Posted by Sairica Rose on Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - 00:00
Being a busy finance professional demands brainpower, concentration and a razor-sharp memory. No one secret recipe will keep your neurons in top form 24/7, but certain foods can fuel your brain and keep work-related stress and fatigue at bay.
A healthy snack may help you work faster and smarter as well as lift your mood. Read on for recommendations on super foods that will rev up your mind and boost your work power.
1. Beet this
Beets improve blood flow by carrying vital oxygen and nutrients to the brain. According to Joy Bauer, author of Food Cures, “A brain filled with well-nourished neurons enables you to think and remember more clearly.”
What’s more, these earthy purple delights can help keep blood pressure in check — curbing stress and anxiety and preventing cognitive decline. While it may not be practical (nor especially tasty) to keep a bunch of root veggies in your desk drawer, try making a beet salad for lunch or blending beets into a healthy smoothie.
2. Berry efficient
Berries are bursting with antioxidants that can help beat brain cell erosion. A study by the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University has found that blueberries and strawberries promote autophagy, the brain’s natural housekeeping mechanism. Blueberries can also enhance spatial memory and learning capacity.
If fresh berries aren’t in season, dried or frozen versions do retain their antioxidant properties. Enjoy them au naturale, in a shake, smoothie or yogurt parfait, or bake them into muffins or pancakes to maximize your mental capacities.
3. Go nuts
Nuts and seeds are packed with fiber and healthy fats that provide energy, quell cravings and regulate blood sugar. They’re also a great source of protein, which can boost alertness and performance. Walnuts have been linked to improved memory and cognitive function, according to a study published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.
This healthy work snack is also a great source of alpha-linolenic acid — a plant-based form of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help maintain healthy brain cells. (And it’s much easier to sprinkle on your salad or yogurt than oily fish.)
4. Avocado advocate
The fiber and fat combo found in avocados helps keep insulin levels steady and enhances concentration. These summertime faves are also underrated for their abilities to lower blood pressure and promote brain health, according to Dr. Steven Pratt, author of “Superfoods Rx: Fourteen Foods Proven to Change Your Life.”
Be aware, though, that avocados are high in calories. Add a quarter to a half of an avocado to your sandwich or salad, or mash one into a delicious guacamole to share.
5. Green is the new black
Caffeine can temporarily sharpen your focus and memory, and a couple of cups of coffee during the day are unlikely to do you any harm. But to ensure a good night’s sleep — another key ingredient to a sharp mind — you should lay off the lattes a few hours before bedtime.
More than a third of managers polled in a Robert Half survey say their employees experience their lowest productivity from 4 to 6 p.m.; another 28 percent say it’s the post-lunch slump, 2 to 4 p.m.
A smarter choice for the caffeine-loving finance executive looking to power through the afternoon is green tea. In addition to pepping you up, the catechins in green tea are also mood-enhancers, according to Dr. Andrew Weil, founder of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine.
Food for Thought
If you've decided make your on-the-job snack time work for you, why not bring other colleagues on board and take turns in preparing healthy work snacks? You could also look into implementing a workplace nutrition program to optimize productivity. Check out Robert Half’s inspiring Foods to Fuel the Finance Brain Pinterest board for more great ideas.
Is there a healthy work snack that didn’t make our list? Feel free to suggest some of your favorites or share a healthy recipe in the comment section below.