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10 Foods That Can Increase Your Productivity

  • 5 min read


by Matt Weik, BS, CSCS, CPT, CSN

Can the food you eat truly increase your productivity? Well, we know there are some foods that can cause the opposite and leave you feeling tired and sluggish. Not to knock them but eat a meal from McDonald’s and tell me how you feel after. Yeah, tired and sluggish, right?

The saying “You are what you eat” holds true to a degree, but debates over dietary specifics have raged on for years. Clinical dietitians and nutritionists suggest science-based recommendations, while some #eatclean proponents demonize many food items. Finding healthy options amid the controversy can feel challenging.

Regardless of your food philosophy, certain items should always have a place in your diet. These brain foods not only enhance exam performance and job interview success but also promote overall well-being and happiness. The World Health Organization confirms that the right foods can increase brainpower by up to 20%, improving productivity and problem-solving abilities.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and is not meant to treat or diagnose any condition. It is recommended that you speak with your doctor before starting any exercise program, making changes to your nutrition plan, or adding any new supplements into your current regimen.

10 Foods to Maximize Productivity

Let’s dive into some foods that can increase your productivity level. That being said, if you’re naturally lazy, hopefully, this will put some pep in your step to get you going. However, if you’re a go-getter, the foods below may be able to send your productivity into overdrive.

1. Salmon

Salmon stands out among fatty fish for its exceptional productivity-boosting properties.

Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, salmon is renowned for enhancing memory and mental performance. Its omega-3 content is especially beneficial for combating depressive symptoms, a significant obstacle to productivity.

2. Berries

According to neuroscience research, it was suggested that dark-colored fruits and vegetables offer optimal brain protection against aging effects.

By safeguarding memory and other cognitive functions, these foods empower individuals to maximize productivity daily.

3. Dark chocolate

Who said that all sugar is detrimental? Not true! Dark chocolate serves as a satisfying solution for a sweet craving while enhancing focus. Its caffeine content promotes alertness and concentration, while magnesium acts as a natural stress reliever.

Enjoying just a quarter of a bar provides guilt-free energy and a tasty treat.

4. Nuts

When it comes to snacks that pack a punch for productivity, nuts are a top choice. They provide a balanced combination of protein and healthy fats, essential for sustaining energy levels and supporting brain function throughout the day.

Additionally, nuts are rich in antioxidants, including vitamin E, which helps protect brain cells from oxidative stress and may enhance cognitive performance.

Almonds and walnuts, in particular, stand out for their abundance of nutrients beneficial for brain health, making them a smart choice for anyone looking to optimize productivity and mental clarity.

5. Avocados

Avocados often come with strong opinions: you either love them or hate them. Hopefully, you’re in the camp of avocado enthusiasts.

These fruits stand out for their healthy fatty acids, which serve as an excellent energy source once consumed, providing vitality throughout your workday. Even if you’re not currently employed, avocados can fuel your energy during job hunting.

Furthermore, according to the Food Revolution Network, avocados can enhance brain memory and reduce the risk of depressive symptoms.

6. Bananas

Bananas deserve a spot on the list of the best food items to increase your productivity and energy levels. They are a fantastic energy booster, much like avocados. Their natural glucose content increases overall activity, enhancing creativity, focus, and cognitive function.

As carbohydrates, bananas fuel both your brain and body, making them an ideal snack to keep you satisfied until your next meal.

If bananas aren’t your preference, apples offer similar benefits. Additionally, consuming bananas may reduce the risk of stroke and kidney stones while providing a good source of fiber.

7. Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes offer a steady stream of energy to increase productivity. It is loaded with complex carbohydrates and essential nutrients like vitamins A and C, supporting peak brain function. Their slow digestion and ability to stabilize blood sugar levels keep you feeling full and energized.

Having sweet potatoes in your diet can increase your productivity by providing sustained energy levels.

8. Eggs

Eggs serve as a rich source of essential B vitamins, including B1, B3, B6, B12, and folic acid. Their yolks are particularly abundant in choline, a compound known for enhancing memory.

Whether enjoyed scrambled, in an omelet with vegetables, or as a flavorful egg curry, eggs make an excellent breakfast or dinner option. For those who prefer plant-based alternatives, fortified foods like plant-based milk and cereals offer B12 and other B vitamins.

In a study involving elderly individuals with mild cognitive impairment, those who received high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid over a two-year period exhibited significantly less brain shrinkage compared to a subgroup administered a placebo.

9. Broccoli

Broccoli offers a valuable dose of vitamin K, renowned for its cognitive-enhancing effects and brain-boosting properties.

Studies have highlighted its richness in glucosinolates, compounds that aid in preserving acetylcholine, a key neurotransmitter crucial for maintaining sharp memory and cognitive function.

10. Tomatoes

Animal studies suggest that lycopene, a carotenoid present in tomatoes, may offer protective benefits against dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s.

However, lycopene’s ability to travel the blood-brain barrier, coupled with its potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, suggests potential therapeutic effects for the brain and central nervous system.