids, which boost your brain power, and help protect your brain. The greener a leaf vegetable is, the better.  Leafy green vegetables are also full of B-vitamins, which are proven to help your memory, focus, and overall brain health and power. They also contain folic acid, which improves your mental clarity. So enjoy your veggies.

 

7.  The break down of a person’s food intake should be something like the following:

  • 50% from carbohydrates (complex carbs like oatmeal or brown rice or fruits and berries
  • 20-30% from protein
  • 20% from fat

Tools to help measure this would be the My Fitness Pal or Lose It apps.  They will help you track your workouts and eating habits so that you are able to gauge how you are eating, what you are eating to little of and what you need to cut back on.

Now-a-days its also about edging out the competition and by changing your diet to good foods you can do just that.  Feel free to leave a comment or email any questions to kristin@fitnesswerqs.com and be sure to stay tuned for more articles on healthy living and workout suggestions.