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How Your Diet Can Affect Productivity

Estimated reading time: 5 mins

What you eat has a massive effect of how you can learn and work. It can either fuel your body and mind to perform with passion enabling them to operate to their full potential, or send your blood sugar levels up and down like a rollercoaster and leave you feeling sluggish and tired. There are many things you can do in order to improve your productivity at work or school, but the following tips and tricks should help you to choose the right meals and snacks during your day of learning in order to thrive, and explain why and how they will help you achieve your best.

The Good

There are certain foods that are scientifically proven to help you perform better both physically and mentally. Blueberries are said to have a positive effect on cognitive ability, and can act to curb some cravings for your usual unhealthy sugar rich snacks. Regular consumption of strawberries has been shown to help signal pathways inside your brain perform to their optimum ability, and they are responsible for enabling you to retain information and have a larger memory capacity. If you’re craving something salty, instead of heading for some crisps grab a handful of sunflower seeds; they are full of vitamin E which can aid the speed at which you can recall information. The antioxidant power inside tomatoes make them a necessity to any days work, as they do wonders to aid mental focus and boost productivity with their lycopene content. Salmon is a must have on your plate at lunchtime, as the omega 3 fatty acids will do absolute wonders for cognitive function, therefore allowing you to recall and apply information you learn. Pair this with some brown rice for a nutritionally complete meal, as the rice will provide you with a large amount of carbohydrates and fibre whilst still having a low glycemic index to keep blood sugar levels steady and slowly release energy over the course of several hours. By including all of these foods in your diet, you can be confident that you are consuming the most beneficial snacks and meals during your day to harness your potential. Each item can be packed up and taken to work or school, but if you don’t have the means or time to prepare your own dishes, enquire about what’s on offer onsite. You can still get healthy and beneficial meals from a caterer at your university when you really need to thrive so don’t fret, just check out a company like Taylor Shaw Catering to get some of the best options.

The Bad

Certain foods should be avoided entirely when trying to focus and work to your full potential. First of all, starting your day with a sugary fortified breakfast cereal or sweet waffles will set you up for complete failure, as your blood sugar will spike dramatically just after you consume these items but fall just as fast only a short time later. Snacking on artificially flavoured, coloured or preserved products like fizzy or chewy sweets will have a drastic impact on your attention span and hyperactivity due to the damaging E-number additives. Any bread based meal will make you feel ready for a nap, as it’s said that when too much insulin is produced (after too much of the doughy stuff) it can turn to serotonin, which is the chemical that induces sleep and the feeling of being tired. Skip caffeine where possible, as though is provides a short term buzz there are many long term negative side effects both for the mind and body. Most students will reach for an energy drink when they need to work a little faster, but these should be avoided at all costs because of their potentially life threatening effects on the heart.

The Time & The Location

The time at which you eat will have an effect on your day, as meal sizes should be different dependent on the time of day due to the slow of your metabolism. Breakfast should be the largest meal as you have not eaten since the previous day yet still need to consume enough to then power through until lunchtime. The middle meal of the day should be a little smaller, and dinner even less so. By planning your meals in this way, you will be consuming the appropriate amount instead of overeating and becoming sluggish and stodgy. Eating at your desk is bad for several reasons, the most important being the effect it will have on your overall productivity. If you stay seated all day and only get chance to stretch your legs at lunch, take the opportunity to leave your seat and get your blood pumping to your brain and around the rest of your body at a more hurried rate. Taking this time to get away from your work will also give you a much needed break, and allow you to set up your mind to return to your task with a somewhat more level headed approach having had the time to relax and gather your thoughts. You can also use food as motivation through your the day in order to reward yourself after accomplishing a task or reaching a goal. Don’t think this is an opportunity to ‘treat’ yourself with a slice of cake or fries; use this to further aid your abilities by opting for a healthy and proactive food such as frozen berries or a smoothie.  

This information should help you to understand what foods to eat in order to allow your mind and body to work to their full capabilities, and why certain things can help you more than others. It’s so important to have a healthy diet for so many reasons, but your productivity will soar through the roof when you begin to make positive changes. Incorporate fruit, vegetables, oily fish and seeds into your meal plan in  order to reap the most benefits from your diet and keep your brain in optimum condition to learn and grow at an inspiring rate.

 

About the author /


Simon is a creative and passionate business leader dedicated to having fun in the pursuit of high performance and personal development. He is co-founder of Applied Change, a Business Change consultancy based in the UK. Simon is also an Ambassador for Gloucestershire business. Simon is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Professional Development.

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