By the end of this week, it will be December, and while I'm sure you're looking forward to seeing what Santa has brought you, you're also probably wondering where you are going to find all the extra energy (and time!) needed to get through the festive season balancing work, social and family commitments.
Never fear, Balance Interiors is here!
Earlier this year, we posted a blog about the importance of sleep and how it effects your workplace performance. Given everything we eat ultimately ends up in our bloodstream which flows to the brain; the way we focus, think and work is inevitably effected by what we eat.
“Diet, exercise and sleep have the potential to alter our brain health and mental function. This raises the exciting possibility that changes in diet are a viable strategy for enhancing cognitive abilities, protecting the brain from damage and counteracting the effects of ageing.” - Fernando Gómez-Pinilla, a UCLA professor of neurosurgery and physiological science
Ready to read that list?
Berries are high in antioxidants which make them excellent for increasing memory and motor skills, while also counteracting oxidative stress, and functioning as an anti-inflammatory agent helping your brain ward off ageing. They are also high in fibre, low in sugar and kilo joules, aid with bloating, and helping you stay fuller and fitter for longer.
Try: Snacking on a handful of fresh blueberries and greek yoghurt for a light breakfast, or filling afternoon snack that nips that sugar craving in the bud, and keeps your energy levels on track.
These guys often get a bad rap for being high in the WRONG fats, but like everything, if you have them in moderation, their value will sing for itself. Loaded with choline, eggs enhance memory and reaction time. It has been proven that starting the day with a high protein breakfast will reduce hunger hormone ghrelin, keeping you feeling satiated for longer.
Try: Mix 2 whole eggs, 1 egg yolk, a handful of spinach/kale, diced onion and garlic, and some cracked pepper, then fry up with a light spray of olive oil for a healthy breakfast that will keep your mind focused, and gut happy.
An Australian favourite, and bountiful at the supermarkets right now! Avocado's are full of monounsaturated fats responsible for healthy blood flow by aiding in protection of brain cells (astrocytes) that offer support information carrying nerves. They're also one of the most steadily trending fruits in Australia...
Try: With Mexico supplying 45% of the world's avocado's, it's a great place to gain some inspiration! Try creating a Mexican style take-away lunch using ice-berg lettuce as taco shells, greek yoghurt instead of sour cream, lean turkey mince with Cajun spices, and mashing up some avocado with red onion, lime and mango for a fresh take on an old fav. Smashed avo on toast is another fav, just make sure you don't load up on high GI carbs, and opt for gut friendly sourdough when you can.
Remember sitting at the table when you were a kid and your Mum nagging you to eat your greens? There's good reason why. Like eggs, it's rich in choline and vitamin k, which have involvement in brain development, improves reasoning (get your boss onto this!), imagining, creativity, remembering, learning, cognitive performance and memory. Sounds like a super food to me!
Try: Cut your washed broccoli into chunks, spray with extra virgin olive oil and roll in a spice or seasoning of your choice. Lay them out on a baking try, and cook for about 10-20 minutes at 180 degrees for a healthy snack that you can portion control for the week.
When you've got a REAL sugar craving, nothing seems to cut it like, well, sugar. If you're trying to do your brain and body a favour though, grab some of natures finest candy for its 25 grams of natural glucose - the optimum amount you need for your body to function at its best. It will keep you full between meals, and your energy balanced.
Try: Nice cream. If you've never tried it before, I would recommend dropping everything and finding yourself a quality blender on the way home tonight to try this. You will need a few diced, frozen banana's, cacao, cacao nibs. natural nut butter... or anything listed on this beautiful blog by Chocolate Covered Katie. If you didn't have time to freeze, Woolworths stocks frozen banana's by Creative Gourmet that are ready to go!
6) Green Tea or Matcha
Renowned for it's aid in any weight-loss journey, this metabolism boosting cup will keep your energy up in a cool, calm and collected manner vs. its coffee counterpart sending your adrenal glands on a sky-high roller coaster. It has also been associated with reduced anxiety, better memory and increased attention. Surprised you don't have a green tea wallah in your office? Us too.
Try: Remember that nice cream recipe above? Try adding some locally made Matcha into the mix, or blending it with hot almond milk and boiling water with a little honey for a fluffy morning drink and note the change in focus.
You know this one right? Almonds are better than ANY other nut on the health stakes as they are filled with healthy fats, that help the body slow down the body's digestion of sugar and carbs keeping you feeling fuller for longer, without the afternoon crash. They are also linked to better attention and cognitive function, and will help when your willpower for sugar wanes in the afternoon...
Try: 2 teaspoons of natural almond butter on celery sticks or half a sliced apple as a mid morning snack. The fibre will help you feel full, and the sweet-but-salty combination will make your taste sensations go gang-busters.
You knew it was coming you smart little thing, didn't you? Fish, specifically tuna, salmon, mackeral and lake trout, are all high in omega-3 fatty acids helping your brain memory, recall, focus and reasoning. Corporate dinner with the boss I hear you suggest?
Try: Throwing it on the barbie mate. You know the rest.
9) Dark Chocolate (70%).
As if we could get through this list, without our favourite addition! While some of you might not enjoy the bitter taste, you will enjoy it's sweet results. Chocolate that is 70% cocoa or more will make you feel more focused, drive and pumped up thanks to it's caffeine content. It also contains magnesium which is a natural stress reliever - perfect for this time of year.
Maybe just don't have any 6 hours hours before bed if you want a sound night of z's.
Try: Going 1970's style with chocolate fondue, then dipping in almonds or berries with toothpicks, or drizzling it over matcha-avocado or banana 'nice-cream', after your dinner or broccoli, eggs and fish. Phew. Imagine how productive you will be after that?
If you still don't believe that food can impact productivity in your office, we've got you covered on the ergonomically designed furniture front too. As always, you can download our brochure to see what we are offering, or call us for a free quote on (03) 9761 4555 and just ask us how.
Wishes in wellness,
The Balance Team