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Julie Tucker
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Super foods = super productivity

The foods we eat can have a significant effect on our brain and motivation levels.

The right foods can increase brainpower and productivity by up to 20%, according to data from the World Health Organisation.

The findings are particularly relevant for people who work in offices and other scenarios where there are limited dining options. Rather than grabbing an unhealthy snack, we should all dine with good nutrition in mind, as the foods we eat have a significant effect on our work output.

If you feel a little sluggish at work, you should consider adding some “superfoods” to your regular diet. Nutrition experts say they have a positive effect on our health and productivity, giving our brain a boost. This is what makes them super!

  1. Berries

Rich in antioxidants, berries are good for improving our memory – a bonus in the workplace. Scientific research also suggests they can help to prevent Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s in the future. It generally follows that the darker the berry, the greater its antioxidant properties are. This means it contains more ingredients to boost productivity.

  1. Salmon

Fatty species of fish, such as salmon, are good for promoting productivity. Salmon has exceptionally high concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids. These are particularly useful to improve memory function and mental performance. They can also help to alleviate depression – a condition that can hamper productivity.

An article reported in Livestrong.com described how an eight-week study of 28 patients with depression concluded adding omega-3 to their usual treatment had significantly helped to alleviate their condition. The study recommended eating more fish, such as salmon, to achieve similar results.

  1. Dark chocolate

If you think all sugar is bad for you, think again. In fact, research has shown dark chocolate is good for satisfying your sweet tooth, as well as improving mental focus because its caffeine content makes you feel more energetic and able to focus on the task in hand. In addition, it contains magnesium, a natural supplement that helps to relieve stress. Don’t go overboard on eating dark chocolate, though. Eating just a quarter of a bar is sufficient for an energy-boosting snack.

  1. Green tea

Green tea boosts your energy naturally, without any negative side effects. One of the most popular types of green tea, in terms of boosting energy, is Matcha. It is a unique blend where the whole green tea leaf is used to make the brew. Some alternatives involve submerging the tea leaves into hot water to release the flavour. Consuming the whole leaf provides a powerful antioxidant, polyphenols, as well as fibre.

  1. Avocados

Avocados are a stimulant that helps keep the blood flowing consistently around the heart and brain – believed to be the secret to productivity. An avocado a day will offer a tasty and simple way to fire up the blood cells, according to WebMD. Not only do avocados taste delicious, but they also improve your focus.

  1. Nuts

Medical research suggests you should eat a handful of nuts at regular intervals for several reasons. First, they are a good source of protein. They are also a natural fat that your body needs. Finally, they are an antioxidant and provide a rich source of amino acids and vitamin E. This gives you a natural boost in terms of brain and memory performance. Walnuts and almonds in particular are among the best varieties. If you’re sitting in the office, always keep a bag of nuts on your desk as an alternative to snacking on unhealthy foods.

  1. Water

Although this isn’t a food, it is absolutely vital for enhancing your workplace productivity. Our body is 70% water and every bodily function depends on it to work efficiently. You should keep drinking water during the day, as our natural supplies will gradually deplete if we don’t keep it topped up. If you don’t drink enough water and become dehydrated, your brain and other bodily functions will suffer.

 

Take a break

These foods, beverages and snacks are simple but can provide the important boost you’re looking for if you’re struggling to stay motivated and focused at work.

The secret is to take a break if you start feeling tired or sluggish. Grab one of these superfoods and take a walk away from your desk. Ideally, go outside if you can.

This is easier if you work somewhere with flexible working practices, such as a coworking space, as you can arrange your work schedule around what suits you. Taking a walk outside while having a healthy snack can boost your motivation and will help increase your productivity when you return to the office. If you don’t feel you have time to leave the building, go and eat in the kitchen, or in a communal area, so you can recharge your batteries.

Try not to eat junk food, as it can have a negative impact on your body and brain. Most foods that are high in saturated fats, kilojoules, salt and sugar can be classed as junk foods. In physical terms, they can lead to a high risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and liver disease.

In mental terms, if you eat junk food for a mid-morning snack or at lunchtime, you will find yourself getting sleepy by early afternoon. Employees often report the “mid-afternoon lull”, when they simply can’t concentrate. This can often be attributed to eating a lot of junk foods earlier in the day.

Enjoy a wide variety of healthy and nutritional foods every day and drink plenty of water and you will soon start to notice the improvements in your overall performance.

 

© marilyn barbone / Shutterstock.com

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