Optimum Nutrition for the Workplace

This is a guide to foods that affect Mental performance;

Bad Performance Foods and their Good replacements!



increases mental alertness and concentration and can improve performance temporarily. However, too much caffeine (and this will be a different amount for each person) has been found associated with: anxiety, cravings, depression, emotional instability, insomnia, mood swings, nervousness and premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

Coffee, Fizzy Drinks, Energy Drinks, Chocolate

Replace with water, diluting juice, natural fruit and veg drinks, herbal tea



gives short sharp bursts of energy, and insulin levels in the blood. Not good as high insulin levels cause the body to store fat, inhibit the release of growth hormone and depresses the immune system. It induces quick period of energy immediately followed by a slump of tiredness.

Sweets, Fizzy Drinks, Chocolate

Replace with Fruit, Nuts, Dried Fruits, Yoghurts.


Saturated Fats & Trans Fatty Acids

Less Flexible Brain & Body Tissue. Brain Structure and functions are affected and disrupted. confused and slower Brain Communication.

Butter, Lard, Whole Milk, Cheese, Ice Cream, Cream, Fatty Meats, Coconut & Palm Oils, Fried Foods, Processed Foods, Cakes, Chocolate

Replace with unsaturated fats – Olive Oil, Cod Liver Oil, Nuts & Seeds, Dark Green Veg, Oily Fish


Change your Daily Diet!

Water - Dehydration

Makes up 80% of the Brain and is an Essential Element in it’s functioning. Creates feelings of well being, good performance and learning and good general health.

 Absence of Water - Dehydration
Insufficient Water Intake or taking certain medications can dehyrate the body and has significant implications for mental health! Initial symptoms of Dehydration; restless or irritable behaviour, weakness and feeling unwell. Severe symptoms are Low Blood Pressure, Fainting, Severe muscle contractions, convulsions and heart failure.

Drink at least 8 good size Glasses of water throughout the course of the day


Essential Fatty Acids

- Vital in Function and Structure of Brain & Smooth Communications

Omega 3 Omega 6, Oily Fish Seeds, Vegetables, Vegetables Oils

High Intake Saturated Fats

- Less Flexible Brain & Body Tissue

Butter, Lard, Whole Milk, Coconut & Palm Oils

Use low saturated fat spreads instead of butter, replace meats with sardines and mackrel at lunch time.

Complex Carbohydrates

-Slow releasing Energy. Our Brains are powered by only Carbohydrates.

Wholegrain (breads, pasta's, cereal)Brown Rice, Brown pasta, Vegetables,Beans & Pulses

Refined Carbohydrates

-quick high energy release of energy which leads to blood sugar levels rising and dipping too quickly too often and causes cravings. Constant imbalance in Blood sugar levels can eventually lead to Diabetes.

White bread, white pasta, white rice, biscuits,

Replace white Breads, Rice, Pasta with Brown and Wholemeal/ Wholegrain instead


Amino Acids (Proteins)

- make up the Brains messengers;

Tryptophan – (converts to Serotonin) Improves Mood, Well – Being and Sleep Patterns

Fish, Fruit, Eggs, Avocado, Low Fat Cheese, Lean Meat, Free Range Poultry (Turkey), Beans

Tyrosine – (converts to Dopamine, Noradrenalin and Adrenaline and GABA)

Improves Mental & Physical performance under Stress better than coffee!

soy products, chicken, turkey, fish, peanuts, almonds, avocados, bananas, milk, cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, lima beans, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds

Absence of Amino Acids (Proteins)

- Problems with Brain Communication and normal function

Low Mood, Difficulty Sleeping,Feeling Discontented, Lacking Joy

Replace Meats with chicken or turkey, sweets and chocolate with seeds, nuts and dried fruit

Vitamins & Minerals

Vital in Promoting and Maintaining Positive Mental Health and are crucial to the conversion of Carbohydrates into Glucose, Fatty Acids into Healthy Brain Cells and Amino Acids into neurotransmitters


B1 (concentration & attention) Wholegrain

B3 (PMA -positive mental attitude) Wholegrain

B5 (memory & Stress level) Vegetables

B6 (memory, Stress levels , contentment, PMA) Bananas Wholegrain

B12 (Focus, memory) Meat, Fish Dairy Products, Eggs

C (PMA) Fruit & Vegetables


Folic Acid (PMA, calmness) Pulses Green Leafy Veg

Magnesium (calmness, PMA, Good Sleep) Nuts & Seeds Green Leafy Veg

Selenium (calmness, PMA) Brewer’s Yeast Wheat germ, Liver, Fish, Garlic, Sunflower Seeds, Brazil Nuts, Wholegrain

Zinc (Focus, Clarity, PMA, Motivation, Good Appetite) Oysters, Nuts, Fish, Seafood

Absence of Vitamins & Minerals

Can cause poor or negetive Mental Health, reduce and affect the production of Healthy Brain Cells and Brain Messengers


B1 Poor concentration & attention

B3 Depression

B5 Poor memory & High Stress level

B6 Poor memory, High Stress levels, Irritability & depression

B12 Confusion, poor memory, Psychosis

C Depression


Folic Acid Anxiety, depression, Psychosis

Magnesium Irritability, insomnia, Depression

Selenium Irritability, depression

Zinc Confusion, blank mind, Depression, loss of Appetite, Lack of motivation

Ensure you manage to include 5 Fruit & Veg in you daily diet and at least 2 of these Vegetables and Green Vegetables are even better!