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11 Foods That Can Help You Be More Productive Here's some food for thought.

By Grace Reader

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What you eat during the day has a big impact on your productivity. So put those pizza bites down -- they could be hurting your performance at work.

Here are 11 foods that can help you be more productive. (Note: The last one is especially delicious.) Just be mindful that you're getting a variety of nutrients in your diet and not consuming too much of a good thing.

Related: Get More Done by Following 'The Productivity Diet' (Infographic)

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1. Eggs

Start your day sunny side up -- or scrambled, if you like. Eggs are high in choline, a nutrient that studies show improves memory.

Eggs also contain several vitamins, including B5, which releases energy from food, and B12, which assists with brain and nervous system function.

Not to mention, eggs are an excellent source of protein, which can help you sustain your energy level and stave off hunger throughout the day.

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2. Yogurt

People are paying an increasing amount of attention to the bacteria in their guts these days, as research reveals that the tiny organisms living in our bodies could be key to physical and mental health.

For one, it's possible that yogurt may help you maintain a more positive attitude during a busy work day. In a small study, researchers at UCLA found that eating probiotic yogurt twice a day can reduce activity in the part of your brain that registers pain and emotion. Scientists have also begun to draw links between consuming probiotics and thinking fewer sad thoughts.

Related: 3 Easy Steps to Personal Mastery and Emotional Health
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3. Blueberries

Blueberries reduce inflammation in the central nervous system and fight back against molecules that are harmful to the brain.

After a particularly strenuous experience, such as intense physical labor or an stress-inducing traumatic event, blueberries can help reduce bodily inflammation and help you recover.

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4. Avocados

Guacamole lovers unite! (Just go easy on the chips.) Avocados are a healthy source of unsaturated fat and also contain fiber, both of which will keep you full and less susceptible to food-related distractions.

Another benefit of eating avocados is folate, which boosts metabolism. Folate deficiency can make you irritable, forgetful and mentally sluggish.

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5. Spinach

Popeye ate spinach when he was feeling depleted, and so should you. Research says that eating spinach can increase cognitive function -- a lot.

Those who eat one to two servings of spinach per day have a cognitive ability of someone 11 years younger, thanks to vitamin K, lutein, folate and beta-carotene.

Leafy greens such as spinach play a role in eye health, too, and they have the ability to combat vision loss.
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6. Almonds

Cholesterol reduction is one of the most well-known benefits to eating almonds, but they are also a superb source of vitamin E, which may increase cognitive performance.

Additionally, almonds are full of magnesium, which helps to prevent the stress hormone cortisol from entering the brain, according to Psychology Today. Magnesium also helps ward off headaches and fatigue.

A handful of the seeds, commonly incorrectly referred to as nuts, are another great snack option to curb hunger during the day -- and increase productivity.

Related: The Energizing Workouts These 7 Entrepreneurs Do to Start Their Days
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7. Salmon

Salmon is high in selenium, which boosts your immune system. Fewer sick days mean more time to get work done.

Salmon is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. Researchers have found a connection between the consumption of one of the omega-3s found in salmon and improvements in depression, anxiety and sleep.

Plus, one serving of salmon gives you more vitamin B12 -- a brain-function booster -- than your body needs in a day.
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8. Whole grains

The glucose from carbohydrates fuels your body and brain, but carbs of the whole grain variety break down slowly, keeping you full and sharp. They regulate blood sugar and maintain energy levels, allowing you to stay focused.

Opt for foods with a low or medium glycemic index -- these won't immediately spike your blood sugar.
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9. Eggplant

Eggplant's primary benefit is its phytonutrients, which are natural antioxidants that protect against brain cell membrane damage. Cell membranes help cells receive operating instructions and maintain an influx of nutrients and the removal of waste. Eggplant skin is an especially good source of the phytonutrient nasunin, so refrain from peeling next time you prepare one.

While eggplant is low in fat and carbs, it's a good source of fiber and will fill you up.
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10. Mussels

A serving of mussels offers a full daily intake of vitamin B12, which helps insulate brain cells and keeps your mind sharp.

The mollusks are also a rich source of zinc, which helps with mood regulation, and iodine, which helps the thyroid keep your metabolism and hormones in check. Plus, mussels contain protein to keep you satiated.
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11. Chocolate

This the one you've been waiting for. Not only is chocolate good for you in the sense that it makes your soul happy (my excuse for eating most things), but it is actually really good for you. Eating chocolate, at least weekly, is correlated to boosting everyday performance and cognitive health.

Chocolate has even been said to help with math (we could all use a little bit of that).
Grace Reader


Grace Reader is a former editorial intern at and a current freelance contributor. She is a third year journalism and media communication major at Colorado State University. Grace is the PR and marketing manager at Colorado State University's Off-Campus Life, and a sports anchor at CTV Channel 11. 

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