How To UnFog Your Brain

Man Looking Alert

Want to feel more alert? To keep up your mental energy and focus, you’ve got to eat the right foods at the right time.

The next time your mental energy is fading and you feel like you can’t string two sentences together, think back. When did you last eat? What did you have? Have you been drinking enough liquids? Skipped meals, unbalanced meals, and dehydration can all zap your mental energy and focus. And don’t forget that getting adequate sleep and rest is part of the equation, too.

How what you eat affects your mental energy

What is mental energy, anyway? It’s actually got several features, including your overall mood, your motivation, as well as your attention and focus. When your mental engine is revved up, there’s a good chance your diet had something to do with it. So, here’s some “food for thought.”

Carbs fuel your brain

Since your brain is active 24/7, it has high energy demands - higher, in fact, than any other cells in your body. And since brain cells, called neurons, can’t store glucose, your brain needs a continuous supply. Stick with the healthy carbs - fruits, vegetables and whole grains - to give your brain the fuel it craves. These high fibre foods take time to digest, which leads to a gradual release of glucose into your system. On the other hand, a meal high in refined carbohydrates, like starchy, sugary foods, can actually backfire on you. Since these foods are digested relatively quickly, you may experience a quick rise in your blood sugar - often followed by a quick drop. And that blood sugar crash can make you feel mentally sluggish.

Your brain wants fuel at regular intervals

Since your brain wants a steady source of glucose, it’s important to eat at regular intervals throughout the day to keep your mental energy from taking a nosedive. Aim for small meals and snacks every 3-4 hours.

Your brain wants breakfast

There’s plenty to be said about the importance of breakfast, and giving your brain a boost is just another reason to fuel up first thing. While you were sleeping, your brain was plenty busy. It burned through lots of fuel overnight, and the tank is pretty empty by morning. Do your brain a favor and start your day with a well-balanced breakfast that includes both healthy carbohydrates and a shot of protein.