We have always taken food seriously at Sundial Venues and our teams have done quite a bit of work on understanding and sharing the principles of how what we eat affects our energy levels, concentration and brain function.
Here are some of the key takeaways (pardon the pun):
Blood Sugar Balance
It’s not just the rapid increase in cases of diabetes that has put the spotlight on blood sugar balance. Awareness of this key metabolic measure has highlighted its impact on our ability to concentrate and think clearly. Refined carbohydrates in the form of sugary snacks and drinks will rapidly raise levels of blood sugar, however the natural response is then rapidly triggered to remove sugar making any energy burst short-lived and result in higher levels of fatigue. Carbs that release their sugars more slowly will make the body feel full up for longer and produce steady energy and concentration levels. Good examples of slow releasing carbs include fibre rich foods such as fresh fruit & vegetables, whole grains such as brown rice and wholemeal bread, beans and lentils.
Essential Vitamins & Minerals
Our biochemistry requires these important nutrients for day to day functioning – it’s not just about preventing colds. Brain chemistry in particular depends on them. They include, B & C Vitamins, Calcium, Magnesium and Zinc. The tips at the end of this piece list some good sources of these nutrients.
Believe it or not, the brain consists of 60% fat, getting the wrong fats absorbed into the brain is a real hazard. Hydrogenated fats which are prevalent in processed foods and ‘trans’ fats found in fried foods can occupy the place of essential fats such at Omega 3 and 6, fats found in oily fish, pumpkin seeds, walnuts and other seeds and their oils. These fats are needed to regulate the release and performance of neurotransmitters and help the brain function effectively.
Check out our infographic about the importance of food at your next meeting or conference.
Basic guidelines for a good Brain Food Diet
- Eat more fresh fruit and vegetables – ideally organic and raw or only lightly cooked. I think the fresh fruit smoothies we often offer at Sundial are a great way to get your share
- Choose whole grains like brown rice such as Basmati, organic oats in porridge, muesli, oat cakes and rye bread
- Eat oily fish, nuts and seeds (these always feature in Sundial’s snack areas and buffets)
- Drink plenty of water, ideally 2 litres a day