But sometimes you just want to know: If I've got a 10 minute lunch and I really need a boost, what is the one, ultimate meal for a maximum energy and focus boost?
It's...drum roll...chickpeas and green tea. At least, that's according to Karen Ansel, MS, RDN a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the co-author of The Calendar Diet.
"Chickpeas are the ultimate food for brain function because they combine protein to keep you alert along with complex carbohydrates to fuel your brain. Because the carbs are digested slowly they give you a sustained energy release that keeps you energized and focused. Adding a little balsamic vinegar is the icing on the cake because it slows down carbohydrate digestion even more, prolonging that energy release."
To get an even bigger boost, she says, "I'd then wash the whole thing down with a tall glass of iced green tea. Green tea contains the perfect combination of L-theanine, an amino acid shown to improve concentration and focus, as well as a small kick of caffeine, so it's the ideal drink if you need to concentrate but don't want the jitters of a cup of coffee."
If chickpeas aren't on hand, Ansel says at the very least avoid "anything with lots of simple sugars (think cookies, candy, soda, fruit juice and even sports drinks). These deliver a big sugar rush that will give you a short-lived energy spike followed by a much bigger crash."
Looking for some other ideas?
If you are stressed out, grab some magnesium rich spinach to give you a sense of calm or spike your serotonin levels by eating some salmon. Salmon, with it's omega-3 fatty acids can reportedly also help boost your brainpower.