Feeling sluggish by mid-afternoon? If you find yourself relying on lots of coffee during the day to keep you going, you aren’t alone. In fact, like most people who work on the fly or self-chained to our desks, eating can easily take a back seat. A healthy breakfast and lunch make a big impact on how our bodies and especially brains function and respond.
Think of your body as a high-performance engine. Engines need fuel to function, and when you supply the engine with top-tier fuel, you’ll receive better overall performance. When your body needs fuel, the healthier the food choice, the more reliable energy you’ll feel. Like a car that converts gas into movement, your body converts food to energy that feeds your muscles, organs, and especially your brain.
The Brain Connection
Experts have proven that food directly connects to cognitive function and performance. Poor food choices are known to bring on the classic mid-afternoon crash. The crash can happen earlier for those who rush out the door in the morning without something healthy and sustaining to eat.
While we’ve all heard that taking regular breaks, stretching muscles, and getting enough sleep contribute to better health and sustained energy, healthy eating is a huge part of the picture. Our bodies require a daily dose of proteins, minerals, fiber, healthy carbohydrates, and vitamins to stay in optimum condition, feeding our brains and keeping us more alert, energetic, imaginative, and able to solve more complex problems.
How Food Works
Our body converts almost everything we eat into glucose, which our brain needs to sustain energy. Not replenishing glucose leads to feeling unfocused with a compromised attention span. That’s why it’s harder to concentrate on an empty stomach.
Certain foods release their glucose more quickly, like bread, pasta, and cereal, which leads to the classic burst and slump. High-fat meals like hamburgers may contain protein but cause our digestive systems to work harder, reducing oxygen levels in the brain and leading to fatigue.
Tips For Eating Healthier
Balancing ore meals by mixing fresh, unprocessed foods into your daily diet can help combat the side effects of fast food, such as trading carbohydrates for more protein-rich foods. Here are some tips to keep you eating a healthier diet while working:
1.Keep a stash of natural and unprocessed snacks handy, in your desk or bag, such as nuts, granola, and especially fruits and vegetables. Studies indicate that people who consume more fruits and vegetables are happier, more creative, and engaged, as they help the body to produce dopamine and antioxidants.
2. Decide what you are eating before you get hungry so that you don’t make flash decisions that lead to convenient but unhealthy choices.
3. Cut down on caffeine intake and drink more water to avoid dehydration, headaches, irritability, and insomnia.
4. Take advantage of the kitchen and lounge facilities available at your workplace, such as Shift Workspaces, to store your food and take a break.
The bottom line is, don’t ignore your body when it tells you it’s hungry. Appease hunger with healthier food choices that will feed your brain and lead to better work performance and productivity.