20 Foods that Boost Productivity According to Science

They say you are what you eat. So if you eat unhealthily it would be no surprise that you would be unhealthy too. How about if you want to be productive? The food you eat can either make you productive or make you lazy. Below are 20 foods that increase productivity as backed by science. These are not magic pills to make you instantly productive, but it definitely helps significantly than eating sugars and processed meals with preservatives and other toxins that can be counterproductive.

Chia Seeds

Chia Seeds are increasingly becoming popular for their nutritional content and their status as a superfood. Chia seeds are packed with protein and contains a significant amount of omega 3 (according to the Journal of Biomedicine and Technology) both of which increase focus. Besides its abundance in protein, Chia seeds are also givers of sustained energy without the crash similar to sugary food. They are also rich in fiber and vitamins as an added bonus.



According to the US National Institutes of Health, nuts such as peanuts and tree nuts are nutrient dense foods with complex matrices rich in unsaturated fatty and other bioactive compounds such as high-quality vegetable protein, fiber and minerals. If this does not give you enough reason to eat them, another reason is these superfood are also productivity boosters. Nuts such as walnuts contain omega 3 that helps focus and eating it as a snack also keeps your blood sugar in check.


Dark Chocolates

Dark Chocolates contain chemicals that boost our mood and help our body produce more endorphins, our body’s “happy hormones”. In a study at the University of Warwick in Britain, they found out that subjects who ate dark chocolates were 10 to 12 percent more productive solving the problems than the control group. This is not an excuse to gorge on dark chocolates, everything in moderation is of course healthier.


Many know the benefits of staying hydrated, from clearer skin to increase in immunity. Dehydration can also negatively affect our daily mood. It can cause confusion, irritability, headaches and even exhaustion.

When it come to being productive, sometimes, it is as simple as being hydrated. According to a study conducted by the University of East London, drinking water and being fully hydrated would result in a 14% increase in overall productivity. Water helps us concentrate and become more energized. There is no reason why we should not drink plenty of water throughout the day.



Eating eggs especially before our day starts can be beneficial for our productivity. Eggs contain a kind of vitamin B called choline which enhances our memory and reaction time. According to Lori Shamek, a professional health coach, “Whole eggs, yolk included, are a dense source of the omega-3 fatty acid DHA,” says Shemek. “Research has shown that adequate omega-3 intake has a favorable effect upon memory and mood. Eggs also contain choline, a compound that can help maintain healthy brain cell membranes.”. Eggs are cheap, healthy and instantly available food to help us improve our productivity.



Another food that is not only super healthy but also delicious is salmon. It is food that is high in protein and low in fats. It’s easy to prepare and not an acquired taste as it is very delectable. But many are unaware of it’s benefits in improving our productivity.  According to Medical News Today, Salmon has plenty omega 3s, a nutrient that helps promote focus and of course, it’s good for the heart. It also has plenty of iron and B – vitamins which helps improve memory, recall, reasoning and concentration. There also other sources of omega 3 such as these Wild Alaskan Pure Salmon Fish oil from Amazon.


Green Tea

Many are aware of the effects of black tea and the focus it can give to black tea drinkers. However, there is a new kid on the block. Green Tea is now becoming more and more popular in improving cognitive abilities. Its light and refreshing taste can be prepared in various ways. Its benefits are also numerous. Aside from its cancer fighting antioxidants, green tea is also a drink that it beneficial for our brain. According to a study published in the journal Psychopharmacology, green tea improves the brain’s connectivity and working memory. These improvements also has a positive correlation in performance of tasks in the study.



Dr. Steve Pratt, the author of Superfoods Rx: Fourteen Foods Proven to Change Your Life, calls blueberries as “Brainberries”. There are two main reasons why he does so. First, animal studies have found out that blueberries actually help shield the brain stress and may even minimize the effects of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. Moreover, some studies have shown that it showed significant improvement in the capacity of rats to learn. Blueberries are not only beneficial for our brain but also very tasty and easily available.



Many are aware of the health benefits of bananas including potassium, this is an electrolyte that our bodies and mind needs to function properly. A scientist by the name of Leigh Gibson, found out that the amount of glucose in a medium sized banana contains 25 grams of glucose, which is more or less the amount wherein our brains work best.



Lately, avocados are becoming somewhat unpopular as it is filled with fats and contain a lot of calories. However, a study in published in the National Institutes of Health, avocados contain a variety of essential nutrients such as vitamin A, C and even phytochemicals. It also contains potassium which regulates blood pressure and overall brain health. Folate which is another nutrient that is abundant in avocados, is essential in maintenance of the brain and its cognitive function.



Eating eggplant is not readily associated with improving our productivity. However, according to a study done by the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine, antioxidants found in the eggplant’s skin, is found to protect the brain from free radical damage. It can also prevent brain degradation related to age and also helps improve our memory.



Yogurt is a wonderful (and delicious) food. It contains protein, it is abundant in minerals and it contains probiotics – these are live bacteria that is good for our health particularly in our digestive system where they live. Probiotics, when balanced, improve our mood and hormonal production. Also, in a recent publication in the Indian Journal of Pharmacology,  another role of probiotics is enhancing our memory.



Carrots are rather known for their abundance in vitamin A. However, in a study published in the National Library of Medicine, carrots can also reduce oxidative stress in our brain. Oxidative stress is linked to the inability of the brain and the nerves to regenerate.



Although I would never advise drinking while working, a study conducted by Department of Family Medicine and Public Health, University of California San Diego, showed that moderate drinking of alcohol may play a role in cognitively healthy longevity and may prevent conditions like dementia. Another excuse to enjoy that bottle of cabernet savignon.


Whole Grains

Whole grains such as brown rice contain an abundant supply of fiber for good digestions. Well, a lot of people know that. Whole grains also contain magnesium which, according to University of Maryland Medical Center, helps with concentration and memory. Also, symptoms of magnesium deficiency include irritability, decreased attention span, and mental confusion.



Garlic contains compounds that have antiviral and antibacterial properties that helps fight disease. Another benefit of this superfood is its protection against brain diseases brought about by aging. In a research done by a team from  University of Missouri, garlic may prevent aging related diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Garlic protects and even reverses cell damage that is caused by stress.


Flax Seeds

Flax seeds are a food and fiber crop that has been cultivated in the cooler regions of the world as early as 5,000 years ago. Our ancestors may have been aware of its benefits. Flax seeds are abundant in omega 3, which according to one study from the University of Maryland, is very important for our cognitive functions such as boosting memory and overall performance.


Soy Beans/Milk

Soy is a versatile food that comes in many forms from milk to tofu (yes, tofu is made of soy). Soy as it turns out, has beneficial effects on our brain. According to the journal of Environmental Health Perspectives, regular consumption of soy based products can protect the brain from age related brain diseases. Soy also helps in brain development and may be beneficial for cognitive processes.



Oatmeal is a nutritious food that is both rich in fiber and known to help control choleterol levels. Moreover, according to the Harvard Department of Neurobiology, “ Brain functions such as thinking, memory, and learning are closely linked to glucose levels and how efficiently the brain uses this fuel source.”. Deficiency in glucose may impede the brain from transmitting messages from one neuron to another. Of course, glucose like any other sugar should be taken in controlled quantities.



Duh! Yes of course, this list would not be complete without coffee. Coffee is a stimulant, we all know its effects in concentration and wakefulness. However, according to a study in Nature Neuroscience, coffee, can enhance our working memory as well. It doesn’t matter what kind of coffee, as long as it is real coffee (not the decaf kind), it can improve our memory significantly.

Any other food that you think would help us become more productive and improve our brain health? Let me know in the comments section!


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