Five Food Groups Which Boost Your Productivity
Tuesday 04th Jun 2019
About the author: Dr Tom Little. PhD, MSc, BSc, rSEN, ASCS, Dip
Dr Tom Little is a wellness & performance specialist with over 20 years experience, mainly working in elite sport. He speaks at several national and international conferences and has been published extensively. Tom is the Founder of Colour-Fit & Head of Performance & Nutrition for Hero Wellbeing.
Your diet has a more direct impact on your work output and productivity levels than most people realise. Unhealthy lunch options tend to be cheaper and faster than healthy alternatives, making them seem like a better option in the middle of a busy workday, which is where our lunchtime decisions lead us astray. Faster food options feel efficient, but that 10 minutes of time saved at lunch can backfire with weaker performance the rest of the day. We’ve all experienced that post-lunch lull in energy, therefore it’s important to pay close attention to what you eat in a working day so you can stay on top form.
Poor dietary habits can lead to:
Is skipping lunch a good idea?
It’s true that digesting food involves the parasympathetic nervous system, which generally makes us feel more relaxed. Furthermore, carbohydrates can cause increases in sleep hormones like serotonin. Therefore, some may suggest it’s better to skip lunch to avoid that lull in energy. However, a thought-out lunch can definitely be beneficial to overall productivity and health. A well-balanced meal with carbs, proteins and healthy fats will reduce the resultant increases in insulin from carbs, meaning energy is released steadily throughout the day. Carbs are definitely not the enemy. They are critical for efficiently fuelling our muscles for activity, and our brain relies on glucose, the breakdown product of carbs, for energy. Evidence also suggests it is better to eat a higher proportion of calories during the day when we are active. We are more likely to burn the energy as fuel during the day and we are more sensitive to insulin, which is advantageous for weight management. Having a regular source of proteins will also help keep your metabolism high, and regularly providing nutrients, key to health, will help boost immunity and brain health.
Planning can really help to boost your productivity throughout the day. Packing your own nutritious meals to take into work can be helpful. Talk to your co-workers and bosses about ways you can create a more nutritionally savvy workplace. Collectively, think of interesting ways to bring nutritious foods into the workplace. Healthy snacks, salad and porridge stations are easy to set up and could improve morale, wellbeing and productivity. According to Perspectives in Public Health, workplace nutrition initiatives increase productivity so it’s a win/win to introduce such initiatives into the office.
Five key food groups that affect productivity
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