Eating to Win: Maximizing Your Mind Through Diet
Mental training and sports nutrition go hand in hand. The foods that we eat greatly impact how our body will function. Research shows that when we eat foods rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and healthy fats, what we are really doing is ensuring that the body is working at its best. The brain is similar to our working muscles in that both require fuel mainly from glucose to perform optimally.
Remember: Good nutrition will positively affect mental sharpness. Studies show that eating breakfast in the morning instead of skipping breakfast helps cognitive functions during test taking. In addition, a balanced breakfast is a great way to jump-start your metabolism, to fuel your muscles, and to be mentally sharp for the day. Many vitamins and minerals play a role as antioxidants and aid in energy production. The B vitamins, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, folate, and iron support a healthy mind. Healthy fats, such as omega 3 fatty acids, protect against inflammation and help the brain transmit signals of emotions, moods and thoughts.
Start today with a change in your diet! Cut back on processed foods and select foods that provide positive results for your mind, body and spirit. Select foods such as fatty fish (halibut, salmon, herring, tuna), extra-virgin olive oil, walnuts, flax seed, berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, goji berries), dark green leafy vegetables and whole grains to help to focus and improve mental performance such as planning and quick decision-making under pressure.
To start maximizing mental toughness performance benefits in training and competition through diet I highly recommend reaching for at least one of the previously mentioned food at each meal.
Remember that for your best performance, having adequate sleep, good stress management, and proper food intake will enhance mental sharpness. For more information and to learn how working with a sports nutritionist can improve your athletic game, contact Alyson Marquez, MS, RDN, CSSD, LD/N for your personalized consultation today.