In the same way that athletes eat to optimize performance, we can actually use food to improve focus in our everyday lives. "The afternoon doldrums [at work] may be the result of a lack of sleep the night before, but inadequate nutrition is also a factor," said business performance expert David Schepp. "What we eat—or don't eat—plays an important role in our ability to be productive on the job."
In other words, filling up on refined carbs and processed foods will leave your body functioning at a fraction of its optimum capacity. "Think of it like putting standard gasoline in a diesel engine," writes health expert Melissa Thompson for Forbes. "Sure, the engine may start up and run, but you'll get really poor performance, and eventually shut down." Fortunately, a little awareness can go a long way. Below, read up on the five fresh, healthy foods that energize and replenish your body:
Bananas: According to LiveScience, the brain functions best when there are 25 grams of glucose circulating in the bloodstream. As luck would have it, a banana contains exactly that amount. Eat one in the afternoon to avoid that 3 p.m. crash.
Eggs: Eggs are chock-full of choline, which is a fat-like B vitamin that "enhances memory and reaction time," explains Thompson. "[It] actually increases the size of neurons in the brain, which helps you stay on task and avoid losing focus."
Blueberries: High in antioxidants and natural sugars, blueberries are the perfect replacement for your afternoon candy bar. They're also known to "counteract oxidative stress and reverse age-related declines in coordination," she says.
Avocados: Rife with monounsaturated healthy fats, this delicious fruit can "enhance blood flow and thereby contribute to healthier brain function." Add that to the avocado's list of superpowers.
Salmon: This protein-filled fish is high in omega-3s, vitamin B, and iron. "The combination of these nutrients leads to better recall, memory, focus, and logical reasoning," Thompson concludes.
For more, read up on the foods that can actually age you, and share your go-to energy food in the comments below!