When we think about mental resilience we often think about our mindset and self-talk. However, there is a physiological aspect to it as well. Let’s call that Physiological resilience. Most people think about this as the body, and it’s how we look after our ‘temple’, the vehicle that houses our mind and spirit. Looking after this temple involves many factors, including a combination of things from exercise and nutrition to hydration and sleep and the brain itself.
The body doesn’t just encompass our muscles and skeleton; it also includes the brain which runs the whole show. A lot of your physiological and mental resilience comes from the food and water you intake to support your brain, which allows you to do all the things that you do, and handle all of the things that come at you, day by day. Your brain, will perform at it’s best and most resilient if it is properly fed and well hydrated. Properly fed means a diet with the right kinds of foods that help build the building blocks of your grey matter which are the neurotransmitters and the myelin sheath of your brain. Hydration, proteins and fats in the brain allow your brain to function optimally in moments of stress and pretty much whether anything that impacts your resilience.
The brain drain…
Your brain is an energy-sucking organ: It weighs just 2 per cent of your total body weight and yet it consumes 20 per cent of the energy intake. This is like the kettle in your home, it uses a lot of power. Critical thinking, problem solving and learning new things uses even more energy. So we create habits so that common tasks draw less energy. We go on power saving mode. So given this we need to keep it powered-up. This is why the food you eat and hydration matters. You want good quality raw ingredients to provide you the best power source.
Modern life is full of challenges…
With all of the stresses and strains we face, we are burning through our energy faster and faster. It used to be the 2 o’clock slump we had to watch out for when we started the ‘hunt’ for sugar and / or caffeine because we’re burning through energy, now this begins with the breakfast Red Bull. That begs the question. Are we consuming the foods that support us to have sustainable mental energy, focus, concentration and clarity?
We end up reaching for another coffee, or similar. When what we really need is water. The best energy drink you can have is not Red Bull or a V. It’s water. When it comes to a substances ability to restore clarity, neither coke nor any other form of caffeine comes close to water. Simple H20 and the hydration it provides is critical to your brain. Without water, you can’t think clearly; you get headaches and you lack energy without it. Your brain does not function correctly without it, period!
Water is one of the top 10 nutrients you can imbibe to be resilient.
Brain foods are not about weight or calories per se; this is about ‘foods’ that support your brain to do what it needs to do to have focus and concentration. These foods enable us to be clear and have the energy required to get through the day. These foods allow the body to build the neurotransmitters and memory blocks that allows for an excellent healthy functioning brain with good recall. In this way, the Prefrontal cortex which is responsible for the executive function of the brain is well supported. Being well supported means your brain can get on with the tasks of critical thinking, innovation, problem-solving, logical flow and creativity as well as supporting our resilience.
For these functions to be performed optimally your brain needs to be hydrated and appropriately nourished with the right kinds of nutrients helping the brain build new neurotransmitters so that they communicate properly. Further, good nutrition keeps the ones you’ve already got stay in good health. These nutrients help you lock-in memories, have them be more vivid and convert from short term memory into long term memory. To this end, the foods you want to eat to support this process are proteins, water, fats low glycemic sugar, as well as the top 10 foods for brain resilience which are:
Avocados: Good fats for the brain
Blueberries: Full of natural antioxidants
Broccoli: And other cruciferous vegetables
Leafy greens: Such as spinach and kale
Eggs: For protein that help build the neurotransmitters
Salmon: For Omega 3’s they help with memory retention
Turmeric: An anti-inflammatory that also works to support your brain
Walnuts: They look like a brain and are great for brain health
Natural dark chocolate: Good for you and low in sugar
Water: To support your hydration and keep you moving
So, now you know what to feed your brain for resilience, clarity and overall good health you’ll be better supported to cope with modern life and not just survive but thrive and rise to the challenges we all face.
It’s time to go shopping!