If you are anything like me, you have heard numerous times that eating right and drinking fluids fuels the mind and boosts productivity.
In fact, the World Health Organization has said that when the right foods are consumed, brain power can actually increase by as much as 20%.
Could it be the case that eating and drinking too much actually have a negative effect on how well you work?
Office buildings and many work settings run rampant with poor nutrition. From people finding fast food options and eating on the go, to packing unhealthy meals for lunch simply because they feel the healthier options are too difficult to put together, there are many excuses why people avoid eating well and continue to eat poorly.
Still, many surveys consistently show people are unhappy with their meal plan and wish they were eating healthier.
With this in mind, how can you tell if you are eating and drinking too much of the wrong things? And what foods should you be eating to help energize your brain and what foods you should be avoiding?
First, it is important to focus more on what you can and should be eating. Focusing too much on what not to eat can make dieting to increase productivity feel more like a burden instead of a new goal that will make you feel better in the long run.
The best foods to eat are the ones that help reduce inflammation and encourage blood flow to the brain.
Fish is the only meat that has the right omega-3 fatty acids to help with this. Eating tuna, salmon or any other type of fish can help reduce inflammation and encourage your brain to work better.
Other types of fats that are healthy and can improve your mind’s focus are avocado, almonds and seeds. Avocados can help lower cholesterol and reduce heart disease. Not only does this have positive long-term benefits to your health, but it also helps your body improve blood circulation, which has a more immediate impact on your level of concentration.
Nuts and seeds are packed full of antioxidants that help with the aging cognitive process, delivering immediate benefits.
For people with a sweet tooth, dark chocolate is also full of antioxidants as well. To satisfy sugar cravings, you can nibble on a small amount of this rich dessert and watch your focus improve. For the best affects, it is important to get the most pure cacao possible.
It is best to only eat a few ounces of chocolate—a little bit goes a long way with this thought-boosting food.
Now that you have a better idea of what you can eat, it is important to also know what foods and drinks you should steer far away from. Quite simply, it is important to avoid the opposite types of food as the good, such as heavy red meats, high amounts of sugars and breads and overdoses of caffeine.
Red meat has long been considered to be unhealthy. With the high intake of saturated fats that you will inevitably consume with large portions of red meat comes the inability to focus, remember important tasks or information, or learn new information.
All of these have a direct impact on your ability to perform well at work.
Processed, sugary foods and bread are another food group that can negatively impact your ability to produce quality work.
While it is true that the brain needs glucose to continue functioning well, too much of a good thing can ruin your ability to stay focused. When you consume sugary foods and overly processed white breads, you run the risk of delivering too much glucose to your brain and ultimately sacrificing your productivity levels.
Instead, focus on eating whole grains or fruits and vegetables to get the glucose your brain needs to function.
Caffeine is one chemical that many people turn to for help waking their brain up in the morning. However, overdoses of caffeine can confuse the body and put it on overdrive for a short period of time, followed by the normal crash and burn once the caffeine has worn off. This unsteady pattern can cause the body to function poorly overall.
If you are looking for easy ways to boost your productivity, simply focus on eating as many healthy fruits and vegetables you can and steer clear of the foods that can negatively impact your brain’s natural ability to function well.
Author: Joyce Del Rosario
Editor: Renée Picard
Image: vegateam at Flickr