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14 Foods You Should Eat To Increase Productivity

What you eat can affect the way you think and work.
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You've heard the saying for years now: you are what you eat.

But it's true. According to Psychology Today, complex brain processes are "literally fed by glucose that circulates from gut to brain."

"The human body is undeniably an energy system," says Florida State University psychologist Roy Baumeister. "Evolution gave us this new and more complicated way of acting, but it's expensive in terms of fuel burned. Being our better selves is biologically costly."

We've compiled a list of foods from Psychology Today and other sources that will improve the way you think and work.

Aimee Groth contributed to this report.

Any kind of berry is golden: the potent combinations of antioxidants they contain can improve both memory and motor coordination. Neuroscientist James A. Joseph says that the antioxidants in berries counteract oxidative stress and function as anti-inflammatory agents, which are "the evil twins of brain aging."

Berries eaten with oil-rich walnuts or avocados keep brain cell membranes "youthfully flexible." (Source: Psychology Today)

Eggs contain a fat-like B vitamin called choline that enhances memory and reaction time. (Source: Psychology Today)

Salmon has omega-3s, protein, iron and B-vitamins--which support memory, recall, reasoning and focus. (Source: Omega-3.us)

Eating eggplant will keep your brain "sharp by enhancing communication between our brain cells and messenger molecules." (Source: Leftofzen)

Caffeine found in coffee 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. (Source: Energy Fiend)

Dark chocolate 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. (Source: Leftofzen)

Or, try green tea, which has neuroprotective effects (helps the nervous system). (Source: Psychology Today)

Yogurt also does wonders — it has protein, tons of minerals, and probiotics which help the digestive system. (Source: Fitness Magazine)

Dark leafy greens are probably the best thing you could eat — they are loaded with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Iron, for example, helps bring more oxygen to the body (and brain), and improves cognitive control. (Source: Psychology Today)

While we don't suggest drinking on the job, red wine significantly improves short-term memory and motor skills. (Source: Psychology Today)

Whole grains like brown rice are filled with vitamins and magnesium, which also improves cognitive health. (Source: Psychology Today)

The antioxidants in hot cocoa protect brain cells from oxidative stress. (Source: Psychology Today)

Garlic contains strong antibacterial and antiviral compounds that help shake off stress-induced colds and infections. (Source: Psychology Today)

BONUS: Eating this will slow down your productivity...

1. Sugary foods, like soda or candy, 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.

2. Heavy, calorie-ridden foods like hamburgers and fries will make you sleepy and slow you down at work.

3. Eating too little can make you process information more slowly, take longer to react and have more trouble remembering sequences.


Last updated: Jun 2, 2014
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