Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The office diet to keep you going

Power through a long day at the office with the right diet. Think of these foods as energy and health boosters that will keep you focused on clearing your in-tray by 6 o'clock.

Peppermint Tea
Benefit: Focus
Researchers in Cincinnati in the US found that periodic whiffs of peppermint increases people’s concentration and performance on tasks requiring sustained attention. So brew a cup of peppermint tea and impress co-workers with your focus. “Most herbal teas are naturally caffeine-free and highly satisfying, whether you take them hot or cold,” says nutritionist Vidya Bhat. “Both peppermint and chamomile teas help you relax and feel revitalised. Peppermint, especially, has a calming effect on your body, and is often used to soothe symptoms of anxiety.”

Grilled Salmon
Benefit: Alertness

For lunch, opt for salmon. It contains tyrosine, an amino acid that your brain uses to make dopamine and norepinephrine – neurochemicals that keep you alert. The brain-balm omega 3s in salmon may also help tame your neurotic tendencies. (Sardines and tilapia are good alternatives to salmon.) Additionally, people who eat fatty fish three or more times a week have a 27 per cent lower chance of developing brain lesions associated with cognitive decline and stroke.

Spinach or Arugula Salad
Benefit: Improved mood and memory

Leafy greens are a good source of the B vitamin folate, used by the brain to make the mood controllers serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. Also, broccoli or carrots have the same benefits: Beta-carotene may help reduce the effects of oxidative stress on
your memory.

Cayenne Pepper 
Benefit: Migraine relief

Throbbing headache after a super-long meeting? A report in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Therapies says capsaicin, the source of some chillies’ heat, can deplete the neurotransmitters that trigger headaches. But not if you eat it. So do this: Add ¼ teaspoon of fresh cayenne powder to about 100ml of warm water. After the powder settles to the bottom, dip a swab into the solution and apply it to the inside of your nostril on the side of your pain (or both sides, if needed). This should burn a bit, but it’s worth a try.

Benefit: Immunity boost

In a Canadian study, people who took 400mg of ginseng extract a day had 56 per cent fewer recurring colds than those who popped placebos. Studies suggest ginseng can boost the activity of key immune cells. Another benefit: Ginseng might boost your brainpower. British researchers found that people who swallowed 200mg of the extract an hour before taking a cognitive test scored significantly better than when they skipped the supplement.

If you’re really hacking up a lung, try downing a spoonful of honey. Penn State University scientists in the US found that honey is better at lessening cough frequency and severity than dextromethorphan, the most common active ingredient in over-the-counter cough meds

This article was adapted from


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