Brain food – nutrition for the brain

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Eating the right diet can prevent performance slumps at work. What does our brain need to function at its best? And which snacks help keep our energy levels topped up throughout the day?

The brain – a high-performance organ

It controls all bodily functions, stores memories and enables us to feel emotions: the brain. No wonder this organ needs not only the right nutrients, but also a whole lot of energy. Although the brain only makes up 2% of our body weight, it consumes around 20% of the energy the body obtains from food. This energy is particularly important at work, where high levels of concentration and complex thought processes are required throughout the day.

What the brain needs to perform at its best:

  • oxygen
  • fluids
  • vitamins and minerals
  • other protective substances (especially from fruits and vegetables)
  • carbohydrates
  • amino acids (protein)
  • unsaturated fatty acids

This is brain food

Not every form of nutrition is equally suited to helping the brain reach its peak performance. Brain food is the term for foods that contain a particularly high amount of important nutrients for the brain. Pills and medication that promise improved levels of concentration or memory performance can lead to side effects and are therefore not recommended.

Brain food during a working day

The ability to work in a concentrated manner over a longer period of time requires a consistently high energy supply. Why? Because when our blood sugar level drops, we feel tired. To ensure that it never drops too low during the day, it’s important to eat several – but smaller – meals throughout the day.

Avoid sweet products

So what foods are the right choice when we’re in the canteen at lunchtime or the cafeteria in the afternoon? This is often where we turn to sugar-laden snacks. However, consuming sweet foods causes a sharp rise and fall of blood sugar levels. As a result, we have an even greater craving for something sweet and feel sluggish instead of more concentrated.

Choose complex carbohydrates

Therefore: when you’re experiencing a performance slump at work, the better option is to choose foods that aren’t made up of simple sugars but of slow carbohydrates. This is because the body must first process these complex carbohydrates. It takes time for these long chains of molecules to be broken down in the intestines by enzymes and it is this continuous supply that helps to avoid “dead spots” in the afternoon. For this reason, ideal snacks to eat at work include crispbread, hazelnuts, oats, apples, berries or a home-made granola bar.

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