Foods and Drinks that Can Increase Your Productivity
What you eat and drink can have a profound effect on your health. This is something that your mother probably told you when you were small. But what you eat and drink can also effect how productive you are.
For people looking for an extra edge at work, diet can be a useful tool. With research and information about foods now more accessible than ever and with a variety of supplements widely available, there is no reason not to use diet as a way to increase your productivity.
Here are some ideas:
- Use breakfast to power up for the day. Coffee and donuts are a staple for millions of members of the work force. Sugar and caffeine are popular stimulants, but they can have side effects (especially for people with high blood sugar or high blood pressure) and there are other effective ways to get energy. Protein and carbohydrates can give a more natural sense of energy. Eggs get a bad rap because of their cholesterol, but a single egg, pouched or scrambled, is packed with protein. If eaten in moderation (one per weekday), they can be very useful. Pancakes and breads (toast, bagels, muffins) are popular sources of a.m. carbs. However, low fat options like oatmeal or cream of wheat are arguably healthier (they generally aren’t contain syrups or butter), and provide the same amount of carbs. Yogurt (low fat, if you want) is another good source of protein.
- Many people cite coffee as a major productivity enhancer. However, it can lead to poor health (blood pressure, acid stomach, etc) and often leads to an energy crash later in the day when the caffeine wears off. Fruit juices have necessary vitamins and natural sugars that can stimulate your mind as well as your body. Natural, 100% juice, options are best. Some fruit juices are made from concentrate and sweetened artificially. You can read the label to make sure your juice is pure. Some serious juice drinkers go as far as buying a juicer and making their own drinks out of whole, fresh fruits (and veggies like carrot too).
- Meatless foods are a good option for workers who want to avoid the bloated, tired feeling that comes with eating a heavy lunch. You don’t have to opt for tofu-based dishes (although that is a possibility, especially if there is a good East Asian eatery near where you work). Salads topped with hard-boiled eggs or avocados can help you fill up without feeling bloated. For more energy, try grains with complex carbohydrates. This mainly means whole grains like brown rice, barley or even breads made solely with whole wheat, rye or other similar non-processed grains.
- Almonds are a good choice for a snack. They have healthy oils and also contain two important brain boosting chemicals: phenylalanine and nutrientriboflavin. Both these help boost brain function and cognitive ability. Almonds and other nuts contain L-carnitine, a chemical that is stimulating to the brains neurons.
- What about that afternoon hunger that always seems to set in when you are doing something important? A bag of chips or a candy bar can help, but there are healthier options as well. Energy bars are a popular choice, but many do not taste very good and come with a high price tag (you could buy a week’s worth of Snickers for the price of one energy bar). Dried fruits (such as apricots, mangos or banana chips) are a convenient alternative. They are easy to carry and satisfy the hand-to-mouth habit that makes less healthy munchies so subconsciously attractive. Nuts (see above) are another healthy snack. Eating a light snack every hour or two during the day can help to keep your energy level high so that you can avoid the afternoon hunger pangs in the first place.