What you eat greatly impacts your productivity at work, your mood, behaviour, and general mental health. The food and drink you consume can make you feel calm and in control or may make you feel restless and irritable. One of the ways to boost your personal productivity at work is to enjoy a healthy, well-balanced diet.
However, knowing exactly what to eat to increase productivity in business can be difficult. We are bombarded with various health claims about certain diets or see advertisements for mind-boosting supplements.
There is also the problem of dealing with workplace stress. This can lead to dependence on caffeine for a mental boost, snacking on unhealthy foods, or eating junk food for a ‘quick bite’.
Before looking at the best foods to eat if you want to boost your productiveness, it’s important to know the link between your food intake and cognitive function.
Most nutritionists agree that a person’s diet significantly affects their mental capacity and workplace performance.
A study in the journal Nutrients in 2018 reported that a diet lacking proper nutrients can lead to various mental health issues. Consuming too much sugar and not getting enough fresh fruit and vegetables can lead to anxiety, depression, and increased body weight.
One 2018 pilot study involving 35 employees found that increasing daily consumption of vegetables, beans, fruits, nuts, and seeds had a positive effect on work productivity. Participants in the study reported that they slept better, had a better quality of life, and experienced fewer depressive symptoms.
What are the best types of foods to consume if you want to perform better at your job? When it comes to dietary changes to boost mental wellbeing, nutritionists emphasise balance. This means enjoying healthy foods from the main food groups – carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats.
Unfortunately, carbs have gotten a bad rap when it comes to enjoying a healthy diet. Of course, simple carbs in the form of sugar, pastries, white bread, and processed foods are not a healthy, brain-boosting food choice.
The type of carbs you need to feed your brain are complex carbohydrates. These include whole grains, vegetables, legumes (peas and beans), and fibre-rich foods. These healthy foods fuel your brain and prevent blood sugar spikes after eating.
Because any type of carbohydrate is a source of energy, it’s important to remember portion size and to enjoy them in moderation.
A productive mind requires enough protein to function because protein produces chemicals in the brain that promote alertness and activity.
When it comes to consuming protein to boost your brain power, it’s good to remember that more isn’t always good. Most diets contain more than the recommended 3 small portions of protein every day. Also, some types of protein can contain unhealthy fats.
When choosing the best food to eat for better productivity, go for poultry, seafood, and lean meat. If you are a vegan or vegetarian, the lentils, chickpeas, quinoa are excellent protein sources that will help keep your mind active and fuelled throughout the workday.
Also, make sure that your healthy diet contains a number of different types of protein.
Believe it or not, you also need the right type of fats in your diet to help boost your brain function and keep it active. Your brain is made up of fatty acids and healthy fats are one of the most important nutrients for good mental health.
The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry reports that omega-3 fatty acids are important to help prevent mental disorders. Supplementing your diet with omega-3 or consuming oily fish can help prevent depression and increase mental performance. It is also important to ensure that omega-3 contains good levels of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid).
Other sources of unsaturated healthy fats to include in your diet include olive oils, nuts, seeds, and fish such as tuna, salmon, sardines or mackerel.
To keep your brain performing well, it is also important to avoid or limit saturated fats such as butter, cheese, port, fatty beef, processed meats, and poultry with skin.