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5 healthy lunch break habits

Most American workers have a hard time taking a lunch break. In fact, one study found that 39 percent of employees eat at their desks, and 28 percent seldom take a break at all.

But making a conscious effort to step away from your workspace, even for thirty minutes, may actually increase productivity.

Here are a few things you can do to get the most out of your lunch break and return to your desk mentally recharged:

1. Eat.  Eating nutritious foods is the perfect way to re-energize.  And certain foods, like fish and leafy greens, can actually improve brain function. Salmon and tuna are full of omega-3 fatty acids that make the arteries in the brain healthier and boost memory function.

And dark leafy greens, like spinach and kale, have been shown to slow age-related mental decline by up to 40 percent, thanks to their brain-friendly antioxidants like flavonoids and carotenoids.

Even grabbing a hot tea can help activate the brain circuit tied to attention span.

2. Work out. Hitting the gym during your lunch break can help reduce stress. When you exercise, you release feel-good neurotransmitters called endorphins, which help enhance your mood. Exercise can also increase your confidence and self-esteem.

3. Socialize. Spending time with co-workers and friends can be a great stress buffer. Friends often provide emotional support that improves your psychological well-being. And socializing with others may make you less likely to seek out negative coping mechanisms, like drinking alcohol, smoking or doing drugs.

4. Take a walk. Don’t underestimate the value of simply taking a walk. Walking helps ward off depression and mental stress, and it can reduce your risk of getting certain diseases like diabetes and hypertension.

Taking a walk outside may give you the added benefit of getting a little sun. Exposure to sunlight can help boost serotonin, which is a “feel good” hormone produced in the brain.

5. Play mind games. Try crossword puzzles, Sudoku or other brain games to engage your mind. These mental exercises may help stimulate brain cells, improve cognitive function and forestall the onset of dementia.

For more helpful, healthful tips, click here.

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