We think a lot about food in terms of what it can do for our bodies, but what we eat also has a big impact on our brains. Harvard-trained psychiatrist Dr. Uma Naidoo explains, “Nutrition has a tremendous power for maximizing focus, productivity and brainpower in the workplace.” She says embracing a healthy diet and listening to your body can help your performance and stamina at work.
Dr. Naidoo suggests these brain-boosting benefits of food to get the most out of what you eat:
- Fill your plate with colorful fruits and veggies- Fiber-filled plant foods are loaded with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that help reduce inflammation in the brain. These foods can help improve focus, ease fatigue and “enhance cognition for optimal performance.” She recommends trying to see how many colors you can add to your diet in a day or a week.
- Cook with herbs and spices- In addition to adding flavor to our food, they also add a range of brain-boosters. Dr. Naidoo advises adding tumeric and a little black pepper to cooking for potent anti-inflammatory properties and support for positive moods and brain function, and help to clear brain fog.
- Stay hydrated- We hear that all the time, but drinking plenty of water is key for optimal brain health and function. When you’re even a little dehydrated, cognitive function takes a hit. So keep sipping to stay on top of your game at work.
- Snack on nutrient-dense brain foods- You’re not going to do your best work when you’re hangry or when you hit that afternoon slump, but what you find in the break room vending machine won’t help much. Instead, go for focus-enhancing snacks. Dr. Naidoo recommends a handful of walnuts, a square of extra-dark natural chocolate, or berries, which all contain fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals “for enhancing brainpower.”
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