Written by Jonathan McDougall
An audition can be a nerve-wracking experience, so you’ll need every advantage you can get, and that includes being alert, calm and focused. Being mindful of what goes into your stomach beforehand can help you get there. For best results, it’s advisable to eat your meal at least sixty, if not ninety minutes before your scheduled audition. This will ensure that the food has been partially digested so it can work its proper magic on your brain.
Avoid excessive carbohydrates
An MIT study found that foods high in carbohydrates, such as bagels or muffins, can produce high levels of tryptophan, an amino acid that can cause drowsiness. Instead, focus on lean proteins such as eggs, white meat, or fish. Protein helps your body produce the amino acid tyrosine, which is used to make the chemicals norepinephrine and dopamine. These chemicals promote mental alertness by enabling the synthesis of neurotransmitters.
Feed your brain with healthy fats.
It is now widely known that not all fats are created equal. While many of us get an overabundance of ‘bad’ fats, such as the fat found in deep-fried foods, it’s important to remember the ‘good’ fats, especially before an audition. These fats, called omega-3 fatty acids, help you stay focused and provide oxygen to the brain. Arctic salmon, olive oil, avocados, and flax seeds are all excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids.
B-vitamins: the ‘B’ stands for ‘brain’
B-vitamins such as vitamins B6, B12, and folic acid are great for improving memory, focus, and brain power. Brown rice and other whole grains contain B vitamins, as do vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and brussels sprouts. Folic acid is especially high in leafy green vegetables such as kale and spinach. These also provide high amounts of Vitamin K which helps the brain focus.
Don’t skip the coffee
Coffee has been shown to enhance short-term memory performance and improve attention capacity, so unless you have a particular sensitivity to it, go ahead and have that cup o’ joe. Though it’s best to limit yourself to one small cup — too much can make you jittery, and as coffee is a diuretic, you may find yourself frequently needing to use the bathroom.
When something weighs heavily on your mind — such as a big audition coming up — it’s important to remain focused on what you’re eating. When the mind is preoccupied, some people tend to overeat. Aim to have ‘just enough’ to keep you active and energized.
Jonathan McDougall is a freelance writer currently working as an English School Teacher and with the Elizabeth Mestnik Acting Studio