You may be familiar with the saying that you are what you eat. And you may have experienced a direct correlation between what you ate and your productivity; whether it was feeling sluggish after eating a carb heavy meal, or having to lie down after eating lots of protein. But the inverse is true as well. There are ways that you can change your diet and improve your energy levels and performance. Here are four ways changing your nutrition could boost your productivity.
Consume Slow Burning Energy Sources
Hunger makes you tired and sluggish. People who live a fast paced life often eat protein bars and on the go foods to make up for their hunger pangs. However, what you eat can set you up for an energy crash later. For example, eating simple carbs and sugar may give you a boost of energy and increase your mental effectiveness for a little while. When that energy source is burned up, you’ll feel tired, irritable and mentally foggy again.
The solution is to eat slower burning energy sources like complex carbohydrates, fats and protein. The benefit of eating foods that are broken down into glucose more slowly is that they provide a steady supply of nutrients that the brain turns into neurotransmitters. You’ll be able to think clearly and work at the same level for hours.
Maintain Your Energy Levels
Don’t wait until you get hungry to eat, since a drop in your blood sugar will hurt your performance. Snack on foods with a low glycemic index like oatmeal or bananas throughout the day to maintain a steady flow of energy. You can minimize the temptation to eat unhealthy junk food by having healthy snacks around like apple slices or nuts.
Furthermore, you should never skip breakfast. Your mood and productivity will both suffer, especially in the morning. Nor can you really offset that with caffeine or another pick-me-up. Your ability to learn, remember and solve problems is tied to how efficiently your brain uses glucose. If there is no fuel in the pipeline, the best you can do is a fraction of what you could do if you were eating right.
Improve Your Hydration Level
If you’re dehydrated, you’ll feel tired. Even your metabolism will slow down. This is why athletes take care to stay hydrated. Hydration tips tend to focus on ‘drink more water’, especially when you’re out in the heat. However, almost everyone in modern society is dehydrated, since we’re consuming a large volume of dehydrating beverages like alcohol, energy drinks and caffeinated drinks.
If you want to learn more tips for staying hydrated, Bevi.co has an article on how to stay hydrated no matter your lifestyle. They mention a few tips like using a smart water bottle that will remind you when it’s time for your next drink. They also advise you to drink low sugar sparkling water as an alternative to fizzy drinks, which is a great idea for people who have difficulty drinking just plain water.
Eat Healthier in General
Those who eat an unhealthy diet are 66 percent more likely to report low productivity relative to those who have a healthy diet. Studies have found that adequate nutrition can improve productivity by up to twenty percent. Eating more fruits and vegetables and fewer sweets has a number of benefits. It ensures that you aren’t lacking in vital nutrients, and a deficit of many minerals or vitamins can leave you sluggish. Another benefit is that your body will better be able to combat stress and maintain a good mood.
If you can’t maintain your focus at work or constantly feel tired, the problem may be your diet, not your meeting schedule. Fortunately, you have the means to change your diet and productivity for the better.