On any given morning, you will see me walking into the office with 3 drinks. My morning 'green drink,' collagen laced coffee, and a huge bottle of lemon water. Needless to say, I take nutrition a bit serious. In my free time, I enjoy studying health & nutrition and geeking out to anyone who will listen. Today, I'm excited to geek out with you, but in a way that can benefit you in your professional life!
Our social feeds are flooded with articles that discuss productivity and the many ways to improve it. However, there is one key tip that is rarely mentioned.
We all know that our brain is responsible for learning, memory and cognitive tasks. But do you know our brain consumes 20% of our body's energy (aka calories from food)? Food has a direct impact on the brain's ability to do its job, therefore balanced nutrition is the key to boosting brainpower.
Ingredients from the food we eat can either help us focus and concentrate, or have a negative impact on our ability to perform. Unfortunately there is no middle ground. A great rule of thumb before consuming anything is to ask yourself,
"is this going to help and nourish my body or is it going to hurt it?"
Some foods, like bread, cereal, pasta, soda and most processed foods, release their glucose quickly. This leads to a quick boost in energy, but what follows is the dreaded slump. Alternatively, you can opt for a high fat meal (think cheeseburgers and BLTs) which does provide more sustained energy, but require our digestive system to work harder, reducing oxygen levels in the brain and in turn makes us groggy. Neither option is great. The good news is, those aren't the only two options.
Here are 3 easy tips to avoid those slumps and groggy afternoons:
1. Plan your meals! Either meal prep or decide on your lunch before you get hungry. If you need meal prep ideas, here is a great place to start. You will get great ideas and have a list of bloggers that have meal prep down to a science.
2. Minimize spikes and drops in insulin. Every thing and every time you eat, your insulin will rise. It is important to not eat too much at once, too often and choose low glycemic foods. Check your labels, sugar is hidden in everything! Try to aim for 8 grams of sugar, or less, per serving.
3. Make healthy snacking and meal options easier to achieve. Keep healthy snacks at home and at the office, find an accountability partner, or make a point to plan! When it comes to eating, fail to plan then plan to fail.
"No matter what your nutrition views are, when it comes to brain power and concentration it is all about nutrient-rich foods", says Teresa Boyce, Head Nutritionist at The Performance Clinic. "Processed carbohydrates and refined sugars will send your blood glucose and concentration levels on an unproductive roller coaster ride of highs and lows, instead fuel your body and brain with foods in their most natural state. To stabilize blood glucose levels, include quality protein and fats within each meal, don't over eat and always make nutrient rich vegetables the bulk of your meal."
If you’re serious about peak performance at work, making intelligent decisions about the food you eat is essential. Rather than thinking you must resist temptation, choose to make healthy eating the easiest possible option and your productivity will be at its best.
If you liked this article and want to learn more about ways you can get key nutrients into your diet, click here.
Feel free to reach out to us in regards to anything in this blog! We'd love to hear your thoughts and opinions below!