31 million Americans regularly skip breakfast and it shows during the job interview. Foregoing a healthy meal can leave you feeling tired, stressed, and easily distracted. To be at your best and beat the competition, reach for foods rich in these nutrients.
Antioxidants to sharpen your mental focus. There are a variety of antioxidants out there – Vitamin C, Vitamin E, beta carotene – that have a variety of positive health benefits. However, when you aim to increase your mental focus, it’s best to break out the leafy greens.
A 2006 study in Neurology found that eating two or more servings of leafy green vegetables daily can keep your mental sharpness at peak performance. That means, you’ll be better at quickly recalling your answers for typical interview questions. Your mother was right when she told you to eat your spinach (the same goes for kale, arugula, collard greens, or any other leafy veggies).
Protein to give you long lasting energy. When energy levels are low, it’s not uncommon to see someone reach for an energy drink. Caffeine and sugar in those beverages can perk you up, but often the impending crash is a destructive one. The fuel you get from these elixirs is fast burning. To keep your energy levels from sputtering out mid-interview, it’s better to opt for lean protein before your interview.
Protein is an essential building block in everything from your hair and nails to your bones, skin, and muscle tissue. However, your body only needs a limited supply to fuel its regular regenerative functions. That’s why it’s better to consume poultry, fatty fish (for the Omega 3s too), and protein-rich nuts (almonds and walnuts are the best sources). You get exactly what you need and limit all the extra calories found in red meat.
Fiber to fight fatigue. Even though we don’t digest fiber, it’s just as important to both daily functionality and interview success. Fiber helps to move waste out of the body and allows your metabolism to focus energy on other matters.
There are a number of great sources of fiber: whole grains, brown rice, oatmeal, baked potatoes with the skin and berries among them. In addition to helping you fight fatigue, these foods can also give you the feeling that you’re full for longer periods of time, keeping hunger pangs away in the midst of tricky interview questions.
Magnesium & Iodine to boost your mood. Feeling stressed? Depressed? Overwhelmed? A classic UK study found that a change in diet can measurably boost your mood. By shifting their dietary choices, 88% of people experienced marked improvement in their mental health.
Two nutrients that make the most difference are magnesium and iodine. Magnesium rich foods (nuts, apricots, spinach, and corn) can help to decrease chemical stressors present in your body. Iodine rich foods (baked potatoes, boiled eggs, and dried seaweed) can help to curtail feelings of moodiness or depression. Confidence and an elevated mood can go a long way towards showing you’re a positive fit for any position.
On a final note:
Though they’re no substitute for preparation, these nutrients can make all of your hard work go further and last longer. Foods rich in your daily dosage of antioxidants, fiber, protein, magnesium, and iodine help you to be your best self from the start and prove to hiring managers that when you’re on your “A” game, you’re well worth their attention.
by James Walsh