Are You Feeding Your Potential?

By Catherine Jeans in Research on July 28th, 2008 / No Comments

Whilst goal setting, positive affirmation and dedication are major keys to achieving your true potential, if you don’t feed the physical body that houses your incredible mental power you’ll struggle to find the strength to achieve your dreams.  It’s like trying to run your car without putting in gas, oil and water.  Likewise, your mind could be infinitely more powerful, focused and alert if you gave it the nutrients it needs to fulfill its potential and drive your dreams to success.

The “brain drain” has reached epidemic proportions across the world, with people becoming starved of the essential nutrients needed to achieve optimum mental performance.  This is happening not in the developing world, but across the States and many other developed countries due to poor diet and reliance on fast food.  Imagine trying to feel positive about the future when you’re constantly feeling sluggish, flat and without energy.  If your brain is working at its optimum level, it has the amazing power to dream, create, imagine and help you feel happier.  Without the food it needs to function properly, we experience irritability, tiredness, lack of mental clarity and poor motivation.

Research in schools has shown that children given multi-vitamin supplements have a significant increase in non-verbal IQ, proving that by increasing your nutrient intake you could increase your mental capacity.  Of course there is the argument of mind over matter, with enough positive affirmation you can force your mind to feel good whatever the circumstances.  However, with the pace of modern life not many of us have the time for hours of concentrated meditation and focused thought to achieve optimum mental clarity without the need for food.

By ensuring we feed our brains and bodies with as many nutrients as possible, the path to success can be made even easier by offering within us extra strength to drive us towards our dreams.  There are some key nutritional factors that could provide the edge, focus, concentration, memory, mental clarity and agility we’ve always desired to set us on the path to ultimate success.

Brain Facts
Did you know that the brain is made up of mostly fat and water?  It is also the most highly regenerating and energy-taxing organ in the body, consuming up to 40% of the calories we eat.  It contains 100 billion neurons and all our thinking is conducted by electricity and chemicals.  No wonder it takes up so many resources and requires such a vast amount of nutrients to power its full potential.

The Power of Fats
Fat has become a dirty word in today’s modern society obsessed with slim hips and tiny waistlines.  But the fact remains that your brain is made up of such a high proportion of fat and ensuring the right kind of fat in your diet can make you think faster and increase your mental performance – essential when you’re on a journey to achieving your dreams.

The right kinds of fat are essential fatty acids, that’s polyunsaturated omega 3 and 6, as well phospholipids.  These fats can be found in nuts and seeds, cold-water oily fish such as herring, salmon, mackerel or trout and eggs and should be consumed at least 3 times a week.  Also by reducing the amount of fried food and saturated fat from meat and dairy, this will help eliminate the undesirable substances which can actually damage the fats in our brains.

Balance Your Sugar, Boost Your Potential
Did you know that sugar is one of the most powerful substances you can put inside your body?  It has the ability to give you a sudden burst of energy but with the downside of reducing your mental performance, cause poor concentration, irritability and tiredness.  Has a colleague ever walked into your office and asked you a simple question and got their head bitten off by a tirade of impatient criticism by you?  This could be because your blood sugar levels are imbalanced.

When we eat a lot of sugary snacks, our blood sugar levels are constantly going up and down in an attempt to achieve a balanced level, with hormones such as insulin working over time to deal with the constant fluctuation.  This can also be fueled by stress and stimulants such as tea, coffee and cigarettes… all the things the average goal-setting high achieving career driven person reaches for to keep them going throughout the day.  If you can balance your blood sugar levels, this could improve your mental capacity and concentration tenfold, increasing your productivity and clarity.

To keep your blood sugar levels in check, avoid refined, sugary foods such as white bread, cakes, candy and pop and replace with wholemeal bread, brown rice, fruit, nuts and regular healthy snacks.  Also reduce your intake of stimulants.   You may think you need three coffees to get going in the morning, but after just a few days on a reduced amount you’ll notice an immeasurable difference in mental clarity and increased energy levels.

Liquid Gold
Water is a fundamental resource of life, more valuable than liquid gold.  It forms such a vast proportion of our brains and bodies but so many of us don’t realize we’re dehydrated, which can leave us feeling sluggish, tired, with poor concentration and headaches.  Aim to drink at least 8 glasses per day.

Brain Protectors
There are a powerful group of chemicals that actually protect our brains from degeneration known as antioxidants.  Found in brightly colored fruit and vegetables, they protect all cells in the body and keep them performing at their best.  When it comes to our brains, they can even protect our memory and increase oxygen supply to our neurons, which is vital for creative thinking, positivity and mental clarity.

Brightly colored fruit and vegetables contain the vitamins A, C and E and it is these which have a powerful antioxidant function.  Aim to eat at least two portions per day of prunes, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, spinach, broccoli or plums.

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