If anyone discovered the secret to constant, never-ending productivity, they could bottle it and retire early in life. Since there is no consistent cure for your lack of productivity, you must use more conventional means to improve your productivity levels. You could try listening to music or sectioning off a quiet corner in your office, but one of the best solutions for poor productivity is healthy eating.

Food and Cognitive Performance Are Inexplicably Linked

Everything in your body is connected in some way. Blood flows from your scalp to your fingertips to your toes, transporting energy. What you eat determines what enters your bloodstream, and your brain function is one of the most obvious exhibitors of your body’s health. When it’s healthy, you’re focused. The opposite happens for unhealthy eaters.

The majority of foods are broken down into glucose after they enter the body. Glucose is your blood sugar, the fuel that allows you to perform everyday actions. It gives you the energy to accomplish physical tasks and keeps your brain alert and focused.

The way we eat determines how much glucose flows through our blood, providing energy for the brain and body. Different foods produce a different amount of glucose in your bloodstream. Too much or too little glucose will leave you unfocused, with poor energy levels, and low brain performance.

If you eat a healthy diet, your glucose levels will level off, and you’ll be alert throughout the day. If you eat poorly, you’ll experience spurts of productivity and periods of struggling to stay alert and creative in your everyday tasks.

You see, when you eat something high in carbs and sugars (high on the glycemic index), like a gooey chocolate chip cookie, it will be broken down into glucose very quickly, entering the bloodstream at a rapid pace and providing a sudden burst of energy. But after about 30 minutes, your glucose levels will drop because the sugars and carbs were not enough to sustain a steady supply of glucose.

Eating something that’s low on the glycemic index, like oatmeal or a banana is much better because it will release glucose at a more steady rate. Rather than spiking and then crashing, you’ll have a steady flow of energy that will allow you to accomplish different tasks and stay focused. There’s no denying this link to your productivity.

Studies Show Healthy Eaters Are More Productive

If the scientific way that food enters your body isn’t enough, there have been countless studies on the effects of food and your productivity levels. The WHO reports that “adequate nutrition can raise your productivity levels by 20 percent on average.” You’ll be better able to focus and accomplish tasks when you’ve eaten properly.

A study published in the book Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength, written by influential psychologist Roy F. Baumeister, is a great illustration of this concept. Researchers told children to skip breakfast before coming to school. Half the children were randomly selected to eat a nutritious breakfast while at school and the rest were given nothing to eat.

The results were incredible. Those who had eaten breakfast had fewer behavioral problems and higher learning patterns than those who had not. When those who had not had breakfast were given a snack, their success improved as well.

We are just like those kids. Eating and eating right will be the key to our utter success or dismal failure in the workplace.

Eating Habits for Greater Cognitive Function

Those in search of higher productivity will do well to adopt some key habits. It may require some lifestyle changes, but you’ll be richly rewarded along the way.

  • Limit your processed foods. Junk food, cheap frozen dinners, and other packaged goods will give you a temporary spike in blood sugar, but you’ll crash hard and gain weight in the process. If you’re in a hurry, opt for a delicious organic frozen meal instead.
  • Eat the right foods. Berries, leafy greens, tomatoes, nuts and seeds, tuna, beef, dairy, whole grains, and green tea can do wonders for boosting your energy levels.
  • Eat breakfast every morning. As the study mentioned earlier points out, eating breakfast is key to high performance in the morning hours.
  • Drink plenty of water. Hydration is just as important as other nutrients while you’re trying to stay focused at work.
  • Limit drinking and quit tobacco. Too much of either of these substances can not only lead to serious health conditions, but also make it hard to focus at work.
  • Make healthier snacks readily available. Pre-pack healthy snacks like carrot sticks, apple slices, nuts, and other healthy options so you reach for one of these rather than for a processed alternative.

key to productivity is in your hands. Watch what you eat, and you’ll be amazed
at the results that follow in every aspect of your life.