Healthy eating and productivity go hand in hand.
I myself have literally experienced it in my flesh. As a child, I ate a lot of carbohydrates. Besides, I didn't care about almost everything, I didn't have many initiatives, I didn't know what I wanted to do and I wasn't even very interested in one of the things that I'm passionate about today: travel and writing.
It was to change the habit, to eat well, to feed my body with food instead of sweets and little by little my life changed.
I changed and I became someone who wants to do things, interested in travel, innovative, restless. Always looking for new challenges and eager to help others to change, just as I did.
Acquiring a healthy eating habit is crucial for your productivity, believe it or not.
Healthy eating and productivity
Study on healthy eating and productivity
If you follow a healthy diet you will have a much better chance of being productive.
In this study, it was found that those employees who ate better and healthier were much more productive than those who did not. Not only that, but they were also less likely to take time off work for health reasons.
The study was conducted by Brigham Young University, Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO), and the Center for Health Research at Healthways. For this, the behavior of 20,114 employees from three different companies distributed throughout the United States was analyzed.
Employees who followed unhealthy diets were 66% more likely to be unproductive than those who followed healthy diets. Additionally, those who rarely ate fruits and vegetables were 93% more likely to be much less productive at work than those who did.
The study concludes that employees with unhealthy diets were causing the greatest productivity losses at work.
The researchers believe the study is one of the largest efforts yet to demonstrate what "presenteeism" is, the idea of being present at work but not performing optimally.
Although we're going a bit off the topic of the diet here, saying that employees who only exercised occasionally were 50 percent more likely to be less productive compared to those who exercised regularly.
To finish, say that the loss of productivity due to health problems is 77%. I am sure that if you were the owner of a multinational you would think about changing the work environment and making it healthier, as well as promoting good eating habits among your employees.
And if you are an entrepreneur, then with more reasons. You probably have little time and hours of the day are missing. Since the days only have 24 hours, and that is immovable, try to improve your productivity through healthy eating, among other things.
How does an unhealthy diet influence productivity?
We all know that to lead a healthy lifestyle we must eat in a healthy way.
Eating in a healthy way is automatically associated with losing weight and being healthy. What is true that we do not relate, or very few people do, is healthy eating with productivity.
Numerous scientific investigations confirm that the foods we consume today can affect our health and longevity. Especially the foods that make up the modern diet, which is full of processed foods that generally lack essential nutrients and negatively influence our health.
Consequences of an unhealthy diet
The modern diet is made up of processed foods. These lead us to the development of coronary disease, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and cancers among others. These diseases will have a negative impact on the quality of life. When the body feels bad, the mind does too and we simply don't function properly.
Chronic conditions will therefore cause a loss of productivity, both in your personal life and at work.
An unhealthy diet is not going to provide us with all the nutrients we need in our daily lives. Moreover, it will provide us with nutrients, to call them in some way, which will cause:
- We get tired much sooner, and therefore we will not be able to withstand the pace that our day-to-day demands of us.
- Our head does not work well, causing stress and increased risk of depression.
- We are much more irritable.
- Our vitality is down.
- We are unable to think clearly and work effectively.
Everything you eat affects the way your body works.
When you follow a healthy diet, your body processes nutrients in a way that maximizes them for optimal energy production.
In contrast, a diet based on empty calories does not provide us with the energy we need.
Another consequence of unhealthy nutrition is obesity, thanks in part to the excessive amounts of empty calories found in processed foods high in carbohydrates and fats. And this is closely related to productivity.
And you may be wondering what obesity has to do with productivity.
Well, first of all, several studies (study 1 and study 2) have shown that obesity is related to sleep disorders. The more obese, the worse you sleep. And the worse you sleep, the more likely you are to be obese.
Both can cause fatigue throughout the day, which obviously affects energy levels and productivity.
Overweight and obesity
In this study, it was found that overweight and obesity are associated with absenteeism, disability pension, and decreased productivity at work. This reinforces the idea that promoting good eating habits among workers is very interesting for companies.
The way you hydrate can also have a big impact on your productivity. A study published in the journal Sports Medicine in 2014 found that dehydration could lead to poor planning skills. Don't forget to drink water throughout the day.
9 habits to have a healthy diet and thus be productive
Now let's get down to business with the purpose of the article. We want to be productive and for this, we must follow a healthy diet.
Follow the 9 habits that I present below and I am more than sure that your productivity will be multiplied exponentially.
1. Fill the energy tanks with suitable fuel
The quality of carbohydrates is very important. Complex carbohydrates, found in starchy vegetables and whole grains, are linked to a healthier weight and a lower risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Complex carbohydrates are difficult for the body to break down, which is good, since they are digested slowly, so the absorption of sugars also occurs slowly.
The increases in blood sugar and insulin levels are moderate enough that we do not store body fat.
In addition, these carbohydrates are good for the intestinal flora, as they help strengthen the immune system and reduce inflammation.
Lastly, most foods that contain complex carbohydrates are also high in fiber, which regulates blood sugar and helps you feel full.
On the other hand, refined carbohydrates, such as those found in white bread, juices, cookies, and chips, have the opposite effect. They raise blood sugar which causes insulin levels to skyrocket. They also produce substances that cause intestinal inflammation.
If you opt for refined carbohydrates, metabolic malfunction, high triglycerides, obesity, and other diseases that accompany it are almost guaranteed.
Obviously, your productivity will decrease. So better opt for complex carbohydrates.
Having a healthy diet does not mean eliminating carbohydrates but choosing the good ones.
Size does matter
This may sound a little funny, but I'm sorry to tell you that size does matter.
Imagine that it's time to have lunch at work. You have gone to the fridge and you have taken out the bucket of salad that your mother has prepared for you. You start eating and when you realize you have eaten almost 3/4 kilo of salad that added to the water and the fruits, has caused you to not be able to move.
Yes, you are eating healthy, but friend, you have eaten a lot of food. Your head is going to be more concerned with complaining about how bad you feel about eating than being productive at work.
Obviously, your productivity will be diminished after lunch. So you know, eat the salad, but make it a normal portion. That you follow a healthy diet does not mean that you have to eat until you explode.
Make sure you take a break for lunch
We know that lunchtime renews our energy levels. It also improves concentration and allows us to be more productive when we return to work.
A study of UK workers shows that only 34% take a lunch break. It also finds that more than half of workers, exactly 52%, skip it entirely.
Another survey conducted by Hays in Australia and New Zealand revealed that more than half of employees eat lunch at their desks instead of leaving the office.
Don't use lunch to finish pending things
You may be one of those who think that catching up on your emails or other tasks during lunch will help you get ahead. Instead, what will happen is that you will not rest. You will enter the vicious cycle of being constantly tired.
As a result, workers who skip lunch are more stressed and less productive than those who don't.
You know, relax and enjoy doing what you can't do while you work.
Eat healthily, read a book, hang out with a friend or partner, or exercise. Do what you want but forget about work.
We all know that to improve and maintain enviable health we have to exercise, follow a healthy diet, and rest.
The other element that is usually forgotten is hydration. Well, big mistake. Hydration is very important for both physical and mental performance.
Research on hydration and performance
This unit at the University of East London studies the positive effects of drinking water on cognitive performance, both in children and adults. After several investigations, they conclude that students who drink more water performed up to 10% more than those who did not drink water.
Our brains are made up of approximately 70% water while our bodies are around 50-75% water, depending on age and gender. It is therefore not surprising that not being well hydrated can affect both our attitude at work and our performance.
Other research has shown that even a reduction in hydration levels of as little as 2% of body weight can negatively influence mood, fatigue, and alertness levels.
In other words, water also has a lot to do with productivity.
To ensure a decent daily intake of water:
• Start the day with two glasses of water. You can also drink on your way to work.
• Put a bottle of water in your work bag. This way you will be sure to drink throughout the day.
• Use the color of urine as an indicator of hydration. It must be transparent. The darker, the worse hydrated you will be.
• If you have a headache, feel tired or have any symptoms related to dehydration, start by drinking a glass of water.
For me, hydration is a fundamental part of a healthy lifestyle. And of course, a productive day.
Learn to control the food environment in your work
It is very likely that you spend many hours a week at work. For this reason, it is very important that you at least ensure that the environment is adequate. I mean adequate as far as nutrition is concerned.
The objective of companies is for their workers to be highly productive. Big companies spend billions of euros a year to get it. However, in many cases, they have not yet realized that they must start by changing the nutritional habits of their employees.
It is clear that the effects of unhealthy eating have an effect on the health and appearance of people. However, your diet also has consequences on individual productivity. And consequently on the profitability of the company.
In fact, in the study seen above, it was found that employees with unhealthy diets were 66% more likely to report lost productivity. It was concluded that the foods that were consumed influenced cognitive, energy, and resistance levels.
Stress, workload, deadlines, and lack of time cause nutritional choices to be made out of convenience.
5 actions to put into practice
With these five actions, your productivity will surely skyrocket.
• Always have healthy snacks on hand. Fruits, nuts, and yogurts are highly recommended options.
• Try to take at least half an hour in a place that relaxes you and makes you forget about work for a while.
• A bottle of water at your table cannot be missing. Recharge it a few times a day.
• Plan your lunches the night before. It does not matter if you take it prepared or buy it there, but the night before you should know what you are going to have for lunch.
• Have an emergency plan. Locate the bars or stores around your work where you can buy a healthy lunch in case you do not bring it prepared from home.
Eat consciously or mindfully
When you eat lunch, put the phone and possible distractions aside. Concentrate on what you're doing: eating.
Do not check your email, Whatsapp or Facebook. Take a deep breath, eat slowly and savor the delicious and healthy food you are having the pleasure of eating.
Enjoy the food, don't gobble it up.
Not only the quantity and composition of the food make you feel satisfied. So do the sensory aspects such as taste, aroma, texture, and color. If you gulp down your food in a second, you probably didn't even realize you ate. Very soon you will need to eat again.
Be kind and generous to yourself and forget about everything during meals. If you are going to be stressed or checking things on the phone, your productivity will continue to decrease after lunch. Concentrate and enjoy the food and there will be time to solve what comes after the break.
If you completely forget about work, you will feel more rested and refreshed. The productivity battery will be recharged. You have spent it from morning to noon and you have to recharge it for the second part of the day.
Don't ignore hunger
We want to eat healthily and be productive. I don't want you to get confused and think that to be productive you have to be skinny at all costs. Even if it leads to starvation.
It is not what I try to convey to you in this article. What I DO want to convey to you is that if you eat healthily, you will be better both physically and mentally. You will rest better, you will have more energy, you will be more positive, you will get sick less, in short, your productivity will be exponentially multiplied.
Eat healthily but don't ignore hunger.
When you're at work with a million things to do and no time for anything, it's easy to ignore hunger. I'm sure you could go most of the day without eating.
Do not consume sugar
Most people think that fat is to blame for all of today's diet-related ills.
This is not like this. The bad guy in the movie is the sugar. Don't demonize fat.
If you include sugars in your diet, you will probably have to fight hunger all day. Therefore you will eat more and worse. Your weight and health problems will increase. It will ultimately result in a loss of productivity.
In addition, I want you to know that the continuous consumption of sugar can lead to:
• Weight gain.
• Insulin resistance.
• Fatty liver.
• Pancreatic cancer.
• Chronic renal insufficiency.
• Arterial hypertension.
• Cardiovascular diseases.
• Appearance of caries.
Possible low blood sugar
In addition, right after taking products rich in sugar, you may experience an energy rush due to the spike in blood sugar that has occurred.
The problem is that when blood sugar levels rise, the pancreas secretes insulin to eliminate it. The sugar is pushed by insulin to the liver and muscles, which are probably already loaded with glycogen. This will cause this sugar to be transformed and stored as fat.
This would cause a decrease in blood sugar which will give us a drop.
Guess what your body is going to ask you for when this happens? Indeed, more sugar.
And what are you doing? Add more sugar.
What we feared ends up happening. You have entered a vicious circle from which you cannot get out.
If this happens one day, there are no major consequences. Probably you have not been very productive because you have been more aware of the fight against the binomial sugar - hunger. But you don't have to think about it anymore.
On the other hand, if this happens often, you have many chances that your weight is high. So will your body fat percentage.
And you know what happens when we don't have a healthy diet and our body is flawed. Yes, your productivity and performance are diminished.
Last food intake two hours before going to bed
This topic has caused a lot of controversy in recent times.
It has always been thought that at night is when you should eat less. We believe that the metabolism slows down, we burn fewer calories and the accumulation of fat is greater.
Instead, there are other experts who think that eating at night helps you lose weight and even sleep better.
The problem is that there is evidence for both situations.
There are studies that conclude that the nocturnal metabolic rate is equal to the daytime. On the other hand, there are other studies that link eating at night with weight gain.
What do I do?
If you have no choice but to eat at night and late, go ahead. Eat healthy, gently, and without overloading yourself too much.
Now, if you have the possibility, avoid it and eat something earlier. Please note this:
• Melatonin, a hormone that helps us regulate sleep, rises at night to indicate that it is time to sleep. It also reduces the function of different organs, such as those responsible for controlling glucose levels.
• Digestion will cause our body temperature to increase, delaying the onset of sleep. Keep in mind that the decrease in body temperature is another signal that helps us rest.
• If you suffer from gastroesophageal reflux it is a good idea to eat at least 2 hours before going to bed.
This is why you should not leave dinner until the last minute. They are small details that will improve the quality of your rest.
You know, if you rest better you will be much more productive.
If you eat a large meal late, you will not rest well, you will have to get up to drink water several times during the night and you will probably wake up the next day with indigestion. You will start the day off on the wrong foot, more worried about your stomach than what lies ahead at work.
You will probably choose not to eat breakfast and you will re-enter the vicious circle of poor nutrition and loss of productivity.
If you follow a healthy diet you are much more likely to be productive.
Not only will you be better physically. You are also going to find yourself unstoppable psychologically. Being physically and psychologically well will multiply your productivity exponentially.
I do not mean that if you do not eat well you will not be productive. I mean if you watch what you eat you are much more likely to be more productive.
Productivity is like sports, it can be trained, improved, and optimized from many aspects.
So don't forget:
• Eat food. Eliminate sugars. Eat sufficient amounts of fat and protein.
• Don't go overboard with sizes, even if the food is healthy.
• Totally forget about work during lunch. Get out of the office.
• Always have a bottle of water on hand.
• Plan the next day's meals the night before. Don't forget the fruits.
• When you eat, enjoy and be aware of what you are doing.
• Whenever you are hungry eat.
• Eliminate processed foods.
• Don't overload yourself just before you go to sleep.
I hope you liked it. I really enjoyed writing the article because I love helping people. Let's become aware that healthy eating and productivity go hand in hand.
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