Enhancing your productivity starts with healthy choices

Do you struggle to keep up with work deadlines? Do you hit a mid-afternoon slump that makes you long for a quick nap at your desk? Your diet may be to blame.

What you eat can make or break your performance at work. Making wise food choices can influence your health, as well as your long-term happiness and ultimately, your well-being. The foods you eat – and don’t eat – have a direct impact on how productive you are.

Six healthy habits to boost your work productivity

  1. Reach for brain-friendly foods. Your diet is the fuel that powers your mental effectiveness. A 2015 study of 405 adults, published in the British Journal of Health Psychology, found that participants with higher intake of fruit and vegetables throughout the day reported feeling happier and more creative at work than people who ate less of them. Nutritious foods help your brain perform well by supplying nutrients and phytochemicals that keep inflammation and oxidation at bay.
  2. Cut the fat, increase the protein. Meals that are high in fat take a long time to digest, and they make you sleepy. On the other hand, meals that are high in protein can stimulate the activity of certain brain cells that cause alertness while also slowing down digestion, helping to sustain your energy – and curb hunger – longer after eating.  Hence, meals and snacks should contain protein such as chicken, tuna, eggs, lean meat, tofu, nuts or yogurt.
  3. Don’t work while you eat.Think you can get more done if you eat while you work? Wrong. Eating in front of a screen contributes to overeating. When you eat mindlessly, you miss cues that you are full. Opt for a meal break instead. You’ll get back to work feeling energized, and less tired than you would after a big meal.
  4. Cut down on caffeine. Yes, coffee can enhance mental alertness, but caffeine can be detrimental if you consume too much – causing things like headaches, palpitations, irritability and trouble sleeping. Limit your daily intake to 400 mg or less. After that, switch to decaf coffee or green or black tea, which both have considerably less caffeine than regular coffee.
  5. Don’t let yourself get hungry. If you ignore your hunger, you could feel irritable, drowsy or weak. How can you do your best work in that state? Choose a nutritious snack at regular intervals. And if you’re still hungry after a meal or snack, that’s a sign that your food choices need to be more nutritious. A hunger-satisfying meal or snack should contain protein and fibre. A winning combination available in vending machines or at the cafeteria might be:
    • Hummus + raw veggies
    • Whole grain crackers + piece of cheese
    • Almonds + grapes
    • Whole wheat toast + nut butter
  6. Stay hydrated. Keep a bottle of water at your desk and drink from it regularly. Research suggests that even minor dehydration can impair your ability to perform tasks that require attention, memory and psychomotor skills.

More on this topic

Healthy eating at work, Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety

Eating healthy can increase overall productivity, Huffington Post


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The information and advice are provided for informational purposes only. The Personal shall not be liable for any damages arising from any reliance upon such information or advice.