By Megan G.
We’ve touched on the benefits of teas and coffee before on Tek Shouts but never have we put together a comprehensive blog on the best foods for stimulating and maintaining concentration during the long work day. Toss out those chip bags and spit out that coffee creamer, because the Tek Team is about to educate you on exactly what to eat to achieve better focus and higher productivity at work.
Breakfast Time is the Bestest Time
“Aw, you know… I’d eat breakfast, but it just takes so long to make. I don’t have time in the morning. I’m just too tired.” Does this lament sound familiar? This is a phrase you’ve probably heard flop out of someone’s mouth or even dribble out of your own.
My answer? Suck it up, buttercup!
Breakfast is the meal that tells your brain the day has truly started anew. While a cup o’ joe can stimulate the body and mind in the same way, having such a harsh drink hit your belly can end in tummy aches, increased hunger for that breakfast you didn’t eat, and one too many trips to the restroom.
Mission Impossible: Rogue Intestine.
Studies have shown that eating a wholesome breakfast can improve short-term memory and attention, which spells out a brain ready to take on the day’s first challenges with gusto. So… what qualifies as a good breakfast?
What Should You Eat?
How about a heaping plate of high-fiber whole grains, milk (or a milk substitute like soy or almond milk), and fruit? Mix those ingredients together and you’ve got yourself a healthy cereal, a granola yogurt parfait, or oatmeal! For your fruit choices, studies suggest bananas, mangos, and berries are great stimulants for concentration. From my own experience, I can say that you’ll find those breakfasts quite refreshing for your body and mind.
What Should You NOT Eat?
Potatoes, buttery pancakes, and other heavy American food fare. Ron Swanson would surely have me thrown out of town for saying so, but those hearty, American-style breakfasts that many of us know and love are the worst for promoting concentration. I’m not saying you should never eat a few slabs of French toast with a heaping side of bacon… just don’t do it right before work.
Image from Pinterest.
What’s For Lunch?
You’ve got breakfast down, but what about one of the highest points of anyone’s work day? Lunchtime is something office workers like me often use as a means of motivation to power through their mornings, teasing their taste buds with the promise of food like cheese, red meat, and chips. However, a hefty California burrito or triple-cheese-and-bacon burger will do you no good during the home stretch till the work day is over.
Here are some healthier options that bolster your focus rather than your waistline.
Nothing Fishy About Omega-3s
“Put me on a bed of rice, not on the wall!”
Image from How Stuff Works.
You don’t want to be the fool who leaves a tuna sandwich to rot in the fridge for a week, but sometimes it just happens. Well, guess what, if you had actually eaten your tuna fish on whole wheat bread, maybe you’d remember to clean up after yourself, you cretin.
Fish, especially salmon, is a meat known to have an abundance of omega-3 fatty acids. These can enhance your memory functions, as well as lower the chances dementia and strokes later in your life.
Avocados. I Can’t Believe They’re Not Butter!
Avocados are those creamy delights that you top burgers with, throw into salads, or mash into irresistible guacamole.
In addition to being absolutely delicious, avocados also have a variety of health benefits because they contain monounsaturated fats, which is a fancy, scientific word for healthy fats. This means they can be substitute other fats like butter and oil to add flavor to your dishes!
Eating avocados can help cut the risk of heart disease by lowering bad cholesterol and enhancing blood flow. They can also support information-carrying nerves in the brain, according to the Federation of American Societies of Experimental Biology.
Never Leaf Me, Leafy Greens
Put that face away! It’s time to start thinking like Popeye.
Image from The Guardian.
I know, I know! Spinach, kale, and collard greens are not the most tempting food items, but they are some of the healthiest! Leafy greens are high in antioxidants and the B vitamin folate. Folate is an interestingly versatile vitamin that promotes heart health, the breakdown of toxins, and—you guessed it—brain functionality. Just like salmon, leafy greens can keep the grey matter working as you age.
Bringing Snack Time Back
Here’s a fun recipe that combines fish, avocado, and leafy greens all in one place, a Salmon and Guacamole Sandwich by Ina Garten. Try that the next time your lunch rolls around, and watch your afternoon workflow increase!
As for my fellow snacking enthusiasts, let’s talk about the best foods to choose when you’re feeling a bit peckish between meals. Snack time isn’t just for kids in grade school!
My first choice would be a few bites of dark chocolate paired with nuts or seeds. With this magical combination, you will get some much-needed caffeine from the chocolate, Vitamin E from nuts and/or seeds, and even some more of those helpful antioxidants. According to WebMD, you can eat up to an ounce of chocolate for a nice energy boost without inducing a sugar-related bout of itis.
In case you didn’t know, dark chocolate is the better than milk chocolate for a variety of reasons, including boosting blood flow to the brain.
|Image from Live Science|
Now, if you’re being really good about your health, choose to snack on some blueberries! Not your average berry, these blue dudes are high in flavonoids and fiber.
Flavonoids, though they sound like the evil minions of some super villain, are actually wonderful for your health. They can improve memory, learning, and even cognitive functions like reasoning and decision-making.
Fiber, as you know, is great for the digestive system and can keep you satiated while you wait for your lunch or dinner meal.
We hope this leaves you with a full meal plan to keep your belly satisfied and your workflow productive! What’s your diet like? Let the Tek Team know in the comments.