5 Power Foods to Eat at Your Desk

Last Updated May 6, 2011 9:51 AM EDT

You've likely heard that sitting at your desk all day isn't good for you, but here's something you can do while you're at work to improve your health. Pack these five power foods (that also taste good) in your Bento Box and munch on them while you work. You'll help your heart, your blood pressure, your risk of cancer, and some of these foods will even improve your memory and concentration.
  1. Walnuts. New research found that walnuts had more antioxidants and better quality antioxidants than peanuts, almonds, pecans, pistachios and other nuts. "A handful of walnuts contains almost twice as much antioxidants as an equivalent amount of any other commonly consumed nut," says Joe Vinson, Ph.D., of the University of Scranton, who presented the research at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society. All nuts have been shown to improve lipids and can reduce the risk of heart disease. Walnuts have also been found to improve cognitive and motor function in animals with Alzheimer's and in aged rats. Vinson recommending eating 7 walnuts a day.
  2. Dark chocolate has powerful antioxidants called polyphenols, which reduce some of the risk factors for heart disease like oxidation of LDL cholelsterol and inhibits clotting. Studies have shown that consuming a small bar of dark chocolate daily can reduce blood pressure in people with mild hypertension.Chocolate also contains caffeine, which can give you a boost in energy and concentration.
  3. Blueberries (dried work too). Blueberries contain polyphenols that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. They have also been associated with increased brain neuron signaling, and a recent study found that blueberry supplementation improved memory function in older adults. Similar effects have been found in numerous animal studies. Pack a handful in your bento box.
  4. Cup of green tea. Green tea contains polyphenols that repair damaged DNA and stimulate the immune system. Animal studies have found a reduced risk of several cancers, including skin cancer and prostate cancer in mice whose water was spiked with green tea. In this case, the more cups you drink, the better.
  5. Popcorn. This is the healthiest snack food available. It is 100% whole grain (the only food that is) and high in fiber and antioxidants--more than any other snack food. "If you can air-pop your popcorn and then add a minimal amount of salt, you'd have the best popcorn," Vinson said. You may need to bring your air popper to the office or bring a box of low-sodium, low-fat microwavable popcorn to work if your office has a microwave.
What do you eat at work to give your brain or body a boost?
Laurie Tarkan is an award-winning health journalist who writes for the New York Times, national magazines and websites. Follow her on twitter.
Photo courtesy of flickr user Renee Silverman
  • Laurie Tarkan

    Laurie Tarkan is an award-winning health journalist who writes for The New York Times and many national magazines. She is a contributing editor at Fit Pregnancy magazine and the author of three books, Perfect Hormone Balance for Fertility, Perfect Hormone Balance for Pregnancy and My Mother's Breast: Daughters Ace Their Mothers' Cancer.. You can follow her on Twitter at @LaurieTarkan.