10 Sep Energy-Rich Super Foods that Keep You Focused at Work
If you constantly find yourself at your desk staring blankly at your computer screen attempting to prop your eyelids open, it might be time to make some changes to your diet. If your body has unbalanced levels of nutrients, carbohydrates and glucose, your energy and focus at work is likely waning.
According to the International Labor Office, poor diets are responsible for up to a 20 percent loss in work productivity. Making positive changes to your eating habits can double your efficiency at the office. By better understanding how your body uses the nutrients you ingest to fuel your brain functions and mood, you can begin to make positive changes.
Foods provide our bodies energy three ways: providing calories, delivering stimulants and boosting metabolism. While carbohydrates are your body’s main fuel source, eating the wrong carbs can lead to a sugar crash which depletes your energy. Stay away from simple sugars like those in sweets and refined flour. These may give you a short burst of energy, but they prompt cells to suck vital glucose from your brain, which can leave you feeling weak and confused.
Instead of reaching for a sugary boost, choose your foods and beverages wisely. There are a range of healthy, energy-rich foods to select from. Pick one, or mix and match and enhance productivity with each bite.
- Raisins: This wrinkly fruit contains potassium, which helps your body convert food to energy.
- Nuts: Magnesium-rich nuts keep your body from producing lactic acid, the substance that makes you feel post-workout fatigue.
- Chocolate: in addition to its mood lifting ingredients, chocolate also contains caffeine and theobromine, another stimulant.
- Whole grains: remember: ditch the simple sugar and go for the whole wheat variety of breads, pastas and snacks. Crashes from simple sugars can stifle good judgment, analytical skills and memory retention.
- Apples: the skin of apples, as well as those of red onions, berries and grapes, contains quercetin which helps you battle daily fatigue and stress.
Stay Alert & Focused
- Green tea: Relaxes the brain to keep you out of hyper-drive, and instead, calm and focused.
- Peppermint: simply the smell can help you concentrate on tedious tasks.
- Lean meats:lean turkey beef, chicken and pork contain tyrosine, which increases dopamine and norepinephrine. These brain chemicals will keep you alert on the job.
- Eggs: Ditch the “egg-whites-only” policy. The egg yolk contains choline, which speeds up the signals of your brain’s nerve cells.
- Berries: Blueberries are linked to improved motor skills while strawberries can improve memory recall.
- Green, leafy vegetables: Eat these to keep your iron levels in check. Lack of iron means lack of cognitive function.
- Alcohol: moderate alcohol consumption yields positive brain benefits. Just to be clear, no one is advising you to drink at work to improve productivity.
Reduce Stress and Improve Mood
- Water: H2O reduces stress hormones. Drinking 80 oz. of water a day also staves energy loss due to dehydration.
- Fish:Not only do the Omega-3 fatty acids within build cell membranes, but they also can improve positive attitudes and make people more agreeable.
- Flax seed: sprinkle a tablespoon in your morning cereal to get a dose of alpha-linolenic acid, which helps your brain process pleasure and keep you out of the dumps.
- Brazil nuts & pistachios: Brazil nuts are choc-full of selenium, a natural mood booster. Pistachios reduce stress by providing your body with fiber, antioxidants and unsaturated fatty acids.
It might be difficult to break your old dining habits in one day, but over time, you can make some significant dietary changes that will improve your ability to function day-to-day. If you’re feeling particularly sluggish, save these comfort foods for a time when you can afford a long afternoon nap:
- Red wine: Not only does the alcohol within act as a sedative, but the grapes used to make red wine also contain high amounts of melatonin, a sleep hormone.
- Fatty foods: Fat is digested at a much slower rate than other foods. To help aid the digestion process, your body pulls blood from your arms and legs, which leaves you feeling lethargic.
- Grape Juice: Grape juice can limit your body’s absorption of iron, which you need to turn the calories you eat into energy. There’s nothing worse than falling asleep at your desk with a purple mustache.