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8 Snackable Superfoods to Supercharge Your Brainpower!

By Anthony Hughes | Sep 8, 2015 | Candidate Tips

brain wiggling with big googly eyesI have a cold…

On Monday, having suffered through 2 days of man-flu, I’d had enough; the drugs hadn’t worked, the Lemsip had failed and I could feel my productivity waning… so I decided it was time to ‘go natural.’

I ended up trying an interesting concoction of citrus fruit, salt-water, honey and herbal supplements (and possibly a little whiskey night-cap).

And it worked! (Although I’m still sniffling and irritating my poor fellow commuters – oops).

So that got me thinking about the relationship between health and productivity and whether there could be natural (easy) ways to boost brainpower and fight off unproductivity?

So, I’ve been investigating and have managed to uncover 8 so-called snack-able ‘superfoods’ that scientists proclaim will supercharge our brains whilst boosting productivity!

1. Blueberries

Studies have shown that blueberries can help to improve brain function and short term memory and they work perfectly as a nice little, low calorie snack during the day.

The Scientific Bit.


Ambro at

The antioxidants present in blueberries gather around areas of the brain that control intelligence, reacting with neurons and improving brain signals, immediately.

In the long run, they also slow down the effects of ‘cognitive aging’ by up to 2.5 years!

To find out more about the (numerous and impressive) benefits of eating blueberries, check out this interesting article from Authority Nutrition.

2. Oily Fish

‘Oily fish’ types include salmon, trout, mackerel, herring, sardines, pilchards and kippers… so basically the smelliest fish you can possibly find!

The Scientific Bit.

trout superfoods

Serge Bertasius Photography at

They’re a great source of EPA and DHA (omega-3 fatty acids) which not only prevent heart disease and lower blood pressure (so that you’ll live longer) but are also great for brain function and memory.

They’ve also been linked to the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and rheumatoid arthritis.

Of course, you’ll have to weigh up whether it’s worth irritating your colleagues by stinking out the entire office (voted one of the worst office habits in the UK).

Not really bothered what other people think? Check out this great article to find out more about the benefits of oily fish!

3. Walnuts

Not a fan of fish? 

Well, luckily, there is another way to give your brain a hit of those essential omega-3 fatty acids… and that’s with a crunchy, delicious dose of walnuts.

And, just a handful of walnuts will silence that embarrassing rumbling tummy and quell your temptation to snack on unhealthier foods during the day; win-win!

(Put the muffin down… and step away from the bacon sarnie!)

The Scientific Bit.

walnuts superfoods

Bill Longshaw at

Walnuts are literally packed full of goodness, from fatty acids and manganese, to copper, iron, calcium, phosphorus, antioxidants, folic acid, vitamin E… the list is endlessly impressive.

They’ll not only improve cognitive performance but they can help you to get a good night’s sleep (by raising melatonin levels) reduce cholesterol and improve the chances of a healthy heart.

Nuts for nuts? Check out this Natural News article to find out more.

4. Leafy Greens

Examples of ‘leafy greens’ include, kale, spinach, broccoli, chard…

Boring! I guess, you probably already know that you should be eating your greens.

But if you’ve decided to ignore the hype, then you really could be missing out on brainpower! (Let alone the other health benefits that I’m sure you’ve already heard about.)

The Scientific Bit.

spinach - superfoods

smarnad at

Leafy greens are absolutely packed full of vitamins and minerals that can help to prevent a variety of health issues, from cancer to dementia.

Brain-wise, it’s the abundance of Vitamin K that’s known to enhance cognitive function and iron that improves learning, memory and attention (ladies in particular, listen up)!

To find out more about the health benefits of leafy greens, check out this illuminating article by Best Health.

5. Whole grains

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but that doesn’t mean that you should shovel down a bacon and egg sarnie every day!

Although it also doesn’t mean that you should ‘be healthy’ and just eat fruit.

A wholemeal breakfast (something like oatmeal, bran cereal or whole-wheat toast) has been proven to improve your thinking power and keep you going for longer.

The Scientific Bit.

brown bread

Serge Bertasius Photography at

Whole grains have a lower GI than processed (white) foods.

They are more difficult for the body to break down and therefore release energy, in the form of glucose, into our bodies at a slower pace.

This can help you to lose weight, because you’ll feel fuller for longer, but will also prolong your energy, mood and concentration levels!

The same goes for lunchtime… eating brown bread (or pasta, crackers etc.) instead of white will allow a slow and steady release of energy. You’ll stay energised for longer and won’t feel the 3pm slump, caused by quicker-to-digest sugary carbs.

Interested? Check out the BBC Good Food website; they have a great article explaining the benefits of GI foods.

6. Coffee

If you’re a coffee drinker, then you’ll already know the benefits of caffeine… yes it does make you feel more awake and yes it does help you to concentrate (to an extent).

Some of us (guilty!) even depend on that morning cuppa to get us going in the first place!

The Scientific Bit.

cup of coffee

tiverylucky at

Caffeine increases alertness and concentration because it “blocks” adenosine, an inhibitory neurotransmitter that (put really simply) promotes sleep.

By blocking the effects of adenosine, you can improve “mood, reaction time, memory, vigilance and general cognitive function!”

If you’d like to find out the 6 more reasons why coffee IS good for you, check out the full article here!

However, you can have too much of a good thing and if you end up dependent on caffeine, drinking cup after cup of coffee, it can have the opposite effect (obviously).

You’ll end up losing sleep, facing harsh crashes and even getting the shakes; you certainly won’t be thinking straight.

7. Bee Pollen?!

I stumbled across this weird and wonderful super”food”, online. (I didn’t even know you could eat bee pollen… did you?)

Apparently, there’s a lot to it though, in fact, it holds more protein than any other animal source – so it’s absolutely packed full of energy!

The Scientific Bit.

a bee

dan at

The main brain benefit for you is that you’ll naturally get a really great boost of energy from the carbohydrates, protein and B vitamins, which will fight off fatigue and give you more stamina to get through the day…

And all you need is a teaspoon of the good stuff.

Ditch the coffee, but still get a buzz!

Oh and it’s also a great immune system booster, so it’ll help you keep those dreadful colds at bay.

Interesting stuff! To find out more about the benefits of bee pollen, check out this article from the food matters website.

8. Dark Chocolate

Good news. Chocolate actually has some really impressive benefits, so next time you fancy a nibble of something sweet, you don’t have to feel guilty!

On one condition… the chocolate that you’re chowing down on is dark.

The Scientific Bit.


dan at

The flavonoids in cocoa improve blood flow to the brain which in turn improves memory, learning and focus, while preventing mental decline as you grow older.

Just make sure you’re eating good quality, dark chocolate (put down the Mars Bar) to feel the benefits – with at least 70% cocoa!

(Dark chocolate also contains caffeine and we already know the great things that that can do for the brain – see no. 6!)

Warning: while dark chocolate is ‘healthier’ in some ways, it’s also higher in calories and saturated fat than light chocolate, so if you’re on a diet, it might not be the most appropriate brain food of choice.

To find out more about the benefits of a little dark chocolate snack, check out this article from Be Brain Fit.


There you have it! 8 pretty tasty snack-able superfoods that you can bring with you to work to supercharge your brainpower and boost your productivity!

Certainly some food for thought…

Recruiter Pro Tip.

So, you know what you should be eating. What shouldn’t you be eating?

The following types of foods are renowned for slowing people down…

  • Foods packed full of sugar will give you a brief high, before a swift crash.
  • Calorific meals like pizza will make you feel sluggish.
  • Not eating anything will help you to lose focus, speed and your memory will falter.
  • Alcohol (need I say more).
  • Extremely “processed” foods like white bread (see no. 5).

A good, balanced diet, really will help you to achieve more, whilst still being able to enjoy food!

If you could do with more guidance on increasing your productivity, check out our recent blog post: 10 Tips To Help You Become More Productive.

Good luck.

- Anthony Hughes

Anthony Hughes

Anthony is a recruitment veteran of 18 years and is also one of the original founders of Coburg Banks. He now trains recruitment consultants on the best methods to utilise when sourcing and assessing applicants for their clients. 


> More blog posts by Anthony Hughes

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