Healthy food has a proven scientific link with productivity, yet most people have no idea their standard work routine is being affected by poor eating habits. Let’s look at the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of better eating for the workplace.
No one can be amazingly productive and totally involved in their work 24/7, as we all have good and bad days. Some days we jump right into our given tasks, feeling pumped and motivated, while other days we feel flat and totally out of sync with everything and everyone, and we just can’t get anything right.
If you fluctuate between ‘productive’ and ‘drained’ (like the great majority), then you’ve probably come to accept these peaks and dips in performance and focus are normal, yet there’s a high chance you’ve overlooked one major factor that plays a gigantic role in your daily workplace productivity.
You guessed it, your diet.
The WHO (World Health Organisation) reports that healthy food can raise your productivity levels by 20%, while numerous other peer-reviewed studies from around the globe have shown that eating unhealthy foods can cause up to a 66% loss in productivity in the workplace. Also, a plethora of dedicated medical and scientific research has repeatedly shown low fruit and vegetable intake is often directly associated with cognitive decline.
So, it’s more than likely that if you are having a continually bad time at work, making poor decisions, lacking concentration, procrastinating, or just not enjoying your daily routine, then poor dietary habits have somehow contributed.
Of course, there are numerous other factors that play important roles in productivity: motivation, mental state, co-worker grief, bad bosses, salary, etc, but ultimately it’s your diet that fuels your body and your brain, underlying all other aspects.
What also differs substantially between diet and every other contributing factor, is that diet is completely controllable. You can’t control Jeff from the mailroom dropping a fresh new load of reports on your desk and utterly ruining your day, but you can absolutely get a better handle on your mood, productivity, and overall wellbeing, by eating healthy food.
How Healthy Food Affects Your System.
What you eat determines what type of chemicals and nutrients enter your body, and also your brain’s performance. The main contributor here ‘brain-wise’ is glucose (blood sugar), as different foods provide vastly different levels of glucose, and if you eat too much or too little your energy levels and focus will be sporadic at best.
Eating healthy food allows your glucose to level out, in turn leaving you alert throughout the workday, while eating poorly does the exact opposite.
If you ingest something high in carbohydrates and sugars (high glycemic index), like a chocolate bar or soft-drink, it’ll be broken down into glucose, then enter your bloodstream at a rapid rate, giving you a sudden burst of energy. That energy will be short-lived, and usually no more than 30 minutes in duration, as these types of sugars and carbs don’t supply a steady stream of glucose. It’s one big temporary spike, then back down to that all-familiar lack of focus and sporadic productivity soon after.
On the other hand, eating healthy food (low glycemic index), like bananas or nuts, is a much smarter option. These foods release glucose at a much more sustained rate, and rather than spiking then burning out, you’ll receive a continual flow of energy that will allow you to stay focused and vastly more productive.
Healthy Food Habits For Better Productivity.
Here’s a quick guide to turning your productivity and all-around general health around quite quickly via healthy food. If you can implement these dot-points into your daily routine, chances are you will see a substantial change in your workplace productivity relatively quickly. If you can keep them going forever, you’ll also live a much longer and healthier life.
- Eat Breakfast Every Morning: Keep yourself fueled on rising, by preparing a healthy breakfast every morning before work. If you don’t eat breakfast, you start the day already disadvantaged, and a cognitive/productive crash is unavoidable.
- Eat the Right Healthy Foods: Leafy greens, berries, nuts and seeds, tomatoes, beef, tuna, salmon, whole grains, and antioxidant tea (green tea), can keep your energy and productivity consistent and non-fluctuating.
- Limit ALL Processed Foods: Junk food and high-glycemic trash (usually located on the outer aisles in any supermarket), such as white bread, candy, cakes, or pre-packaged meals will send you up and back down at a rapid rate. They’ll also put you in the grave much quicker – so stay away!
- Drink LOTS of Water: Hydration is just as important as eating healthy food, and the brain needs substantial amounts of water to function optimally. Try this: instead of continual coffee, sip cold water with a twist of lemon while you work. The difference in productivity is almost miraculous!
- Limit your Coffee, Tobacco and Alcohol: All three of these things offer temporary gains/happiness at best, and are not doing you any favours health or productivity-wise. Plus, tobacco and drinking are going to shave substantial years of your life – but you knew that, right?
- Prepare Small, Healthy, Snacks to Eat Throughout the Day: When you prepare your lunch, prepare a heap of small, healthy snacks too. This way you’ll never feel the need to eat junk, plus you’ll be fuelled properly, and continually, throughout the workday. Great snack options are carrot sticks, nuts, seeds, apple slices, avocado, whole grains, celery, and fruit/vegetable smoothies instead of coffee.
Does Your Workplace Need Help with Healthy Food Habits and Productivity?
It’s all well and good to talk/read about healthy eating, but are really going to carry out these changes long-term? The truth is, probably not. You are so used to your current routine that change is really tough.
Realistically, you might need a helping hand, and a little bit of tough love to get your new healthy food habits going.
The easy way to do this is to implement a wellness program. It’ll completely change your workplace, and boost productivity levels through the roof.
The majority of noted global employers have wellness programs for their staff, and according to the New York Times, there can be up to a 28% reduction in stress levels, a 20% improvement in sleep quality, and a 19% reduction in pain as a result of teaching wellness in the workplace.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to hit the health books, then make lengthy speeches or strike yoga poses in front of all your colleagues/employees on a daily basis – not at all.
The good news is there are highly skilled people/groups that can do this for you, and they don’t just do nutrition, many also cover exercise, relaxation and yoga – or meld all these elements into regular programs aimed at vastly improving happiness, health, and productivity across the board.
It’s simple, just type in ‘workplace wellness’ into Google, and find the professional that’s right for you. You’ll want someone with lots of experience, and lots of real testimonials that will come directly to your workplace and deliver something special, and lasting, to your people.
If you live in Melbourne Australia, one of the most effective, practised, and friendly practitioners of workplace wellness is Irina Riquelme, the brains – and welcoming smile – behind Fit&Delcious.
Fit&Delicious come to your workplace, and they have every aspect of wellness covered. Their range of services is the most extensive in the country, and their track record and repeat clientele speak for themselves.
If you’d like to instantly increase productivity and happiness in your workplace, get in contact with Fit&Delicious today by clicking HERE.