Employees and their employers are always on the lookout for new ways to increase productivity. Ergonomic physical therapists are called into the office to modify work stations. Industrial psychologists weigh in on employee morale and work environment. Perks and benefits are offered as incentives for a job well-done. But what about speaking to a nutritionist?
The World Health Organization (WHO) espouses adhering to an “adequate nutritional program” to raise a person’s productivity levels by an average of 20%. As ingested nutrients enter the brain via the bloodstream and directly power our thoughts and actions, it is important to select the right foods, drinks and activities that promote increased focus. Fueling our bodies is comparable to fueling a car; use higher-quality gasoline, and you’ll have much better performance for a longer duration of time.
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Consulting with a nutritionist can help employees select the dietary regimen and lifestyle necessary for gaining control over the release of brain fuel, glucose, to the bloodstream and brain, allowing them to remain at peak productivity levels throughout the workday. Here are eight nutritionist-approved tips for increasing your productivity in the office:
- Start your day off right
Studies have found that starting your day with a protein-filled breakfast boosts your metabolism, regulates your blood-sugar levels, and keeps you feeling fuller longer. Without those simple sugar crashes pleading for a refill all morning long, you’ll be more focused on your to-do list rather than your next snack break.
- Feed your brain the right stuff
Certain foods, such as fish, dark chocolate, nuts, seeds, avocado, whole grains, blueberries and raw carrots are considered brain foods. Namely, eating them increases concentration and cognitive processes, and they are recommended as part of a balanced productivity-inducing diet. Combine antioxidant rich foods, like berries, with oil-rich walnuts or avocados to keep your brain youthfully elastic and your cognitive juices flowing throughout the day.
- Skillfully schedule your meal times
A starving belly immediately reduces productivity levels. Schedule your meal times so that you never go hungry, adding in healthy, low-sugar (not junk food) snacks to prevent in-between meal lulls and cutting back on meal portion sizes to keep your waistline intact.
- Keep yourself hydrated
Drinking water is essential to your health and has been proven to promote emotional, physical and cognitive well-being. While you may need a few extra bathroom breaks, keeping a glass of water by your desk will keep you feeling fresher and better attuned to the task at hand.
- Don’t skip out on that cup of coffee
… within reason. Research indicates that the amino acids, antioxidants and caffeine found in coffee can help improve memory and enable increased focus by protecting prolonged computer users against the perils of eyelid spasm. This recommendation comes of course with disclaimer: consuming coffee in moderation can lead to the aforementioned benefits. Drinking too much coffee on a daily basis can cause over-alertness, jitteriness and cardiac problems, all which are direct productivity inhibitors.
- Boost your immune system by adding garlic to your favorite foods
A great way to remain productive is to stay healthy. Foods containing strong antibacterial and antiviral properties, such as garlic, can help ward off colds, infections and other stress-motivated illnesses and viruses.
- Moderation is key
A heavy, calorie-filled meal can make you sleepy, while too-light of a meal can leave your stomach grumbling and decrease information processing and reaction times. Balance your meals, incorporating all of the food groups and avoiding simple sugars, to keep your belly full and your thought processes sharp.
- Unwind after a long workday with a glass of red wine
Allow yourself to relax after a tough day on the job and ready yourself for the day to come with a glass of red wine. Studies show that a glass of red wine a day significantly improves blood flow, short-term memory, motor skills and inner calm. Rested and contented, you will find yourself more productive come 9:00 a.m. the following morning.
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