Today we’re going to talk about something that is extremely important when it comes to your level of productivity – namely nutrition. The popular statement that you become what you eat is true, but I would like to say: “Your cognitive ability, brain health and mood is a direct result of what you eat.”
If you missed the first two habits, click HERE.
Your brain use more energy (glucose) than any other part of your body so if you don’t feed your body properly it affects your productivity. However, not all food is created equal and it truly matters what you feed your body not just glucose wise.
The American diet loaded with sugar, saturated fats and artificial crap is not only affecting people’s general health, it’s affecting their brain too!
Your Gut is Your Second Brain
We often talk about having a gut feeling. That is because your gut is connected to your brain! Your gut has about 100 million neurons – you know those things in your brain that are responsible for transmitting information between cells and keeping you alive? We now know that you have neurons in your gut and that they communicate with the brain neurons!
Which is why your gut health impacts your cognitive ability and brain function. If you have a happy and healthy gut with good bacteria, because you feed your body good, wholesome nutrition including probiotics, your brain feels and operates better!
If you have a poor gut health because you feed your body crap it negatively affects your brain health because crap nutrition does not contain the nutrients that create good bacteria. Crap nutrition (aka much of the American diet) creates inflammation in your gut and your body, which allows for toxins and more to leak into your brain.
In other words, the state of your gut bacteria is important not only for your brain health but for the rest of your body. A quick read is this topic is an article from Harvard.
If that doesn’t wake you up studies now link bad gut health to an array of neurological diseases such as ADHD, Autism, MS, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s. I highly recommend you read the book Brain Maker by Dr. David Perlmutter.
Take Your Fluids Serious Too!
Hydration plays a big role in staying focused and productive. When you are even the slightest dehydrated it affects your energy level. And what happens when you’re low on energy? You tend to grab something with caffeine or sugar in it! Grab some water instead.
In addition, after sleep your body is dehydrated – think of it, you haven’t had any fluids for about 8 hours. Which means before you start the coffee machine you should hydrate. Start your morning with 16-24 oz. of clean water before you even touch coffee or tea and then make sure you get your fluids in throughout the day. Good fluids, that is!
What are good fluids? Clean water. Kombucha. Freshly squeezed vegetable juice with lots of greens. Herbal tea. Fluids that contain good nutrients and are low in sugar.
Skip the orange or apple juice. Fruit juices are extremely high in sugar. Fruit juices often have as much or close to as much sugar as soda! Just because it’s natural sugar doesn’t mean it’s good for you! Eat your fruit instead.
But I Need My Caffeine
Now, I’m not bashing coffee, I enjoy my cup of java here and there too, but if you rely on caffeine to get you through the day something isn’t right, is it? Your brain and body is fully capable of staying energetic and sharp all day long if you take your sleep, exercise, rest and nutrition serious.
Sadly most people overlook the importance of what they put into their body and instead depend on caffeine, “energy” drinks, sugar and crap to get them through the day! And they wonder why they are always feeling tired and sluggish!!! So they add more caffeine, energy drinks, sugar and crap to get through the day!
If you’re not able to get through the day on a regular basis without caffeine or sugar it’s time to take a look at how you can change that by incorporating better eating habits and “drinking” habits.
I know it takes time to cook and eat healthy. It takes commitment to finding healthy alternatives when you are on the go. But take a look at your day and pay attention to “losing time in the rabbit-hole” activities. Is watching TV or surfing FB more important to you than taking care of your brain and your overall health? The choice is yours!
Action Step: Changing a habit takes time. Start small with changing one thing at a time. It can be to reduce your soda intake one can a week and up your water. It can be to keep everything the same but for now to add a green smoothie juice to your day. It can be that you prepare in advance to have a healthy snack for that afternoon energy boost. It can be to always choose salad instead of a burger. Then change something else until you have transitioned over from a crap diet to a healthy diet. Slow, intentional change leads to success.
*Note, I’m not a physician or dietitian, although I have some extensive training in both areas including neuroscience. Remember, you are responsible for your life and the decisions you make. Which means you may want to seek professional advice before making any changes to your diet.