Food for thought: Eat your way to productivity
According to the World Health Organisation, eating the right kind of food can boost your brain power by as much as 20 per cent.
Nutrition plays a significant role in brain health, and is especially important for entrepreneurs who have to juggle several balls at once.
These are nine of the foods that have been found to increase productivity, focus and memory.
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The secret to productivity is keeping consistent blood flowing around the heart and through the brain.
Avocados are a great resource for those trying to boost and optimise their brain cells. Researchers at Kansas State University found that consumption of the mono-unsaturated fatty acids avocados are high in helps protect brain cells called astrocytes.
These cells offer support to information-carrying nerves, meaning they contribute to healthy blood flow.
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It is natural to want to nibble while you work. Why? Because the act of eating offers a moment of reprieve from focus, it’s pleasurable and our brain needs nourishment to maintain concentration.
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Reach for a handful of nuts when the craving strikes. They’re an excellent source of protein and natural fat that your body needs to be healthy.
They’re also rich in antioxidants, vitamin E and amino acids, which means they’ll give your body the natural increase in memory and brain performance you need to make it through the day.
Almonds and walnuts contain some of the best ingredients for brainpower.
According to Psychology Today, eggs contain a B vitamin called choline that enhances memory and reaction time.
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Every part of the egg offers a different boost for your brain. For instance, the yolk helps boost short-term memory, while the protein that an egg contains helps your brain function at top notch all day.
The omega-3s found in eggs also provide additional brain-boosting benefits. If you’re a busy entrepreneur, prepare a few hard-boiled eggs for the week. And always eat the yolk.
Who says all sugar is bad for you? Dark chocolate is good for both satisfying a sweet tooth and improving overall focus.
Its caffeine content also helps you to feel more energetic and focused, while the magnesium in it offers a natural stress reliever.
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Have two to three squares of a bar of 70 per cent cocoa dark chocolate (try not to go lower than that) when hunger and a craving for sweets kicks in.
Milk chocolate, on the other hand, is good for quickening reaction time and improving verbal and visual memory.
When picking your chocolate, always look for high cacao content and low sugar content.
Dark leafy greens
Dark leafy greens like spinach and sukuma wiki (kale) are loaded with healthy benefits that support brain function.
According to research from Harvard Medical School, consuming these super leaves slows the rate of cognitive decline, which means your brain stays stronger for longer.
The folate found in spinach helps with blood circulation, which is important for brain health, and sukuma wiki is just as healthy. So the next time you go to make a smoothie, why not toss some kale in?
Not all caffeine beverages were created equal. Unlike coffee, green tea gives you a smoother and more stable energy boost.
Freshly brewed green tea enhances both memory and focus. It also contains catechins, which help you stay mentally relaxed but focused.
Green tea also contains antioxidants that can help improve the efficiency and effectiveness of signalling within the brain. It can be an acquired taste though, so try it before buying in bulk.
Red wine is loaded with antioxidants, specifically flavonoids, which are good for your brain’s health. However, be careful with your intake; it shouldn’t be consumed in excessive amounts as it may have negative impacts on your body, like other alcoholic beverages. For most people, drinking a glass a day is enough.
This seems like a no-brainer, but the truth is that you probably aren’t drinking enough water during the day, which is what provides the brain with the energy needed for thought, focus and memory processes.
Imagine your body as a plant. When a plant doesn’t get enough water, it wilts. Similarly, when we don’t keep our bodies hydrated, we don’t function properly.
Switch it up. In the morning, drink warm water with half a lemon to help flush out toxins, and afterwards, have water with apple cider vinegar, which aids with digestion by increasing stomach acid, which helps break down food.
You could also eat water-filled foods like cucumber (96 per cent water), courgettes (95 per cent water) or watermelon (92 per cent water).
Studies have proven that blueberries boost memory and concentration for up to five hours. Further, consuming two or more servings of strawberries a week leads to better long-term memory.
As a general rule of thumb, the darker the berry, the higher the antioxidant properties. This means blueberries have more productivity-boosting ingredients. Frozen berries retain all their nutrients, so don’t be afraid to pick a pack up.
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World Health OrganisationAvocadosKansas State UniversityEggsDark chocolate