What will you do when you find yourself sitting in the office and feel that your brain batteries need a recharge? You may opt for a coffee cup, perform a warm-up walk around your workspace, or get a quick meal. But the chances are that your meal wouldn't be so helpful - instead, it can make you even more sleepy and apathetic.
Ingredients of your meals play a crucial role in defining how energized and productive you may perform. Some of them fill your body with long-lasting energy, allowing you to be more agile. In contrast, others could help power up your brain for better performance. Meanwhile, certain foods could cause the feeling of heaviness in your stomach, make you sluggish, or be the reason for a "brain fog." So a wise approach to selecting your meals is a must-have if you want to stay on top of your work performance.
So we've created a complete guide to help you define the "productivity foods" and gathered delicious ideas on how you can easily add them to your daily menu. Dive in and learn how you can make the most out of every bite you take!
The link between your brain work & the foods you eat
Your brain is the most demanding part of your body - scientists claim it consumes 20% of your total body's energy. So fueling it in the right way is essential for staying productive. So let's clear out which nutrients it needs:
As the primary energy source, carbs are essential for your body to move and perform its primary functions. Glucose, which is a carb, is the key energy source for the brain. It's crucial for your nerve functioning and neurotransmission - when your body lacks glucose, the nerve communication breaks, slowing down your brain performance. Low glucose levels also relate to lower attention and poor concentration.
Complex carbs, in turn, are the source of long-lasting energy since they're digested slowly and provide your body with fiber. Fiber helps your body regulate blood sugar, lower cholesterol levels, and keep hunger at bay. Consuming fiber may also help reduce inflammation and thus support your brain health and nerve integrity. So if you want to have a solid memory and maintain your brain productivity as long as possible, you need to get enough complex carbs in your diet.
We all know that protein acts as a building block for muscles and tissues, helping you stay strong and agile. But did you know that protein provides high-level support to your brain too? Protein is a source of essential amino acids in your body, which support your memory health. Meanwhile, it also helps produce enzymes for improving energy levels and fighting mental fatigue. Research claims that your brain needs protein to convey signals transmission between nerves, protect your cells from oxidative damage, and help you fight stress.
Surprisingly, scientists have found that 60% of our brains are made of fats. They told us to eat more fish if we want our brains to stay healthy. Fats, especially healthy ones, like unsaturated fats, contribute to mood support, memory health, and brain performance. For instance, consuming Omega-3 fatty acids (present in fish, nuts, and plant oils) could help you fight depression symptoms and reduce anxiety. These fatty acids will be beneficial when you want to level up your brain performance, boost thinking skills, or strengthen your memory.
By getting the balance of these three nutrients in your diet, you may reach the level of brain health & productivity you've always dreamed of. The results could be more than just promising: complete tasks faster, find more creative solutions, and never skip your deadlines again. But which foods are the best in delivering these nutrients to your body? Read on to discover top-7 "productivity foods" which may help you skyrocket your daily cognitive performance!
Top-7 productivity foods to help your brain stay healthy & perform better
Not all healthy foods are so helpful to your brain productivity. Some can make you sleepy or cause constant hunger that disrupts your workflow and focus. So you should be wise when selecting ingredients for your meals or picking snacks. Here are the foods to help you skyrocket your brain performance:
This fruit is a simple yet effective solution if you want to power up your brain naturally while also getting tons of helpful nutrients for your body. First, they are rich in glucose - just one banana a day is enough to cover your daily glucose needs! Meanwhile, bananas are rich in fiber, releasing glucose slowly, allowing you to get long-term energy. That makes these yellow fellows way more healthy sugary snacks than sweets, cookies, or pastry, which your body quickly digests.
Also, bananas supply your body with amino acids tyrosine and tryptophan, which help your body produce mood-regulating hormones. Research says these hormones may allow you to reduce anxiety, maintain solid focus, and stay calm for improved productivity. Besides, one banana contains 37 mg of magnesium - mineral, which contributes to your nerve health & thinking speed.
Try making banana pancakes for breakfast or filling lunch - it will take less than 15 minutes, but you'll be stunned by the taste! Just add some mashed bananas to your regular pancake mix and fry them on each side for a few minutes. Then serve them with honey or Greek yogurt - a heart-warming & productivity-boosting meal guaranteed!
Yeah, one more simple food bursting with nutrients! As you can see, the simpler the product, the more benefits it can bring to your health, even if it's just plain eggs. According to scientists, egg yolks are a rich source of choline. It's a nutrient similar to vitamin B, which may help your body reduce inflammatory processes and protect your brain cells. Plus, choline may help you maintain your memory health and help you stabilize your mood.
Eggs are also rich in tryptophan - an amino acid essential for your body to produce the "happiness hormone" serotonin. So adding more eggs to your diet is a way to boost your mood and avoid frequent mood swings! Meanwhile, eggs can supply your body with a massive protein dose - a medium egg contains around 7 grams. So it can be a decent meal option if your body & brain needs long-term energy for the day.
If you're bored with regular fried or boiled eggs, don't fret - we have a more creative idea for your egg meal. Try to make egg toasts - cut the middles out of several slices of toast bread and toast it in a pan. Then crack an egg into each toast, cover with a pan and simmer until tender. That way, you'll enjoy a creative egg meal while also supplying your brain with the nutrients it craves.
Greens are just a body for the salad, with little taste and "unnoticeable effect" for many people. However, leafy greens could be the top ingredient for many meals regarding brain benefits. A study says that consuming just one serving or one raw cup of leafy greens is enough to slow down brain aging and avoid cognitive decline. Such foods as kale, spinach, and broccoli, maybe not be the most filling - instead, they're full of nutrients like vitamins, flavonoids, and antioxidants.
Meanwhile, leafy greens are also rich in folate, lutein, vitamin K, and beta-carotene, which help support your brain health and cognitive skills. These nutrients are also helpful for protecting your memory and leveling up your thinking skills.
Since some people just don't have time to cook salads, we prepared a quick & easy idea on how you can add them to your busy menu. When making sandwiches, add some kale leaves or spinach to the ham and cheese and put them between bread slices. You won't need to change your eating habits while also getting more nutrients for your brain productivity.
This high-calory, nutritious green berry is a natural superfood for supporting your brain. Research claims that consuming avocados may help your body fight oxidative processes and strengthen your brain protection. Nutrients in avocado target those brain parts responsible for critical thinking and planning skills.
What's more, avocado is extremely rich in healthy unsaturated fats, which could help you maintain brain cells integrity. Fatty acids may also aid in supporting the structure of information-carrying nerves. Plus, unsaturated fats in avocado could contribute to your positive mood, helping with serotonin hormone production.
Avocados could seem tasteless and too oily to some people. If you think like that too, then we have an out-of-the-box idea for you to add avocados to your menu. You can make an avocado spread that perfectly fits toasts or try it as a refreshing garnish. Mix it with smashed tomatoes and species to make guacamole - fantastic with snacks. That way, you may enjoy your nutritious meal and jam-ack your brain with the power it needs.
There's no healthier animal food for your brain than fatty fish. It's bursting with Omega-3 fatty acids, essential for your brain health and productivity. Seafood is also rich in manganese, boosting your concentration, cognitive performance, and memory. The high zinc content makes fish an outstanding option to keep your brain alert and reduce anxiety and working-related stress. Oily fish, such as salmon, include astaxanthin amino acids to protect your brain and boost "good" cholesterol levels in your blood.
While cooking raw fish may be too long for a busy lifestyle, you can add seafood to your diet with no difficulties. Quick toasts with salmon and avocado will make a delicious breakfast. You can get a filling and nutritious salad with tuna and bell pepper for lunch. And for dinner, you can bake a rainbow trout in foil with little effort. Believe us - your brain will like it!
As for nuts, they work brilliantly to boost your cognitive performance. Surveys have proved eating walnuts can help you reduce stress and possibly avoid cognitive decline because of their high Omega 3 content. Meanwhile, almonds are rich in vitamin E, enhancing your brain function.
Moreover, nuts are full of antioxidants which may help your body fight inflammatory processes that damage brain cells and weaken your memory. So snacking with nuts is a great way to power up your brain and perform better in your workplace.
Nuts are a blessing when you add them as a topping. Add chopped almonds to your morning yogurt and fruit bowl. Pistachios will fit salads, so take some in a lunch box to mix them. If you like pasta for dinner, add hazelnuts or walnuts to it.
It's time for something sweet - and dark chocolate is one of the best desserts to keep your brain on track! It's a source of stimulants such as theobromine and caffeine, which may enhance your blood flow to the brain and boost your cognitive performance. The study also claims that you may instantly improve your memory and reaction time by eating dark chocolate. It's a great source of healthy glucose - to power up your performance and avoid sugar cravings.
Flavanols, found in dark chocolate and cocoa, also provide antioxidant support to your brain, helping it protect nerves and cells from destruction. Besides, dark chocolate is a well-known happiness booster! Cocoa helps your body produce serotonin, making you calmer and more confident in your every decision. So why don't you make dark chocolate your regular snack and the top ingredient for all the desserts you make?
Did you know chocolate cakes can also be a part of a healthy diet? If you cook it with whole-grain flour, brown sugar, and unsweetened cocoa powder, this cake will be low in fats and calories. And what's more, you can make it even with the busiest schedule! Just 10 minutes in the microwave is enough for your soft and melting cake to be ready. Then, add some walnuts to increase its protein and healthy fats contents, and decorate with blueberries to make it more nutrient-rich.
No magic fruit or veggie can skyrocket your productivity after one bite. But that works for any goal in our life - you can’t achieve something in just one step. You can reach the best results for your productivity only through a mindful set of decisions. Try combining healthy fats and proteins in your morning meals and turning it into a habit. Plus, make sure your every meal contains a “productivity-boosting ingredient.” Add nuts to your salads, some dark chocolate to your desserts, and leafy greens as a garnish to meats.
Your brain will always have the fuel to accomplish all your tasks and stay energized. “Productivity foods” may help your career flourish if you manage to incorporate them into your diet.