The celebrity dietitian shows us how to craft meals that deliver a nutritious boost
Thinkstock / BartekSzewczyk
When the midday slump hits, almost everybody reaches for a quick snack or a dose of caffeine to help get through the afternoon. Filling yourself with low-fiber foods at that point, though, will only set you up for disaster, by causing you to be hungry and distracted from your work or even from your leisure-time activities.
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“There are so many variables that play into concentration, such as how much sleep an individual gets, if they exercise or not, and even the mood they are in,” says Bridget Bennett, nutritionist from Indie Fresh. “As always, a healthy, balanced diet is the foundation that we start with.” A balanced diet involves a wide variety of whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and good fats.
Consistency with a balanced diet is key when you are trying to maintain your concentration throughout the day. “It is important to feed the brain a steady supply of real foods, containing proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, starting at breakfast and continuing throughout the day,” Bennett continues. “Too much food can make us tired and sluggish but too little food and the brain just won’t work. Luckily, there are a few foods that have actually been studied and associated with brain function.”
When you are looking to feed your brain directly, reach for this superpower fruit. “Avocados contain oleic acid, a fatty acid that is a major component of myelin, a fatty material that protects nerve cells and supports the flow of nerve signals throughout the body,” according to Brianna Diorio, nutritionist for The Vitamin Shoppe. “The monounsaturated fatty acids found in avocados also help keep brain cell membranes flexible and promote healthy blood flow to the brain. Spread it on toast or add it to your smoothie to create a creamy texture or go with the classic take on avocado and whip up your best guacamole mix.”
“Berries are loaded with anthocyanins, powerful phytochemicals that give these delicious edible gems their vibrant purple, red, and blue hues,” says Mareya Ibrahim, also known as The Fit Foodie. “A 2012 Harvard study found that women who ate at least one cup of blueberries and strawberries per week experienced a sizeable two-and-a-half year delay in mental decline relative to women who rarely ate berries. With that in mind, try adding blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, or strawberries to your yogurt, cereal, pancake, and muffin batter.”