- The Fitwel Rating and the WELL Building Standard both include food as a key contributor to workplace wellness
- It’s not merely about providing something to eat; it’s about providing nourishment for the body and mind
- Here’s a rundown of the best ‘brain fuel’ snacks to help improve cognitive function
One of the main goals and focus of the workplace of today and of the future is to empower people to perform their best. Organizations today, including flexible workspaces, are aware of how elements such as natural light, air quality, design, and technology can help or hinder a person’s productivity while in the workplace.
However, when we talk about productivity and performance, we should also talk about individual decisions, such as how much a person sleeps or what he or she eats. Even though in theory these are a person’s individual responsibility, organizations are now realizing that they sometimes need to help people in these areas in order for them to deliver expected results and to contribute to a person’s overall wellbeing, which is why some companies now offer nap pods to help people catch their necessary amount of zzz’s.
But what about food?
Some coworking and flexible workspace operators are already offering food and snacks for their members. However, it’s not about providing something to eat; it’s about providing nourishment for the body and mind.
Although it is tempting to place a vending machine or provide chips, coworking operators should look to providing foods that will nourish and help members perform their best while in the workplace. The best snacks are those that will help us fuel our brain and mood, improving our cognitive function.
Food for Thought (pun intended)
Blueberries help protect brain damage often caused by free radicals. They improve cognition and memory. Additionally, sugar is the brain’s go-to fuel source; eating blueberries and other fruits can give you a memory and mental ability boost.
Walnuts and chia seeds
Walnuts and chia seeds are rich in DHA, a type of omega 3, which studies have shown to enhance cognitive function. They contribute to maintain healthy brain cell membranes, which are key to neurotransmitter function.
Oranges and strawberries
If you need to boost your energy levels, look no further. Strawberries and oranges are rich in Coenzyme Q10, which is required for the final steps of energy production. Not only will this improve your energy, but it will also help in improving your mood and getting you motivated.
Sesame seeds and pistachios
These two snacks are also rich in Q10, so they will provide you with the same benefits as strawberries and oranges. Additionally, seeds and nuts are also packed with healthy fats and other nutrients that will nourish your blood cells, improve brain function, and fight inflammation.
Baked lentil chips
Lentils are rich in fiber, which is vital to optimal brain function. Fiber helps regulate glucose release, which helps in keeping your body fueled constantly, without experiencing any sugar rushes and crashes. Lentils are also rich with folate, A type of vitamin B that helps boost brain power and helps decrease levels of amino acids — which can impair brain function.
As with lentils, oatmeal is rich in fiber so it can also help regulate your sugar levels. It’s also rich in Vitamin B, E, potassium, and zinc, all of which help brain and body function. Here’s a plus: oats satisfy hunger and keep you full for a long time, so you won’t be craving more snacks in a while.
Poultry contains the amino acid L-tyrosine, which helps produce dopamine, a chemical that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers, regulates emotional responses, and improves mental alertness and memory. Turkey is also packed with protein, which helps produce and maintain optimal function of neurotransmitters.
Seaweed is filled with omega 3 fatty acids, it’s packed with fiber, and is a great source of folic acid. We’ve already outlined the benefits of omega 3, healthy fats, and fiber; which leaves the latter, folic acid. Folic acid helps improve verbal and memory performance and it’s a nutrient needed to produce serotonin — the happy hormone.
We saved the best for last. Dark chocolate has various health benefits; it’s an antioxidant, it helps lower pressure, it’s loaded with vitamins and minerals, reduces heart disease risk, and improves brain function. Cocoa improves cognitive function, verbal fluency, and blood flow to the brain. It also has a small amount of caffeine, which will give you an extra energy boost.