What to Eat to Boost Your Productivity? | Top Universities

What to Eat to Boost Your Productivity?

By Guest Writer

Updated January 14, 2022 Updated January 14, 2022

By Katarina Matiasovska

You are what you eat. Most experts agree that statement is true to a certain extent, although the specifics have been furiously debated over the past years. Clinical dietitians and nutritionists claim their recommendations are based in science, while many #eatclean food absolutists see something evil and toxic lurking in most food items. If you’re trying to be healthier and avoid problematic foods, at times it can seem like there’s barely anything left to eat.

Whatever your personal food philosophy, there are some things you should always find room for in your diet. These brain foods can make cramming for an exam more effective, boost your chances at your next job interview and leave you feeling happier and healthier to boot. The World Health Organization has confirmed that eating the right foods can boost brain power by as much as 20%, boosting your productivity and problem-solving skills.

What to eat

Fish is great. In particular, mackerel, lake trout, herring, tuna and salmon are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which helps with improving memory, recall, reasoning and focus.

Berries are rich in antioxidants (the darker the berry, the higher the level of antioxidants it contains), which makes them excellent for increasing memory and motor skills.

Avocados now out-sell oranges in the UK. As well as being delicious, they’re full of mono-unsaturated fats responsible for healthy blood flow, the main condition for a healthy brain.

Dark chocolate (70% cocoa content or higher) will make you feel more driven, pumped up and focused on the task at hand.

Nuts are a time-tested brain food. Our brain is more than 60% structural fat and needs to be fed primarily by omega-3 fats, found in walnuts. Is the taste of walnuts too bitter for you? Try mixing them with honey.

Eggs’ choline enhances memory and reaction time.

Broccoli’s vitamin K helps you improve reasoning, imagining, remembering and learning words.

Spinach can significantly improve learning capacity and motor skills.

Bananas are arguably one of the healthiest sweets out there. Our brains work best with about 25 grams of glucose circulating in our blood stream, which is about the amount found in a banana. Any more or less than that and mental sharpness can start going slowly down the hill.

Not all caffeine beverages were created equal and there are many good reasons why you should opt for green tea over coffee. Unlike coffee, green tea gives you a more smooth and stable energy boost, without putting your adrenal glands on a rollercoaster.

Want green tea with the most caffeine? It has become increasingly fashionable to drink matcha (in Japanese “cha” means tea and “ma” means powder) green tea, which is a finely ground powder of green tea leaves grown and produced in Japan. It can be an acquired taste though, so maybe try it before buying in bulk.

If you’re not a good cook but you want to cook something badly anyway, have a look at these super simple two-ingredient recipes, combining many of the above-mentioned food gems.

What not to eat

As delicious as a lot of the food below is, it’s unfortunately of dubious nutritious value. Try to limit the amount of these you eat, especially in the build-up to a deadline, exam or interview.

Eating junk food at lunch can make it hard to just roll up your sleeves and get to work with zest and enthusiasm in the afternoon. If it’s too hard to quit junk food right away, work on gradually reducing the amount of times you eat it a week, until you can say your body is free from junk.

Sugar-laden foods are sure to give you a sugar crash. Although our brain does need glucose to continue functioning properly, too much glucose to your brain can compromise your productivity levels. Remember, after a rapid rise in blood glucose comes a rapid fall, and a sugar crash is certainly less fun than playing Candy Crush.

Starving or skipping breakfast is even worse than eating junk food as it makes you process information more slowly and take longer to react.

Katarina Matiasovska writes for Inspiring Interns, which specialises in sourcing candidates for internships and graduate jobs, including digital jobs.

This article was originally published in September 2017 . It was last updated in January 2022

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