What You Eat Affects Productivity

That’s a no-brainer.

What you eat enters your bloodstream and flow to the brain, so it’s inevitable that it affects the way you think, feel, and work. That is why what you eat affects productivity.

With the right ingredients, you can boost brain power by as much as 20%, according to the World Health Organization. Take it from Fernando Gómez-Pinilla, a UCLA professor of neurosurgery and physiological science. In his research about brain foods he says:

Food is like a pharmaceutical compound that affects the brain.

To get an understanding of what affects our body’s energy system, we compiled a list of 14 brain foods from Psychology Today that will improve the way you think and work.

  1. Berries – These types of fruit have potent combinations of antioxidants that improve both memory and motor coordination. Great office desk sweet/sour snack.
  2. Oil-rich foods – Such as walnuts, butter (grass-fed), coconut or avocados keep brain cell membranes “youthfully” flexible.
  3. Bananas – They hold the daily amount of glucose needed for your brain (another desk snack). Researcher Leigh Gibson found that “the brain works best with about 25 grams of glucose circulating in the blood stream — about the amount found in a banana.” (NOT a Snickers = 57g  in bad sucrose not glucose.)
  4. Eggs – This versatile protein contains a fat-like B vitamin called choline that enhances memory and reaction time. Many “bio-hacker” programmers are directly using this supplement.
  5. Nootropics. Nope, it’s not tropical…they are supplements for the brain. Non-toxic substance that can increase cognition, memory, focus, energy, problem solving skills, mood, motivation, strength, agility, dexterity, coordination, lifestyle and/or reduce anxiety.
  6. Salmon – This fish has omega-3s, protein, iron and B-vitamins, which support memory, recall, reasoning and focus.
  7. Caffeine – We all love it! (or is it just me?) Java improves memory and even protects against eyelid spasm (for those who are staring at computers all day). It’s also rich with antioxidants and amino acids.
  8. Dark chocolate – Happy yet? This decadence contains antioxidant properties that increase the production of endorphins while enhancing focus and concentration, whereas milk chocolate is good for quickening reaction time and improving verbal and visual memory.
  9. Hot cocoa – The antioxidants in hot cocoa protect brain cells from oxidative-stress. An Aztec luxury, and my wintertime friend.
  10. Bulletproof Coffee® –  If you haven’t tried this morning bevi, than you’re missing out! It’s a combination of high-quality coffee, grass-fed butter, and medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil, blended together in a high-speed blender to emulsify the oils and create a foamy coffee that has been said to provide energy all day long and help you burn fat.
  11. Green tea –  This special leaf has neuro-protective effects and helps the nervous system.
  12. Yogurt – Also does wonders. It has protein, tons of minerals, and pro-biotics which help the digestive system. Our digestion is directly linked to our brain—butterflies in tummy from nerves is not just a coincidence.
  13. Dark leafy greens – Probably the best thing you could eat. They’re loaded with vitamins, minerals and phyto-nutrients. Iron, for example, helps bring more oxygen to the body (and brain), and improves cognitive control. Green Juice snack.
  14. Raw carrots – This crunchy vegetable will give you a steady level of blood sugar your brain needs to function optimally…if you followed Steve Jobs’ daily habits, he went overboard on carrots for a while and turned his skin orange-ish. Moderation people!

Foods that affect your productivity in a negative way are sugary foods like soda or candy. They can make you feel spaced-out, weak, confused, or nervous once the glucose in your brain drops — this is also known as a sugar crash. Donuts are great when you feel sad because they stimulate the soothing hormones (opiate receptors like having morphine), but when you need focus and energy these are taking you in the opposite direction. Heavy, fast calorie-ridden foods like hamburgers and fries will make you sleepy and slow you down at work. And remember that eating too little is a no-no. It can make you process information more slowly, take longer to react and have more trouble remembering sequences.

Does what you eat affect your productivity? Does it make you more or less productive?