Tired all the time? These are the foods that will help you feel alert

Dr. Uma Naidoo is a psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital and a faculty member at Harvard Medical School. Your internship was in a field that may seem strange to you at first: Nutritional Psychiatry.

She said she believes in the cliché, “we are what we eat”. But in an article he wrote for the Fast Company website, he emphasized that there is another factor in this saying that we need to consider.

“I always encourage people to take food awareness one step further,” he wrote.

He said that we should pay attention to how we eat.

According to Dr. Naimoo, by practicing mindfulness and developing a judgment-free awareness, one can cultivate what she calls “physical intelligence,” a deep understanding of the body, its needs, and how to improve its function. In this way, we sharpen our concentration and are more productive throughout the day.

Today, many people feel exhausted and stressed, have difficulty concentrating, and cannot function for a full day without suffering from “brain fog” and chronic fatigue. Dr. Naidoo explained that an important factor contributing to this negative phenomenon is increased consumption of simple sugars and caffeine. These elements, as is well known, can increase energy in a short time, but they also create sudden drops as they are absorbed by the body.

Also, undiagnosed allergies or sensitivities can cause “brain fog.” Gluten, for example, is a known allergen, the sensitivity of which exists not only in celiac patients, but among many people, some of whom are not aware that they have a problem.

There are also other common problems that can contribute to increased mental confusion, such as small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), ulcerative colitis, or Crohn’s disease.

However, many people will suffer from “brain fog” even if they have no sensitivity. In either case, a thorough check-up won’t hurt and can only help you identify problems you didn’t know were affecting you.

Mindful eating: a proven way to strengthen the brain

Meditation or mindfulness has entered the collective consciousness in recent years and is considered a coveted tool by CEOs, entrepreneurs, and Hollywood stars. Brain researchers, psychiatrists, and physicians are constantly discovering new benefits from this simple practice, which can improve brain function and other aspects of health.

An interesting study conducted in the early months of the coronavirus, when most people started working from home, found that a brief meditation practice helped strengthen brain function and improve job performance. And unlike what you might have thought, meditation doesn’t have to be done the traditional way: sitting on a mat while practicing breathing.

(Credit: Ingimage)

In fact, “mindful eating” is a fun and easy way to combine mindfulness exercises with what we love to do all the time: eat.

In this method, you have to really invest your attention and concentration in the whole process of buying the raw materials, cooking, eating and cleaning at the end. If throughout this process you leave your phone turned off, your senses are open and your mind is focused, you are already practicing meditation and improving the connection between the mind and the rest of the body.

“Mindful eating has a double benefit,” explained Dr. Naidoo. “First of all, it allows us to be more attentive to the body and what food it needs, when it is really satiated and how food affects it for better or for worse. At the same time, this approach makes it possible to considerably strengthen mental abilities, as evidenced by research on the subject.

It’s all about priorities

People tend to think that cake and coffee are the only things that can provide an energy “boost” in tough times, but countless studies show that there are many other, more efficient and healthier ways to achieve this result.

It’s like your head hurts and you can take a pill to relieve pain, but it’s even better to think about how to prevent the pain from coming back when the pill wears off.

In the context of “brain fog,” for example, it is more effective to think of ways to treat the two main factors that cause the unpleasant phenomenon: stress and lack of sleep.

Dr. Naidoo explained that when we prioritize activities that help reduce stress and fatigue throughout the day, we will eventually even have excess energy available, reducing the need for sugar and caffeine.

The second step in this long-term planning is to develop a daily menu that will support brain activity and increase energy. Such a menu includes healthy foods, which are rich in nutrients and help the body to provide a stable level of energy throughout the day.

How do you build a menu that sharpens your mind?

To accomplish this important task, you must stop eating ultra-processed foods such as processed cookies, sugary drinks, frozen pizzas, fast food, and more.

Also eat less foods that cause inflammation. Studies found that these foods cause fatigue and difficulty concentrating after eating. This list includes processed meats, foods high in trans fats, oils that contain high amounts of omega 6s (canola, corn, sunflower, and more), mayonnaise, and beef.

So what should you eat?

Choose foods based on “lean” protein, omega 3, and dietary fiber, as studies have shown that eating more of these components improves glycemic balance and allows good bacteria to grow in the gut. This has a positive effect on concentration and alertness, and other important aspects of your health. This menu includes vegetables, berries, beans, nuts, seeds, legumes, lentils, whole grains, seafood, and chicken.

And if eating a really healthy diet is difficult for you, Dr. Naidoo has a piece of advice that may put you at ease: “I always recommend the 80/20 rule. That is, 80% of the menu will be healthy food, while the remaining 20% ​​will be made up of anything else you want to eat, even if it is not healthy.

“We all need some freedom in what we eat so that we can make dietary changes that we can really stick to and stick with over time,” he said.


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