The corporate arena has always been a high-energy, high-stress environment, with professionals often reaching for the quickest energy fix to get them through tight deadlines. However, science suggests that a sustainable solution to maintaining high performance might be found not in those quick coffee shots but in mindful nutrition.
Brain Food: What Research Tells Us
Our dietary choices don’t just impact our waistline; they play a significant role in our cognitive abilities and mental stamina. A study published in the British Journal of Health Psychology found that young adults who consumed more fruits and vegetables reported feeling more curious, happier, and had higher levels of creativity.
Stable Energy for Stable Performance
The body’s primary energy source, glucose, fuels our brain. When we consume food, especially carbohydrates, they are broken down into glucose, which the brain uses for energy. However, not all foods release glucose at the same rate. Foods with a low glycemic index (like whole grains) release glucose slowly, providing a steady energy source, while high glycemic index foods (like sugary snacks) release glucose rapidly, leading to those all-too-familiar energy spikes and crashes. A study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition corroborates this, showing that children who consumed low glycemic index breakfasts had better cognitive performance.
Don’t Forget to Hydrate!
Hydration plays a critical role in cognitive performance. Even a slight drop in hydration can impact brain function. A study from the Journal of Nutrition showed that mild dehydration can lead to disruptions in mood and cognitive functioning, notably concentrating.
Incorporating Nutrition in the Workplace
Organizations striving for optimal performance should prioritize the nutritional well-being of their employees. Encouraging balanced meals, providing healthy snacking options, and emphasizing the importance of hydration can lead to increased productivity, enhanced focus, and overall better workplace morale.
The next time the temptation to reach for another coffee or a sugary snack strikes, consider opting for a nourishing alternative instead. Your cognitive function and overall performance might just see the benefits!
White, B. A., Horwath, C. C., & Conner, T. S. (2013). Many apples a day keep the blues away–Daily experiences of negative and positive affect and food consumption in young adults. British Journal of Health Psychology, 18(4), 782-798.
Ingwersen, J., Defeyter, M. A., Kennedy, D. O., Wesnes, K. A., & Scholey, A. B. (2007). A low glycaemic index breakfast cereal preferentially prevents children’s cognitive performance from declining throughout the morning. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 86(1), 115-121.
Armstrong, L. E., Ganio, M. S., Casa, D. J., Lee, E. C., McDermott, B. P., Klau, J. F., … & Lieberman, H. R. (2012). Mild dehydration affects mood in healthy young women. Journal of Nutrition, 142(2), 382-388.