The work week can be taxing, with lots to juggle and with the hope of being your best self once you walk back through the door after a long day, we turn to nutrition to find out how we can look and feel our best throughout the work week and beyond.
Choosing the right nutrients for our bodies needs can transform everything from our mood, energy levels and even our outlook.
Starting at the basics, the first step to introducing a solid nutritional plan is ensuring that you have no "nutritional gaps" i.e. deficiencies that will leave you feeling sluggish.
Alongside your daily Multivitamin, which we HIGHLY recommend, be sure to consume:
- Foods high in Vitamins A,C,D,E & K
- Foods high in B Vitamins
- Fibre rich foods
- Varied foods, diverse in colour and texture
Aswell as what to consume, it’s also important to note what you shouldn't over-consume. Too many refined carbohydrates, fizzy drink, fatty and sugary snacks. Whilst they can provide an instant feel good in the short term, with under 8 hours since consumption, the sugar spike will crash, and you will feel the effects. Your body will likely continuously look for the next sugar hit. What you should instead aim for is a steady flow of glucose without the high peaks and low dips. Giving your body appropriate noneating window (time to rest, recover and metabolise).
Electrolytes for Energy
Did you know one of the biggest causes of headaches and the feelings of fatigue is an electrolyte imbalance? When your body becomes low on electrolytes, it can leave you feeling dizzy, irritable, lethargic and confused.
What are electrolytes: Electrolytes are essential minerals that have a natural positive or negative electrical charge when dissolved in water. They help your body regulate chemical reactions, maintain your body's PH and the balance between fluids inside and outside your cells. They consist of Sodium, calcium, potassium, chloride, phosphate, and magnesium.
We need electrolytes to move our muscles, send neurotransmitter signals from the brain to various organs, clot blood, contract muscles, balance PH and retain and regulate healthy fluid volume levels.
- Sodium in particular plays an important role in hydration and thus keeps you from feeling fatigued as the result of dehydration.
- magnesium levels low in the western world, with magnesium deficiency, especially in women being far more common than one might think.
Raw Cacoa For Magnesium
Raw Cacoa is a great source of magnesium, arguably, one of the most deficient minerals in western civilisation. What magnesium good for is a healthy functioning heart, also playing a key role in producing energy for the neurons in the brain from glucose. So, when there is adequate+ magnesium in the body, the brain works with clarity and focus.
Magnesium RDA : The amount of magnesium you need is:
- 300mg a day for men (19 to 64 years)
- 270mg a day for women (19 to 64 years)
Electrolytes in Food, Foods with Electrolytes Include:
Foods for Focus
7 foods that can help you focus include:
- Oily Fish
- Green Tea
- Nuts and Seeds
- Leafy green veggies
Foods for Energy
- B-Vitamin rich foods such as leafy veg, salmon and eggs.
- Porridge and honey.
- Natural Yogurt
- Sesame seeds.
- Water / adequate hydration
- Beans, legumes and lentils
- L-theanine rich foods and drinks - Black and green tea
Drinks For Calm and Clarity at the End of a Long Day
- Camomile Tea
- Dandelion tea to cleanse the liver and bile, if you have been experience prolonged exposure to stress and it's effects.
- Explore more herbs for calm and a good night's sleep HERE
Improving Mental Clarity Throughout the Workday
2019/ 2020 introduced a new flow to our daily routines. Bellow, we further aim to shed light upon how to keep our minds quiet and clear throughout the days indoors and at the office.
Start Each Morning with Exercise
Simply getting the blood flowing for 20 minutes will sufficiently spark our mind and help us develop stronger focus throughout the day.
Don't Break our Fast too Early
Intermittent fasting for weight loss is a popular method for weight management, but what people often don't realise is what a profound difference giving your body periods of digestive rest can achieve.
Outside of the benefits to our metabolism and fat loss, intermittent fasting can help to obtain focus as our body is not contributing precious energy digesting foods all of the time.
Intermittent fasting 16/8 and intermittent fasting 8/16 are both popular fasting methods, giving yourself either an eating window of 16 or 8 hours, followed by a period of digestive rest.
- Learn more about intermittent fasting and the benefits HERE
Get More (Good) Fats in Your Diet
Our brain needs lots of good fat to function properly. Nuts, avocados, eggs, and coconut oil are all great ways to get healthy fats into our diet and help our brain run more smoothly.
Use Nootropic Herbs
Nootropic ingredients can aid the reduction of brain fog, cloudy-headedness, afternoon fatigue, and sleep disruption by preventing the breakdown of adrenal hormones such as cortisol. 5HTP can also be a beneficial, natural stress management solution, when used holistically.
Focus on Being and Not Doing
After our day's work "productive zone" Replace our "To Do Lists" with "To Be Lists".
Get Enough Sleep
Nothing will ruin our focus more than consistent sleep deprivation. Some of the most successful individuals attribute much of the rejuvenation period. Try and get a minimum of 7 hours of high quality sleep per night minimum. Rest is where the magic happens and rejuvenation is so key.
Fight the Sugar Cravings
- Have healthy snacks readily prepared and on standby. Plan snack and supper times and deal with food like we would in the workplace. Peppers and humous and a handful of nuts are great snacks to have on standby.
- It is great practice to be able to identify craving signs as opposed to hunger. Fighting cravings can in the long term can lead to a boost in our sharpness and efficiency.
- Above all else, hydrate! Drink a lot of water. Dehydration can prompt migraines and exhaustion, which are both terrible for our productivity. Keep a water bottle close by and sip regularly.
- Be cautious about consuming excessive amount of caffeine. Overdoing the caffeine has been known to cause migraines, uneasiness, stomach related problems and even weariness –horrible bi-products when we're attempting to work. Attempt a maximum of two cups each day and opt for organic sources where possible.
- You may be enticed to keep working through your mid-day break. But don't do it! Being pre-occupied during eating can prompt over-eating and diminish satiety. All things being equal, enjoy a reprieve from work to take a seat at a table to make the most of your lunch and unwind for a couple of moments.
- Portion out snacks and meals before eating, avoid eating out of the pack as an act of self-care, making the time for yourself to enjoy your food, mindfully. In regard to portion sizes and meals, a reliable plate technique is filling a plate half full with plant based foods and vegetables, one-fourth the plate with a lean protein (poultry, fish, beans, eggs, tofu, curds or Greek yoghurt) and one-fourth the dish with a high fibre and whole grain foods.
Following these tips, including balancing your electrolyte intake will leave you feeling nourished, energised and refreshed, maintaining mental clarity, focus and balance.
With love, Beautifully Nourished,
By Dr Ayesha Gulzar, Pharm D & Katherine Elyse Blake, BSC Nutrition, ANutr