We’ve all heard the phrase, “you are what you eat.” Some of us come to find there is an indisputable degree of truth to this saying. Unfortunately, we often come to find it out the hard way. Not only does a diet of poor nutritional value take a toll on our physical condition and appearance, but it can also play a role in how well we function when we need it the most.
After performing the same data-entry office job for years, my work duties eventually became second nature to me. As I began to get caught up in the mundane routines of everyday life, my need to perform well at my job seemed to decrease. Moreover, I realized during this particular stage of my life that my physical shape was declining.
Even though I was well-aware of the reason for my lack of energy and motivation, I was too set in my dietary routines to consider them at first. It dawned on me that even though my ability to deliver satisfactory paperwork was still consistent, my attention span, energy levels, motivation, and stress levels were not where I wanted them to be.
Healthy Food Equals a Healthy Mind
With the short 45-minute lunch break that I routinely took during my workdays, it was convenient to walk around the block for a burger. On days when I decided not to do this, I would usually skip lunch altogether. In retrospect, neither of these made me feel better.
My initial changes in my diet were solely for the sake of losing weight. Packing containers of fruits and nuts for my lunches at work seemed to be the most practical solution. I noticed changes in my ability to complete paperwork more quickly and focus on assignments individually. Aside from an apparent spike in my workplace productivity, I felt significantly happier and more energetic as well.
While this might sound like a very simple diet, these two essential food groups are full of nutrients that improve cognitive functions. Calcium, magnesium, and B vitamins all support healthy mental function and blood flow to the brain. Nuts of any variety are packed with protein and healthy fats (depending on what you buy), both of which are good for energy levels and weight loss.
Don’t Just Eat Right During Your Lunch Break
When we consume foods that are high in carbs, sodium, and saturated fats, it isn’t uncommon to feel bloated, sleepy, and inattentive to job duties in the late afternoon. This concept isn’t just true for lunch; the same principle can be applied to any meal before, during, or after your shift.
Sacrificing nutrition for convenience and taste will gradually take its toll on your body and mind if you only consume junk food. Maintaining a reasonable diet throughout the day is just one of several methods for boosting brain function.
Filling up on simple carbs (refined sugar, white bread, starches, etc.) may induce a short boost in energy levels. However, this is short-lived since your body absorbs glucose more quickly. In turn, this raises triglyceride levels and causes a “crash.” In other words, your metabolism slows down and makes it harder to perform optimally at your job.
Sadly, simple carbs hide in foods suited for every meal, including snacks. Besides additional sugar, these are usually filled with high levels of unhealthy sodium and fats as well. These both have the potential to cause health complications and sluggishness when consumed in excess. To maintain your energy levels and mental capacity, make positive dietary changes applicable to all hours of the day.
What About Supplements?
Personally, I feel more gratification from getting my daily dose of vitamins and minerals through the foods that I eat. The body absorbs and utilizes nutrients more efficiently this way, plus you get to experience the joy of eating. While multivitamins are not a replacement for a nutritious diet, they do provide a slight buffer for vitamin deficiencies that may occur.
Relying on multivitamins alone to boost your mental function won’t work. These will not provide you with the calories that you need to stay productive and energetic at work, nor will your body take its time utilizing the nutrients.
It might seem uncanny to think about at first, but switching to a healthy diet will yield some undeniable results regarding work performance. If you eat well, your brain and body will function well also.
Who knows? Choosing a spinach salad over a cheeseburger or berries over cookie may be the key to earning that promotion!