5 Essential Foods To Keep You Focused At Work

It’s two percent of your body weight, yet consumes 20 percent of the fuel you eat.

It’s responsible for your memory, focus and concentration; your learning, emotions and reasoning; your ability to make the right decisions, to plan, and to prioritise.

In other words, it’s important for all the things you get paid to do.

It’s your brain, and it needs high octane fuel to function. And that comes from the foods you eat.

Despite living in a time of food abundance, we can miss out on some of the 21 essential brain nutrients if we eat poorly. But by choosing these five foods, you’ll be ticking off many of them.

Here are the top five brain foods to add to your day:

1. Oily fish and seafood

Salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, and green- and blue-lipped mussels. Add them to your shopping list, and eat them at least twice a week.

Oily fish and seafood contain vitamin B12 and vitamin D, both essential brain nutrients, but that’s not the main reason our brains need fish. It’s because our brains are 60 percent fat, and the fat they love is omega-3 fats, particularly the longer chain omega-3s from fish and seafood.

Now it’s true you can get beneficial omega-3s from plant foods. It’s called ALA and it’s found in foods like walnuts and linseeds. But the fat from fish contains a special type of omega-3 called DHA, the most abundant fat in the brain. It bathes our brain cells, helps them communicate, and makes hormones that combat inflammation and keep brain cells alive by blocking the signals that cause cell death. And who wouldn’t love more brain cells?

2. Eggs

You could say eggs are the perfect brain food. Eggs are among the richest sources of choline, a cousin of the B vitamins. You need choline to make the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is key to your learning and memory. Not only that, studies also indicate it can help protect you from cognitive decline and dementia.

What’s more, eggs contain the perfect protein by which all other proteins are measured, along with other brain-essential nutrients including vitamins A, E, B6 and B12, iron, magnesium, folate and zinc.

3. Nuts & seeds

Packed full of healthy fats like omega-3s, plus other brain nutrients including fibre, magnesium, calcium, zinc, iron and vitamin E, nuts and seeds should be part of your diet – every day. Just one of the nutrients nuts and seeds contain, vitamin E, works to cool off brain inflammation and protect neurons.

And why is fibre a brain nutrient? Because fibre feeds our gut microbiota (the bacteria in our large intestines) which we now know is intricately linked not only to brain health, but also to our immune system.

4. Green leafy vegetables

Eat a variety of these, for a diversity of phytonutrients. These are plant compounds designed to protect the plant, but that offer humans enormous health benefits, including for the brain.

Green leafy veg also contain folate, otherwise known as vitamin B9, the natural form of folic acid. Your brain uses folate for myelin – the insulation around your neurons – and for major neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. These help regulate mood, pleasure, and clarity of thinking. If you have low levels of folate, your brain will age faster – that means worse memory and slower thinking speeds.   Tweet: When you have an early meeting or you just can’t face eating before you rush out the door, then a smoothie is the perfect morning companion.   Click to tweet   Yikes!

5. Dark chocolate

Got to love the dark stuff, and the darker the better. Dark chocolate is loaded with beneficial plant chemicals such as epicatechin that improve blood flow to the brain and protect against dementia. Studies show dark chocolate can even improve mood and brain processing speed – and you only need a few squares a day.

What’s more, dark chocolate is a good source of magnesium and iron, two essential brain nutrients. Magnesium, in fact, is known as ‘Mother Nature’s Chill Pill’, such is its ability to calm and relax you.   Tweet: When you have an early meeting or you just can’t face eating before you rush out the door, then a smoothie is the perfect morning companion.   Click to tweet

Go on. Treat yourself!

Be well. Love life.

Jenny Boss

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