Fuelling Your Brain for High-Octane Performance

Your noggin is only 2% of your body weight, but it consumes 20% of its energy. Here’s how to keep your power-guzzling grey matter seriously stoked.


Wake-up power-up

After a good night’s sleep, we’re so dozy that, psychologically, it’s like being drunk, found Kenneth Wright, psychologist at the University of Colorado in the US. “Sleep inertia is most severe in the first 10 minutes,” he says. Get your grey matter fired up with wholegrain cereal, milk and banana. “Protein in milk revitalises the brain and carbs drip-feed energy.”


Mid-meeting re-boot


Rather than being frowned upon, doodling should be actively encouraged in meetings because it improves our ability to pay attention, a British psychologist claims. “Doodling helps you concentrate,” says the UK’s University of Plymouth psychologist Jackie Andrade. She found drawing randomly improves information recall.


Lunchtime fuel boost

Your brain needs a constant supply of glucose. But it can’t store it, so your bloodstream must deliver. Complex carbs take hours to break down, so glucose is drip-fed to the brain. (Simple carbs break apart quickly, giving only a short-term boost.) So switch from white bread to wholemeal.


Afternoon defribillator

The scent of peppermint decreases fatigue by up to 25%, according to researchers at the Wheeling Jesuit University in the US. “The aroma wakes you up, much like smelling salts,” explains Alan Hirsch, neurological director at The Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in the US.


Handy power surge

Acupressure techniques are great energy boosters, according to researchers at the University of Michigan in the US. Try craniosacral massage: Place your thumbs on your ears and stretch your hands, so your fingertips meet at the top of you head. Tap this spot lightly for a few minutes while breathing deeply. (Not advised to be done while driving.)



Image from Corbis

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