The way you feel at work can be a funny old thing. Sometimes you feel energised, focused and full of bright ideas, while at other times you can be lethargic, unable to concentrate and particularly uninspired.
There are many different factors that can influence your productivity at work, from your happiness in your personal life and the amount of sleep you had the previous night, to the working environment, your colleagues and how motivated you are by your current role. But all things being equal, the one factor that has the biggest impact on how feel at work is your diet.
Research from Irish based fruit delivery group Fruitful Office has shown that eating the right food, at the right times of the day, can make a huge difference to how you feel. So, to help you eat your way to workplace productivity, here are the vitamins you need and the foods that provide them:
- Nuts (particularly almonds) – high in vitamin E and monounsaturated fats
If you like to pick during the day then think like a squirrel and keep a bag on nuts on your desk. Almonds are particularly good as they contain nine essential nutrients, including the highest rate of protein of any nuts and 35 percent of your recommended daily vitamin E intake. Vitamin E gives your immune system a boost to keep you at the top of your game, and maintains healthy skin and eyes.
- Wholegrains – a steady supply of glucose
Like everything else in the body, the brain needs energy to function properly. Without energy it becomes difficult to focus and concentrate on the task in hand. Wholegrains, which can be found in wholegrain cereals, granary bread, rice and pasta, release glucose slowly into the bloodstream throughout the day. This will keep you mentally alert and prevent the mid-afternoon slump setting in.
- Fresh fruit – a range of vitamins and minerals
To get the biggest range of benefits, your best bet is to eat plenty of fresh fruit and to mix it up. The more colours of fruit you eat, the more vitamins and minerals you’ll be taking in. Blueberries are packed full of antioxidants and can help to improve you memory and ability to learn, as shown by a 2010 report in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Bananas are great for energy levels, while oranges and apples are packed full of vitamin C to boost your immune system and keep you sniffle free.
- Pumpkin seeds – high in zinc
Pumpkin seeds might be small, but they certainly pack a punch when it comes to your working day. Pumpkin sees are rich in zinc, which is vital for enhancing memory and thinking skills. They are also chock-full of magnesium, which helps to reduce stress levels, and contain tryptophan, the precursor to the good mood chemical serotonin.
- Green tea – Rich in antioxidants and flavonoids
And what should you wash all these tasty morsels down with? Your best bet is green tea. Green tea contains caffeine, so it acts as a stimulant to keep you with it, but it can also help to offset the effects of alcohol in the liver if you’ve had a few drinks the night before. Most importantly though, it’s loaded with antioxidants and nutrients that have a powerful effect on the body and can improve brain function and kill harmful free radicals that damage your cells. It also contains theanine, an amino acid that helps you relax and reduces anxiety.
What foods keep you at your best during the working day? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below?