Do you ever wish you could accomplish more in your day but keep getting hit by that late afternoon crash? We’ve all been there and let’s be honest — it sucks.
The culprit? Your brain. Even though it represents only two percent of your body weight, your thinking organ is responsible for more than 20 percent of your total energy expenditure — which means it’s in constant need of good fuel to keep it functioning optimally.
Besides hydration and sleep, the food you eat has an important impact on your motivation and attention levels throughout the day. Eating a varied diet rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber will help you nourish and stimulate your brain so you can be as prolific and creative as you want to be in your daily tasks.
If you’re looking for specific foods that will give you sustained energy, clear focus, and sharp thinking all through your work day, look no further. Here are 10 foods you should add to your diet right now to boost your productivity levels:
Brown rice is a good option to have on an especially busy day since it contains magnesium, selenium, and manganese — all of which contribute to neurotransmitter synthesis, energy metabolism, and the modulation of the blood supply to our cerebral cortex. It’s also a carbohydrate-rich food, which helps fuel your brain with much-needed glucose, while its fiber content ensures you won’t crash later.
Eat this Scrambled Tofu Fried Rice, Brown Rice Casserole, Toasted Coconut Kale Salad With Tofu and Brown Rice, Spiced Up Chickpea and Brown Rice Soup, Macrobiotic Brown Rice Arame, or this Oil-Free Sweet Potato Basmati Brown Rice Casserole for an energy sustaining tasty lunch.
Eating bananas plain or adding them to a smoothie can give you all the energy you need to help you power through some of the day’s hardest tasks. Filled with B-vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, they help your brain synthesize neurotransmitters, which keep your thinking sharp. Consuming bananas on the regular has also been linked with an uplifted mood and lower stress levels.
Try these Sugar-Free Banana Chips, Banana Granola Bars, Banana Hemp Seed Sushi Slices and these delicious Banana-Strawberry ‘Dillas for a quick energy boosting snack. You can also check these 15 Banana-Boosted Snacks That Make Healthy Eating Easy for more ideas.
Avocados are full of heart-healthy fats — monounsaturated fats that lower cortisol levels and omega-3’s which help boost your mood. In other words, consuming more avocados will help decrease your stress levels and increase your well-being, all of which goes a long way in being more productive. Omega-3’s have also been shown to protect against Alzheimer’s disease. If you want to keep your brain healthy and active — eat more avocados!
Get your fill of energizing avocados with this Grilled Avocado With Roasted Tomatoes, Chickpea Salad Stuffed Avocados, Green Pea Avocado Spread, Spicy Cucumber Avocado Onion Salad, Avocado Pumpkin Panini With Caramelized Onions, and these Avocado Nori Snacks.
Almonds, walnuts, pistachios, and cashews are all good options to have when you need a productivity boost. Nuts contain monounsaturated fats and amino acids, both of which play an important role in neurotransmitter function. They’re also a good source of magnesium and B-vitamins which relieve fatigue and help you focus.
Have a handful of nuts for a quick brain-boosting snack or try these Raw Almond Fig Bars, this Curried Cashew and Veggie Trail Mix, Superfood-Packed Trail Mix, Nut and Fruit Breakfast Loaf or these 21 Sweet and Savory Recipes Made With Pistachio Nuts.
Potatoes are one of the most satiating foods out there if you eat them plain — just skip the dairy-free butter and salt. They’re a great food for sustained energy. Tubers of all kinds are packed with B-vitamins, vitamin C, zinc, iron, potassium, and folate, which keep your body healthy and play an essential role in brain functions.
Try this Red Thai Curry Soup With Carrots and Sweet Potato, Sweet Potato and Quinoa Chili, Purple Sweet Potato Gnocchi, or these Sweet Potato Quesadillas and Roasted Chickpea Stuffed Sweet Potatoes With Tahini Sauce for a great productivity boosting lunch.
When it comes to staying alert throughout the day, a handful of berries goes a long way. Not only are they packed with many vitamins and minerals but they’re low on the glycemic index which means they don’t spike your blood sugar — giving you stable and sustained energy to focus on your important tasks. Consuming foods rich in antioxidants like berries on a regular basis has also been linked with a decrease in cognitive decline symptoms and Alzheimer’s disease in the elderly population. In other words, keep your brain sharp today with some berries and protect it for later at the same time.
Snack on fresh berries throughout the days to reap all their cognitive benefits or try this 3-Ingredient Berry Cereal, Berry Coconut Smoothie Bowl, or this Berry Mango Sorbet With Banana and Pineapple.
Eggplant is not only delicious, but it’s a total superfood for our cerebral cortex. It contains nasunin, a powerful antioxidant that protects our brain cell membranes from damage, thus contributing to keeping our brain healthy and our thinking clear. Eggplants are also packed with copper, manganese, potassium, folate, b-vitamins, and dietary fiber. Not too shabby, right?
Oats are one of the best sources of carbs you can eat because they contain a slow-burning carbohydrate that helps stabilize your blood sugar levels. As such, they’re a great addition to your diet if you wish to be productive all day. Oats are packed with B-vitamins, magnesium, potassium, and fiber all of which help maintain a healthy nervous system.
Start your day with an energy filled breakfast with this Baked Almond Butter and Apricot Oatmeal, Bananas Foster Oatmeal, Maple Spice Oatmeal Bowl of Goodness, or these Matcha Oatmeal Pancakes and Pumpkin Pie Overnight Oats.
Consuming greens every day is a sure way to keep your brain from getting foggy and unfocused, as they’re an incredibly rich source of B-vitamins and folate, which aids in neurochemical synthesis — the building blocks of neurotransmitters. Greens are also packed with phytochemicals that prevent oxidation and the aging of brain cells.
Get a good helping of antioxidant-rich brain boosting greens with this Avocado Kale Chili Salad, Buffalo Chickpea Caesar Salad, Roasted Turmeric Cauliflower and Kale Salad, Raw Massaged Kale Salad with Fresh Figs and Oranges, and this Mesquite-Avocado Kale Salad.
Did you know that cacao is one the richest source of magnesium on the planet? It is — and that’s great news for your brain (and taste buds)! Enjoying a piece of dark chocolate can lower your stress levels and elevate your mood because this mineral plays an important role in cortisol (the stress hormone) reduction. Cacao also contains a variety of antioxidants, which have beneficial effects on satiety and cognitive functions. To be specific, the flavonoids present in cacao influence insulin resistance and increase cerebral blood flow. We knew that dark chocolate was a healthy treat, but who knew it was this awesome?
Add some healthy dark chocolate in your work day by trying this Galaxy Dark Chocolate With Raspberries or these Homemade Dark Chocolates, Dark Chocolate Brownies With Zucchini and Walnuts and Pistachio Coconut Dark Chocolate Truffles. You can also Indulge (Guilt-Free!) With These 15 Raw Vegan Chocolates.
Want to find out more about other energy and mood-boosting foods and recipes? Here are a few articles that might interest you:
- Did You Know? These 5 Healthy Foods Have the Power to Boost Your Productivity!
- Elevate Your Mood and Get Happy With These 11 Foods!
- Top Energy-Boosting Vegan Bites to Power You Through the Week!
- Plant-Based Proteins to Eat in the Morning to Boost Your Metabolism
- 5 of the Most Popular (and Powerful) Brain-Boosting Fats
- Healthy and Vegan Protein-Boosting Snacks You Should be Munching On
- Need a Natural Energy Boost in the Morning? Try These 5 Foods and Drinks
- 25 Energy-Packed Snack Balls That Will Jump-Start Your Day
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Lead image source: Grilled Avocado With Roasted Tomatoes