The food you eat directly impacts your critical thinking skills, memory, creativity and productivity. We all know that eating well is good for our physical and mental health.
When we eat fresh and healthy foods, drink lots of water, get enough sleep and exercise, we feel fantastic! Like an optimized version of ourselves. That positive and ready to take on any challenge feeling comes from your brain.
The brain requires certain nutrients for optimal functioning. Just like an athlete needs to take care of their bodies so entrepreneurs need to take care of their brains. As business owners and entrepreneurs nourishing your brain with quality food needs to be a top priority.
Studies have shown that entrepreneurial brains are different. Entrepreneurs spot problems more quickly and act on them more decisively. In order to spark that level of brain speed, flexibility and creativity while scanning for new opportunities – you need to treat your brain to the very best foods.
Brain food builds an entrepreneurial brain
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Here are our recommended 6 foods to spark your brain along with a recipe link so, no excuses, you can get started right away feeding your brain what it needs.
Would you like to improve your cognitive performance and memory?
Go with the fatty acids and omega-3 found in salmon, trout, sardines or mackerel. Eating these types of fish will boost the areas of the brain associated with cognition and memory. These essential fatty acids cannot be made by your body so you must get them into your diet. Omega-3 is what your brain craves most and these types of fish are easy to cook with and delicious.
For a quick and easy lunch or dinner try Jamie Oliver’s salmon nicoise.
Want to increase your focus?
Seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, chia, sesame, etc) improve focus and memory. After eating seeds the nutrients travel throughout the body quickly making them ideal for building and regenerating healthy cells and provided much needed energy. They are also another source of essential fatty acids which super fuel to your brain.
Take the time to make these superb endurance crackers from Oh She Glows and your brain will thank you. Keep them on hand (along with some dental floss) for travel days too.
How about some antioxidants to combat the effects of aging on cognitive ability?
Nuts are full of vitamins, minerals and their high level of Vitamin E makes them the anti-aging snack of choice. Vitamin E is associated with slowing the cognitive decline seen in the elderly. Nuts are also effective at chasing away that “I want a snack” feeling. Grab a handful and stay away from the sugar.
My go to recipe is Michael Smith’s county inn granola. I double up on the nuts and use almonds, walnuts, pecans and pistachios.
Want to fire up your mental agility and innovative potential?
Blueberries increase dopamine (a neurotransmitter) levels in the brain which keep your brain firing for longer. Blueberries also contain proanthocyanidins which protect the brain from toxins, help to maintain concentration and improve short term memory.
I like to eat blueberries by the handful but if you are in the mood for a blueberry muffin then Gordon Ramsay’s whole wheat blueberry muffins are a must try.
Interested in boosting your memory potential?
Sage, as an herb and as an essential oil, is associated with improved memory performance and enhanced short term recall. Studies related to the medicinal effects of sage date back centuries when doctors would prescribe sage tea to “improve memory and quicken the sense” – John Gerard in 1597.
If sage is a new herb for you then I would give it a try with some roasted potatoes. It will introduce you to the flavour without it being too overwhelming. This recipe makes a perfect dinner side dish, Jamie Oliver’s roasted potatoes with sage and orange.
Want to keep your brain cells healthy?
The skin of the tomato contains antioxidants, lycopene and beta-carotene all which help to regulate cell growth in the brain. Lycopene has also been associated with protecting brain cells from free radical damage which is associated with the development of dementia. So don’t skin your tomatoes or try to substitute sauce for eating the whole fruit.
For a delicious lunch or a perfect side dish try the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten’s garlic and herb tomatoes.
Your brain is the engine that drives your business creativity and inspiration. Treat it like a Ferrari not a broken down clunker
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In addition to these 6 foods to spark your brain be sure to drink lots of water throughout the day. That sugar-slump headache feeling you get around 3pm is not your blood sugar crashing. It is dehydration from sitting in a dry office and not keeping yourself – your brain – hydrated. Your brain is 75% water and your brain is not going to help you land that pitch or brainstorm for that new client when it is feeling deprived. Being a business owner or entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart so take care of your brain.
Several times during the work day you need to stop for a short 10min break. Grab a glass of water, walk around and take your mind off your current focus. When you sit back down, that mini-brain vacation of a break and a glass of water will have you fresh and ready to focus again.
If you are interested in more foods to spark your brain check out our Brain Food board on Pinterest. Feel free to add some pins of your own.
Have any great brain food recipes that you would like to share? We’d love to give them a try.
Jennifer Arnold, Founder at InnovaMap, Ph.D. in Neuroscience
InnovaMap – we use the science of marketing to connect you with your target audience.
Contact us to learn more on how to start integrating techniques for engaging the brain into all your marketing strategies.