These Three Culprits Will Increase lethargy and Stress During the Day

Three stress culprits

Eating for top brain performance is a must for everyone

Food impacts our whole body, from our mood, gut, health and energy levels. I notice a massive difference in how I feel anytime I eat something with sugar. My body isn’t used to the enormous surge of sweet stuff, and I have micro-sleeps at my desk! It can be unpleasant when you are at work, and your eyes start closing in front of all your colleagues. Compromised food causes inflammation in the gut, which affects the available energy that our brain and body need. Inflammation of this kind is low grade and flips the metabolic switch in the chemical pathway that produces energy. Over time, the constant influx of harmful foods lowers our energy and increases the number of free radicals that can damage brain tissue. Perhaps this appears as brain fog or the inability to concentrate. I know I’ve been there before — several times! If we can gather our understanding of what foods causes low-grade inflammation, we can better equip ourselves to avoid these, especially during peak times when we have to perform our best. That applies to work and anything athletic we have set our sights on. Athletes must perform a certain way, and diminishing your potential hurts your progress. 

Here is a list of all the culprits to avoid:

Seed oils

Those cheap and nasty oils used to deep or pan-fried your protein sources, and perhaps vegetables, are highly toxic to your body. Oils to be aware of are:

  • Cottonseed
  • Grape-seed
  • Soybean
  • Sunflower
  • Palm oils

These oils are very high in inflammatory omega-six fatty acids, with no omega-three, which helps combat inflammation and promotes healthy brain functioning. You can’t control the oils that restaurants and cafes use, and sometimes it is healthier to make your foods. Studies indicate that people who consume high omega-six fatty acids face a greater risk of depression than omega-three. Use olive oil and nut oils only on salads, and don’t fry anything in oil, apart from the coconut variety. Coconut oil doesn’t turn rancid and toxic when exposed to high heat. 

Artificial sweeteners

In our quest to avoid added sugar, we turn to the artificial variety for a healthier alternative — but instead, it poses a more significant dent in our health than we realise. One study indicated that people who use artificial sweeteners through diet drinks are more depressed than those who do not. Several other studies indicate how toxic these artificial sugars are since they can harm our brains, messing with our mood neurotransmitters. I used stevia as a sweetener that doesn’t alter moods or mess with my energy. Stevia is derived from a plant, isn’t toxic (depending on the brand you use), and therefore is a better alternative. However, be sure to look at the ingredient label, as companies might add alcohol, which defeats the purpose of most health goals. 

Foods fried in oil

When it comes to fried food, you can bet your bottom dollar it contains any of the oils mentioned above (because they are dirt cheap to buy). Unfortunately, cafes and restaurants want to make money, and many do not consider the dangers of the oil used. A study of 715 factory workers measured their depression, resilience and fried food consumption. Unsurprisingly, the researchers found that those who consumed more fried foods were more susceptible to developing depression during their lifetime. If you must eat out, try sushi or baked or boiled alternatives rather than fried. Also, why not make your meals home if you work from the office? Portable meals are not only healthy but cheap and a lot tastier! 

Foods in packets on supermarket shelves

Beware, protein bars can be filled with more sugar and processed ingredients than doughnuts! Reading food labels will be your savour here. Added and refined sugars in all packeted goods are trouble. Also, watch out for high fructose corn syrup, a glucose brain flooder. When this happens, you increase your brain inflammation chances, lowering your mood and leaving you feeling exhausted. Be aware of the snacks you choose to eat, and alternate them with natural alternatives, such as fruit and vegetables. Try a protein shake with a reputable brand or make protein bars at home as regular snacks. Protein sources such as eggs are fantastic, providing your brain with feel-good nutrients. Eggs are also deficient in calories and keep you full. 

What to eat instead

When picking shacks, make these a priority on your shopping list. Healthy fats: Avocados are gold, and so are nut butter and olive oil Prebiotics: Promote better gut health and digestion by eating more green bananas, oats, garlic, onions and asparagus Omega-three: Found in salmon, sardines (if you can stomach them) or a good quality krill oil supplement if you are a vegan/veg Spices: go crazy on spices to jazz up the flavours of your food. Turmeric is anti-inflammatory Changing your eating habits will positively impact your mind, body, and soul. Weight loss will then become a byproduct of your hard work. Making the right daily choices takes time, effort, and commitment, but the benefits outweigh the effort.

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