Work smarter, not harder. This common phrase is so simple but so powerful. Smart habits can fuel a successful day and make a huge difference in our work and lives!
One opportunity to do this is right in your lunchbox. There are foods that will literally boost your brainpower and help you focus—the very definition of working smarter!
Here’s the roundup of eight brain foods to help you have better workdays and promote long-term health.
Top of the list is your favorite smoothie ingredient: berries! All berries are packed with nutrients that are as healthy as they are delicious.
Brainfood benefits: Berries are high in antioxidants, which can fight cell deterioration. They are also high in vitamin C, K, and fiber, which support brain function. Blueberries in particular have high levels of gallic acid which can protect the brain from stress cognitive decline!
2. Cruciferous veggies
Hate to say it, but your mom was right: eat your broccoli! Cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, and kale, are so, so, so good for your body and brain!
Brainfood benefits: These veggies are high in vitamin K and choline, which have been shown to help with memory. Broccoli also has a lot of Vitamin C and phytonutrients that can help combat oxidative stress in the brain cells.
3. Dark chocolate
Brain foods can taste good too! There’s definitely some room for a treat or two on this grocery list. Not only does dark chocolate taste good (which has its own psychological benefits!), but can help boost brainpower.
Brainfood benefits: Dark chocolate, made from cocoa, has flavonols. These antioxidants are anti-inflammatory and have been shown to increase blood flow in the brain and decrease blood pressure.
The caveat to this one is you need to choose high-quality dark chocolate, at least 70% cocoa to reap the benefits!
Your favorite brunch menu item is also a nutritional powerhouse! While avocados are high in fat, it’s the “good” kind, exactly what your brain needs.
Brainfood benefits: Avocados are made of monounsaturated fats, which help balance blood sugar levels. They also contain vitamin K, folate, vitamin B, and vitamin C—a mix of vitamins that keep blood sugars level, protect against brain clots, and improve memory and concentration.
5. Fatty fish
Similar to avocado, fatty fish (i.e. salmon, trout, sardines, or tuna) has the “good” kind of fat that is beneficial to your brain.
Brainfood benefits: Fish contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which actually make up 60% of your brain! These omega-3s have been shown to prevent or slow down Alzheimer’s disease. Learning impairments have been linked to low levels of omega-3s, too.
Turmeric is a spice popular in curries, known for its bright yellow color. It not only tastes amazing and adds vibrancy to your meals, but it’s so good for you.
Brainfood benefits: Turmeric’s active compound is called curcumin, which is an antioxidant with anti-inflammatory benefits. Studies show it can help with memory, ease depression, and encourage new brain cell growth.
Eggs are cheap, healthy, versatile, and—on top of it all—great for your brain! Whether you prefer scrambled, poached, or fried, eggs are a must-have in your diet.
Brainfood benefits: Eggs include nutrients like vitamin B6, B12, folate, and choline. The latter is particularly important to your body and has been shown to improve memory and mental function.
Note that most of the nutrition in an egg is in the yolk, so make sure to eat the whole thing!
8. Green tea
The caffeine in green tea can boost brain function and help with memory and focus. Don’t worry coffee-drinkers, your morning brew has the same effect. Check out these local Hampden coffee shops to get your caffeine fix, whether it be coffee or tea!
Brainfood benefits: Green tea has a one-up over coffee for brain benefits because it contains L-theanine. This amino acid can help reduce anxiety and increase relaxation, perfect for getting in the zone with work.
So how do you incorporate these into your day? Here are a few recipe ideas:
- Brain boosting breakfast: Toast with avocado and egg. Not only is it delicious, but these two superfoods will provide long-lasting energy with protein and fats and help increase your memory and concentration throughout the day.
- Superfood lunch: Salmon, seasoned with turmeric (and other spices) with cooked broccoli on the side. This meal has major brain benefits with tons of vitamins and minerals that help protect your brain and boost memory and concentration. And if you don’t want to cook for yourself, check out some of these lunch spots within 10 minutes’ walk of Co-Balt!
- Brainiac snack: Green tea and some dark chocolate. Instead of reaching for a sugary Starbucks frappuccino, try some green tea and a couple of pieces of dark chocolate instead. You’ll avoid the energy crash and reap the benefits of alertness, energy, and increased blood flow to the brain.
Small habits can make a huge difference. Add these items to your grocery list and start incorporating them into your diet. By focusing on brain foods, you’ll start having better workdays with increased focus, better memory, and long-term health benefits.
If you’re looking for a workspace to help you get more out of your workdays, book a tour of Co-Balt today.