‘You are what you eat’ should mean more to you after reading this than it ever has.
Have you ever felt tired or lethargic after eating your lunch?
Do you feel like you all you want to do is take a nap in the middle of the day?
Do you feel like you need more motivation after reading 10 motivational quotes and listening to 2 YouTube videos?
If your answer is yes, then make a mental list of all the foods you ate today and keep it in the back of your mind.
The human brain has many neurotransmitters. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays a huge role in human behavior. Dopamine helps in controlling the reward and pleasure centers of the brain as well as it helps to regulate movement and emotional responses. Dopamine is often blamed as being the cause of addiction. This is because Dopamine is responsible for sending a single to the brain when people receive a reward or expect to receive one. Imagine a message to your brain saying “That slice of cake was soooo delicious.. eat the whole thing!”. Yup! that’s Dopamine. So what does this have to do with motivation and what we eat?
First, low levels of dopamine may contribute to depression, forgetfulness, inability to concentrate, inability to complete a task and many other things that work against motivation and productivity. Therefore, foods that naturally increase dopamine must be consumed to help. Foods such as avocado, nuts, fish (Tuna, Salmon), yogurt and many others are a great way to naturally boost dopamine levels.
Second, this means that it is possible to use rewards to change behavior. Some people are more motivated when there is a light at the end of the tunnel. After 2 hours of studying a break and a treat might be just what you need to get back into it. Stick to foods that are good for you as rewards rather than unhealthy foods. If you are a chocolate lover then reward yourself with 2 pieces of dark chocolate rather than a bar of milk chocolate with caramel color.
Vitamin B is among those awesome vitamins that are important for energy. Vitamin B helps to convert food to energy. Vitamin B has also been linked to easing stress, aiding memory and treating anxiety and depression. Often stress and depression are all it takes to reduce energy. Therefore, in order to feel more energetic, you can start by eating foods that naturally boost your vitamin B levels.
Now there are many other linkages between motivation and food. The research goes far beyond dopamine and vitamin B, however, it is a good place to start.
For those of us who eat healthy on a regular and consider ourselves highly motivated, we can still make better choices when it’s crunch time. Even the best of us get caught up and need to get a large amount of work done in a short space of time. Often a sugary treat is used for a little energy boost. However, that sugary treat may not do all that we want. The boost often quickly turns you into a slug and you now need more treats. So, what is the solution? The solution is to eat foods that will keep you focused and give you energy that you won’t need to pay for. Snack on healthy foods with a high-fat content instead of sugar.
Here is a short list of foods that have the power to keep you motivated.
Green Leafy Vegetables
(Compare your mental list to these foods; any overlap?)
Message: Energy gained from eating fats is good energy.
Pumpkin seeds are my absolute favorite food to snack on when I am working, traveling or binge-watching my favorite shows. Be sure to tell us your favorite healthy snacks in the comments.