When I need a little mental pick me up, I go for Omega Fatty Acids, freshly brewed green tea and dark, dark chocolate (with almonds of course!). In a study done by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, people with low levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids in their blood reported low energy, feelings of depression and an overall negative mood. On the flip side, people with normal to elevated levels of fatty acids were found to be in a more constant state of well being. The brain uses Fatty Acids to create the specialized cells that allow you to feel and think. If you are lacking in this nutrient, it’s a must that you start to consume it.
Freshly brewed green tea has a lovely caffeine kick that stimulates the mind and the rest of the nervous system. I truly try to stay away from coffee because I get the shakes and I feel like I could tackle cars (not a good thing…cause I will do it). For some people green tea isn’t enough, so they have to consume coffee. I suggest having coffee every other day (usually training days), with the other day being a rest from it. Green Tea is a mild stimulant and an incredible antioxidant fighter against cancer causing free radicals. The chemical epigallocatechin-3 gallate (EGCG) is that antioxidant. EGCG has recently been shown to act directly on increasing the production of neural progenitor cells, which have the ability to turn into different types of cells within the brain. Most of the time when I consume food and drink I try to visualize the nutrients being absorbed into the body and new and healthy ones being born.
Dark chocolate does wonders to stimulate the mind, the small amount of sugar, caffeine, antioxidants and flavonols all awaken the body! The University of L’Aquila in L’Aquila, Italy have discovered that people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) who consumed a high dosage of flavonols from cocoa had significantly higher overall cognitive scores than those who didn’t. Chocolate increases serotonin and dopamine levels…. the feel good chemicals in the brain. This is how people get addicted to it and become ‘chocoholics.’
I’m all about prolonging life, especially the quality of life. To have a healthy happy training session or day one must have a healthy happy brain. These are the three main ingredients I consume twenty minutes before a workout to get me revved up!
- A shot of Cod Live Oil
- One (or two) servings of chocolate
- 2 cups of green tea