Welsh Witterings: Foods for Calm
I tend to have really busy weekends and so on Monday’s my inbox is not only bulging and my ‘to do list’ over flowing, but I am also a little fatigued and needing to sharpen my focus and concentration. I try not to use quick fixes like sugary snacks, and on Monday’s it never possible to make time for things like meditation, but I find I can still have a mindful Monday with my five food survival kit.
To get through Monday’s without feeling completely depleted all I need I to do is incorporate a few healthy foods that keep my energy high and my stomach from rumbling; I call these five foods my Monday Survival Kit and they are all things that I can eat whilst on the go or at my desk.
- 1. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is something I really enjoy and it also have a myriad of health benefits including the ability to boost blood flow to the brain, release endorphins and reduce drowsiness. Eating small amounts of dark chocolate helps with memory (due to the increased brain blood flow) and concentration (due to the increased serotonin levels it causes). I find that a little bit of good quality dark chocolate also works as a good incentive to get a task completed.
Research shows that eating blueberries may help prevent age-related memory loss and mental decline. Blueberries are high in flavonoids, which have been linked to improved memory, learning and general cognitive function, including reasoning skills and decision making; all of which are especially vital at the start of the week.
Avocados are back in vogue and I must say that they never lost their appeal in my kitchen. The healthy monounsaturated fat in avocados helps enhance communication between brain cells as well as reducing arterial plaque, leading to healthy blood flow to the brain. I find a nice serving of avocado keeps the hunger at bay and the healthy fat and fibre keeps my brain alert.
Some studies have suggested that eating yoghurt regularly for four weeks is beneficial for the brain. It is suggested that the combination of protein and calcium in yogurt helps you focus; whilst Tyrosine, an amino acid found in yogurt, produces the neurotransmitters dopamine and noradrenalin which are known to improve alertness and memory.
I keep a container of mixed nuts on my desk for when my motivation begins to lag. Containing high concentrations of Vitamin E, folate, magnesium and omega-3s, tree nuts have been linked to improved cognition. It is certain that a handful of nuts helps to stave off hunger and pep up my focus and motivation.