Out of all the ways to improve productivity, eating is probably the most fun. A healthy diet consisting of the right brain-boosting foods is proven to have an enormous impact on not only brainpower, but also the larger success of a company.
On an individual level, a healthy diet makes employees 25 percent more likely to perform their job better. Employees who ate at least five servings of fruit and vegetables were 20 percent more like to have higher productivity than those who didn’t. This is according to an analysis of more than 20,000 employees from 2008 to 2010.
The same research firm, the Health Enhancement Research Organization, found a correlation between the overall health of employees and a company’s share price. Companies ranked highly for health practices by the firm outperformed the S&P 500 during the course of six years.
Who knew that eating the right foods could be so valuable?
Why Food Helps
Food affects our minds almost in the similar to how a drug can, with both positive and negative effects. An analysis conducted by UCLA looking at more than 160 different food studies confirmed what many have long believed: certain foods help improve concentration and memory while fighting off detrimental mental effects.
Not all foods have demonstrated positive effects, but some go a long way in improving mental fitness and making us more productive. Here are ten foods that could help your brain out in a big way.
Winnie the Pooh and his woodland pals are on to something with their honey obsession. According to a study, honey provides a host of benefits to the mind. In addition to improving memory, honey also reduces anxiety and depression.
Eggs are rich in protein and a variety of nutrients, but egg yolks might be the best part. The yolks are full of an amino acid which helps keep a brain sharp and focused by staving off memory loss and Alzheimer’s. Just two large eggs provide half the daily requirement of choline, so go wild for omelets in the morning.
If you’re in need of a snack, blueberries might be your best bet. These berries, along with strawberries and blackberries, prevent inflammation in the brain. This helps boost brainpower and prevents age-related declines in mental function.
The body can’t create Omega-3 fatty acids on its own, so it’s important to receive this fatty acid through food. Oily fish like salmon, trout and herrings are especially rich in the fatty acid. Omega-3s are beneficial for preventing heart disease and arthritis, but also useful in improving brain performance. It’s recommended to eat fish twice a week, so have some for lunch or dinner.
Coconut oil has been receiving some heavy hype for a variety of uses and benefits, yet all the praise isn’t unfounded. The medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) found in coconut oil have been shown to improve cognitive function in tests involving verbal memory, map searching, and other tasks. To take coconut oil, you can drink it by the spoonful, cook with it or add it to a drink.
Carbohydrates are sometimes overly vilified, yet most experts agree that 100% whole grains are more beneficial than refined grains (think white bread). A study published in 2016 looked at 5,000 adults in the U.K. The results showed that people who eat more fried foods, more red meats, and fewer whole grains had a “greater decline in reasoning” compared to people with healthier diets. Keep this in mind if you’re brown-bagging a sandwich for lunch.
Your parents were right all along: broccoli is great for your health. This vegetable is high in lignans, a chemical compound which studies have shown to benefit reasoning and learning words. Don’t feel bad if you find broccoli disgusting. A large number of people have different taste buds that make the vegetable taste disgustingly bitter. Instead of broccoli, you can try potatoes, oranges, and apples to get those useful lignans.
Thankfully, junk food isn’t always bad for you. In a study published in March 2016, researchers found that people who eat chocolate once a week perform better on mental tasks than people who don’t indulge. That improvement involves daily tasks, like remember a number of doing things at the same time. Research is still ongoing, yet the findings seem to fly in the face in the notion that sugar is bad for the brain.
Avocados were once a fairly niche product in the United States but have doubled in popularity since 2005. Tasty avocado-related dishes like guacamole are partly the reason for this incredible growth. Another factor driving growth are the many health benefits associated with the fruit. This fatty food is rich in nutrients that benefit the brain.
Tomatoes are the world’s most popular fruit and also especially healthy. A nutrient called carotenoids is plentiful in tomatoes. This nutrient helps reduce the risks of mental impairment and improves brain growth. Considering how cheap and plentiful tomatoes are, they could be one of the most cost-efficient foods for improving brainpower.
The Superfood Recipe for Success
Indulging in these brain-boosting foods won’t be useful without a healthy diet to supplement the benefits. Take things in moderation and avoid unhealthy foods when you can in order to really start improving productivity through eating.