This is a guide to foods that affect Mental performance;
Bad Performance Foods and their Good replacements!
increases mental alertness and concentration and can improve performance temporarily. However, too much caffeine (and this will be a different amount for each person) has been found associated with: anxiety, cravings, depression, emotional instability, insomnia, mood swings, nervousness and premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
Coffee, Fizzy Drinks, Energy Drinks, Chocolate
Replace with water, diluting juice, natural fruit and veg drinks, herbal tea
gives short sharp bursts of energy, and insulin levels in the blood. Not good as high insulin levels cause the body to store fat, inhibit the release of growth hormone and depresses the immune system. It induces quick period of energy immediately followed by a slump of tiredness.
Sweets, Fizzy Drinks, Chocolate
Replace with Fruit, Nuts, Dried Fruits, Yoghurts.
Saturated Fats & Trans Fatty Acids
Less Flexible Brain & Body Tissue. Brain Structure and functions are affected and disrupted. confused and slower Brain Communication.
Butter, Lard, Whole Milk, Cheese, Ice Cream, Cream, Fatty Meats, Coconut & Palm Oils, Fried Foods, Processed Foods, Cakes, Chocolate
Replace with unsaturated fats – Olive Oil, Cod Liver Oil, Nuts & Seeds, Dark Green Veg, Oily Fish
Change your Daily Diet!
Water - Dehydration
Makes up 80% of the Brain and is an Essential Element in it’s functioning. Creates feelings of well being, good performance and learning and good general health.
Absence of Water - Dehydration
Insufficient Water Intake or taking certain medications can dehyrate the body and has significant implications for mental health! Initial symptoms of Dehydration; restless or irritable behaviour, weakness and feeling unwell. Severe symptoms are Low Blood Pressure, Fainting, Severe muscle contractions, convulsions and heart failure.
Drink at least 8 good size Glasses of water throughout the course of the day
Essential Fatty Acids
- Vital in Function and Structure of Brain & Smooth Communications
Omega 3 Omega 6, Oily Fish Seeds, Vegetables, Vegetables Oils
High Intake Saturated Fats
- Less Flexible Brain & Body Tissue
Butter, Lard, Whole Milk, Coconut & Palm Oils
Use low saturated fat spreads instead of butter, replace meats with sardines and mackrel at lunch time.
-Slow releasing Energy. Our Brains are powered by only Carbohydrates.
Wholegrain (breads, pasta's, cereal)Brown Rice, Brown pasta, Vegetables,Beans & Pulses
-quick high energy release of energy which leads to blood sugar levels rising and dipping too quickly too often and causes cravings. Constant imbalance in Blood sugar levels can eventually lead to Diabetes.
White bread, white pasta, white rice, biscuits,
Replace white Breads, Rice, Pasta with Brown and Wholemeal/ Wholegrain instead
Amino Acids (Proteins)
- make up the Brains messengers;
Tryptophan – (converts to Serotonin) Improves Mood, Well – Being and Sleep Patterns
Fish, Fruit, Eggs, Avocado, Low Fat Cheese, Lean Meat, Free Range Poultry (Turkey), Beans
Tyrosine – (converts to Dopamine, Noradrenalin and Adrenaline and GABA)
Improves Mental & Physical performance under Stress better than coffee!
soy products, chicken, turkey, fish, peanuts, almonds, avocados, bananas, milk, cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, lima beans, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds
Absence of Amino Acids (Proteins)
- Problems with Brain Communication and normal function
Low Mood, Difficulty Sleeping,Feeling Discontented, Lacking Joy
Replace Meats with chicken or turkey, sweets and chocolate with seeds, nuts and dried fruit
Vitamins & Minerals
– Vital in Promoting and Maintaining Positive Mental Health and are crucial to the conversion of Carbohydrates into Glucose, Fatty Acids into Healthy Brain Cells and Amino Acids into neurotransmitters
B1 (concentration & attention) Wholegrain
B3 (PMA -positive mental attitude) Wholegrain
B5 (memory & Stress level) Vegetables
B6 (memory, Stress levels , contentment, PMA) Bananas Wholegrain
B12 (Focus, memory) Meat, Fish Dairy Products, Eggs
C (PMA) Fruit & Vegetables
Folic Acid (PMA, calmness) Pulses Green Leafy Veg
Magnesium (calmness, PMA, Good Sleep) Nuts & Seeds Green Leafy Veg
Selenium (calmness, PMA) Brewer’s Yeast Wheat germ, Liver, Fish, Garlic, Sunflower Seeds, Brazil Nuts, Wholegrain
Zinc (Focus, Clarity, PMA, Motivation, Good Appetite) Oysters, Nuts, Fish, Seafood
Absence of Vitamins & Minerals
Can cause poor or negetive Mental Health, reduce and affect the production of Healthy Brain Cells and Brain Messengers
B1 Poor concentration & attention
B5 Poor memory & High Stress level
B6 Poor memory, High Stress levels, Irritability & depression
B12 Confusion, poor memory, Psychosis
Folic Acid Anxiety, depression, Psychosis
Magnesium Irritability, insomnia, Depression
Selenium Irritability, depression
Zinc Confusion, blank mind, Depression, loss of Appetite, Lack of motivation
Ensure you manage to include 5 Fruit & Veg in you daily diet and at least 2 of these Vegetables and Green Vegetables are even better!