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I don’t know why this comes as a shock to so many people, but a healthy diet and work productivity are connected. It’s not just a small connection, either. They are directly related like a mother and her children.
You cannot separate the two. Sure, there’s the rare person that can do everything wrong with their diet and still seems to be productive at work. However, that rare person usually loses their productivity early in life by passing away of some disease in their 40s or 50s.
Most people need a healthy diet for work productivity. Without it, they are good for a few hours a day before crashing, usually after lunch. Diet and productivity are directly related and it shouldn’t be such a big surprise.
Productivity Comes from Fuel
Most things need fuel or power to operate. My computer doesn’t work if I don’t keep the battery charged or keep it plugged in. It won’t work without power. In fact, if my battery power gets too low, my computer will start shutting down systems it doesn’t need or isn’t using right now.
Our truck won’t run unless we give it the right fuel. If we were to give it the E85 gasoline it wouldn’t perform because it’s not made to take that kind of fuel. It’s a gasoline truck, so diesel wouldn’t work, either.
Your body is very much the same. It needs the right fuel. If you don’t feed it properly, over time, certain systems may start to shut down or not function as well. If you eat a western diet, chances are, you’re already putting so much stress on organs in your body they are starting to slow down, even if you’re only in your 20s or 30s.
Feed your body the right fuel, a healthy diet, and your work productivity will be far better.
It’s Not Just the Distractions Sabotaging Your Productivity
An article from the Harvard Business Review states, “When we think about the factors that contribute to workplace performance, we rarely give much consideration to food. For those of us battling to stay on top of emails, meetings, and deadlines, food is simply fuel.”
However, we don’t usually look at food as fuel, which is where we make the mistake. We crave specific foods and that’s what we reach for because we want pleasure in the flavor, not the nutrients it contains. Donuts, cakes and vending machine snacks are really not even food; they certainly aren’t fuel for your body.
How Bad Food Choices Kill Work Productivity
Before we get into the healthy diet aspect of the connection between a healthy diet and work productivity, let’s look at what happens when you make poor food choices.
We have all heard the common saying, “you are what you eat” and when you picture it, you’ll probably laugh, especially if you’ve been eating something funny looking. This saying is so very true and we just ignore most of the time.
If you eat sugar, carbs and other empty calories all day long, you’ll feel empty and lethargic. You are what you eat and foods with very little nutrition make you a big glob of goo.
Poor nutrition hurts your body and your productivity. If you make bad food choices, it can lead to some, if not all of the following:
- Low energy
- Lowered productivity/li>
- Higher stress levels
- Lack of mental focus
- Inability to perform at work
According to an article from Healthline.com (https://www.healthline.com/health/nutrition-and-productivity#physical-health3), poor nutrition causes more than just a decrease in energy levels. In fact, the article states, “You may find that you experience mild irritability when you eat processed foods. Over time, poor nutrition can increase your risk of depression and anxiety. If you already struggle with a mental health disorder, then you may experience worsening symptoms when you don’t eat well. Anxiety and depression can make it difficult to concentrate at work. In severe cases, it can make it difficult to even get out of bed in the morning.”
A study from the Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO) showed that, those eating a healthy meal and getting regular exercise not only performed better on the job, but also had a lower absenteeism.
Now, you know it’s serious when the Huffington Post gets involved. An article published on HuffingtonPost.com in 2012 stated that healthy eating and exercise are linked to workplace productivity.
The article used a study published in the Population Health Management journal as a source. This study showed that eating unhealthy foods increased the risk of productivity loss at work by 66% and rarely exercising causes an increased risk of low productivity, as well.
A Healthy Diet and Work Productivity are Truly Connected
Plenty of studies have proven it, but it should really be common sense in today’s world. We don’t work in the same physically demanding circumstances as past generations did, but productivity at work still matters just as much.
Eating a healthy diet is one of the best ways to increase productivity. If you’re the typical American worker, you probably eat a small breakfast consisting of a bowl of cereal or some type of sugary snack (pop-tart, breakfast bar, etc.) and you probably drink coffee or some other coffee-like beverage.
Then, for lunch, you probably eat fast food or at a sit down restaurant serving fried garbage. In between, you may graze on a few sugar and carb filled snacks from the vending machine. Of course, you likely have a list of excuses for your poor eating habits, too.
Breaking this cycle isn’t easy, but it will provide you with many benefits. Work productivity will increase when you switch to a healthy diet.
The best diet for productivity is a plant-based diet. If you know anything about me, you probably know I am a vegan. However, you don’t have to be a full on vegan to gain better productivity at work.
Go plant-based for 30 days and I promise you’ll see a difference; even if that means just cutting back on meat and dairy. Eliminating both is better, but you’ll see a massive productivity improvement simply by adding more plant foods to your diet.
A healthy diet and work productivity will always be connected in our world. Food is our fuel and you really are what you eat. When you give your body the nutrients it needs, it will start to fire on all cylinders.
The best part, the harm you’ve already caused your body by eating garbage for so many years can be healed! Start eating better today and you’ll start feeling better tomorrow!