Neal Barnard, a naturopathic doctor and the author of Power Foods for the Brain, says a typical breakfast for a busy person on the go (a muffin and a cup of coffee, for instance) might not give your brain and body the nutrients they need to help you be successful in business.
Since your brain is a function of what you feed it, a caffeine and sugar-fuelled breakfast might provide you with that extra surge to get to your desk on time but by midmorning this stimulated energy has drained away, leaving you desperate for your second cup. Here is what you should be eating for breakfast, according to Barnard, to feed your "inner entrepreneur".
• Healthy carbohydrates Carbohydrates are a source of glucose, your body's fuel. A good breakfast will include at least one portion of complex carbohydrates that have a low glycemic index value so as not to cause rapid highs and lows in your blood sugar. Barnard suggests oatmeal and rye toast: "They keep you powered longer without any peaks or troughs, giving your brain the fuel it needs to be creative and make good decisions."
• Low-fat protein Barnard advises against the usual high-fat breakfast meats. "The saturated fat in them is like Vaseline in your bloodstream and makes you feel very sluggish," he says. Instead, beans make an excellent breakfast choice.
• Fruit smoothies Move over coffee and make way for a smoothie. "Caffeine has a stimulant effect. The problem is that people get used to it," Barnard says. The day is then spent recovering, becoming progressively tired later in the day. "Your brain starts to really need it just to feel normal." Instead of coffee, try a breakfast smoothie or natural fruit juice for an energy boost that won't have you collapsing by midday.
• Dairy alternatives According to Barnard, dairy is high in cholesterol and fat, which can leave you feeling depleted of energy as the day wears on. To avoid this, we should switch to non-dairy options such as rice, quinoa, almond or soy milk, all of which are rich in protein and other important nutrients while having very little saturated fat and being easier to digest.
Laura Holland is a well-being consultant and nutritional therapist. For more information, go to www.beutifulyou.co.uk
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