B Alert – B vitamins, such as folate or folic acid, play a key role in forming the brain’s memory cells and have been shown to improve alertness in adults. Found in orange juice, green vegetables, cantaloupe and whole grain foods including those enriched with folic acid such as breads, cereals, pasta and rice.
Pay Attention with Tea
Coffee may be the go-to beverage for most who want to add some pep to their step but, too much caffeine can cause nervous jitters -- not a good look during a job interview. So maybe you should switch to tea today. New research on drinking tea highlights its effect to calm us down so we can concentrate better and focus on the task at hand. John Foxe, Ph.D. Professor of Neuroscience, Biology and Psychology at City College of the City University of New York found that theanine, an amino acid present in the tea plant increases alpha brain-wave activity, which induces a calmer, yet more alert, state of mind. Theanine is found in green, black and oolong teas.
Water for the Brain
If your brain feels a bit fuzzy or you feel irritability coming on you might just be thirsty. Dehydration can make you feel listless, lethargic and contribute to concentration problems. Make sure to drink water or other thirst-quenching drinks to keep your brain hydrated -- but keep an eye out for restroom signs at your interview location!
Chew Gum While Waiting
While gum chewing during an interview is not advised because it may detract from what you’re saying, research shows that gum can help you stay focused and alert. Researchers at Baylor University found that chewing gum improved students’ scores on math tests. And in a lab setting participants who chewed gum showed reduced stress and improved mental alertness.
What if it’s an interview during a meal? If it’s a dinner interview and the others are having glass of wine; it’s OK to follow suit but remember you’re the one in the spotlight. And let’s just say you’re a vegetarian or have strong feelings about your low-carb diet. This is no time to share your passion for dietary concerns, especially if the boss-to-be is digging into a rack of ribs or big bowl of pasta. Choose easy to eat foods such as soups and salads or simple entrees of chicken or fish so you can keep up with the conversation during lunch. Chomping corn on the cob or swirling spaghetti noodles might be a bit distracting.
Carolyn O’Neil is a registered dietitian and co-author of “The Dish on Eating Healthy and Being Fabulous!” E-mail her at carolyn@carolynoneil .com.