How-to: 4 body-smart nutrition techniques to survive a marathon meeting day
Marathon meeting day? Stay sharp with four simple nutrition techniques
Written somewhere in the entrepreneurial handbook (wouldn’t that be great?!) is a commandment: never turn down an invitation to meet face to face with a prospective client. However, this rule has consequences — the occasional runaway freight train of a schedule.
Does this sound familiar? Your calendar starts with an eight am breakfast meeting and ends with a last minute evening presentation to an entire board of directors with nary a breath in between. How can you keep your brain focused, eyes uncrossed and energy up during this marathon of networking and schmoozing?
Here are some nutritional dos and don’ts to keep the brain wheels greased and the potential clients captivated.
Blood sugar regulation
In terms of focus and mental sharpness, blood sugar balance is a must. For instance, if you eat a donut, the refined sugar spikes your blood sugar and stimulates insulin release. The insulin lowers your blood sugar to maintain balance in the body, but the result is a dip in energy. The faster these fluctuations occur, the more effect they have on brain functioning, especially your ability to focus. Eating sugary snacks and simple carbohydrates, refraining from eating for more than four hours at a time, or eating processed foods with added sugars make the body frantically try to regulate these ups and downs.
So, to better manage healthy blood sugar levels, eat every three hours, choose whole grain options to slow the breakdown of carbs, and add protein to most snacks and meals.
Examples of healthy snacks include: whole grain muffins with almond butter, granola with greek yogurt, hummus and rice crackers and mixed nuts/seeds.
Eat your fruits and veggies! There is mounting evidence that the nutrients in fruits and vegetables (known as phytonutrients) pack a powerful punch for brain capacity. A 2004 Boston study on blueberries showed improved spatial memory in rats that ate the fruit over those that did not. Lycopene, an antioxidant in tomatoes, may help protect against damages brain cells in the development of Alzheimer’s.
In other words, you need these powerful nutrients to keep you from forgetting the names of business contacts you met five minutes ago at your monthly networking gala. Don’t embarrass yourself any longer.
Examples of snacks include: bowls of blueberries, raspberries and sunflower seeds with kefir; red/yellow/orange peppers with nut butter; steamed kale with pumpkin seeds.
Another important group of nutrients for the brain are B-vitamins. They help create neurotransmitters for thought, memory and movement. But B-vitamins are water-soluble, which means they need to be replenished every day (plus stress depletes our supply of them rapidly!)
A lack of B-vitamins can make you feel tired, foggy and generally scatterbrained. So incorporate B-vitamin-rich food sources every day to increase your energy and mental focus, and help you cope more efficiently with the physical strains of stress.
Examples of these food sources are: green leafy vegetables, eggs, fish, whole grains, nuts, legumes and chicken.
What does the brain need most to function optimally?
Healthy fats. The brain is made up of mostly fat, and needs essential fatty acids from our diet to feed it; specifically the category of fatty acids known as omega 3s. Omega 3 intake benefits learning and memory capacity, and provides fuel for the brain. They help you to focus on the task at hand, including your next big deal!
Food sources include: flax seeds (grind them and sprinkle on cereals or add to smoothies), salmon, sardines, walnuts and soybeans.
Eleanor Healy is the founder of Truly Me-holistic support services for busy people. She is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist (RHN) and Reiki Master/Teacher in Toronto with over a decade of experience supporting people during stressful times. As a former child and youth care worker, she noticed that frequently her co-workers would fall ill from stress (including her). This experience motivated her to remind other caregivers and holistic practitioners not to forget their most precious clients-themselves! With plenty of experience successfully navigating the choppy waters of burnout, she offers practical tips on how to put yourself back together again and more importantly, how to stay balanced in a demanding world.
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