Whether you’re a student cramming for exams or a busy bread winner, you can turn your desk top snacks into brain boosting buffets, so that you are on top of your game and firing on all cylinders.
1 Get off the sugar / stress roller coaster
Fluctuations in blood sugar levels caused by too much caffeine, fast acting carbs like sandwiches and sugary drinks can affect your concentration and ability to think clearly. By instead combining protein with complex carbohydrates, energy will be released into your body more gradually, making you more focussed and energised.
For a brain boosting lunch, quinoa is ideal as it is a packed with healthy fats and protein and takes just 15 minutes to cook. Make a batch on a Sunday night, and mix with veggies like broccoli, spinach, peppers and tomatoes, with a dressing of lemon and olive oil. You can store this salad for up to 3 days in your fridge in an airtight container, and use a portion each day for your packed lunch. Add nuts, seeds, and other protein like fish or cooked chicken for variety.
2 Eat More Fat: yes it’s true, but by this I mean good fats! Omega 3 fats are fantastic for helping your brain function, as well as for mood, heart health and joints. Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring and sardines are great sources. A tin of sardines is ideal to take to work or college as it’s cheap and portable; open at your desk and mix with a bulgar wheat salad. If you’re vegetarian sprinkle flaxseeds on your salad for an Omega 3 boost.
3 Max it up with Magnesium
If a huge study regime or workload is making you so stressed you can’t concentrate, try upping your magnesium intake. Magnesium helps relax the muscles, which in turn will help you feel more in control and clear headed. Snack bags of sunflower seeds or a small bar of dark chocolate (80% cacao or higher) are great ways to build up your magnesium levels, as well as dark leafy greens.
4 Go Mad For Marmite
Marmite is packed with Vitamin B, which helps with many of the brain’s functions, including the production of neuro transmitters to the brain. Have a jar on your desk and spread on veggie crackers, chopped cucumber or rice cakes. If you’re in the ‘hate Marmite’ camp take a hard boiled egg to work or college for a mid morning snack.
5 Get Zingy With Zinc
Zinc is involved in regulating serotonin, the brain’s ‘feel good’ chemical, as well as supporting your immune system. Prawns and chickpeas (found in hummus) are great sources – try on oatcakes for a great mid afternoon snack.
And finally, there’s nothing like a bit of fresh air and a walk to boost your brain power: even a ten minute walk around the block in your lunch break will clear the head and help recharge your batteries.