man eating fruit while using laptop

You know how important eating right is for your body. But did you know it can affect your mind as well? According to the Mayo Clinic, a healthy diet can not only help you control your weight and lower your cholesterol, but it can also improve your concentration, alertness, problem-solving skills, and productivity.

What's the link between proper nutrition and increased productivity? One way to see it is in the numbers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately one-third of U.S. adults are statistically obese. Increasing obesity rates lead not only to increasing diabetes and heart disease, but also to increased costs in the workplace due to decreased productivity.

Another way to understand the link is to examine how improper nutrition affects your work day. The UCLA Health System reports that poor diet habits can lead to:

  • Increased fatigue
  • Decreased mental effectiveness
  • Increased irritability
  • Decreased energy levels
  • Decreased ability to think clearly
  • Decreased ability to perform your job effectively
  • Higher levels of stress and depression
  • Decreased productivity

How can you avoid these negative outcomes and ensure that your productivity stays high all day long? Try the following tips:

Eat a Healthy Breakfast
A productive workday begins before you leave home, with a nutritious wake-up meal. You need to start your day with your body fueled, but it's important that you use the right kind of fuel to ensure better concentration and a steady energy level throughout the morning. Don't fall back on a grab-and-go donut, which will hurt more than help. Instead, stick with the following food groups:

  • Fruits and vegetables. Fresh produce is best, but you can also try frozen. You can also have fruit and vegetable juice or smoothies without added sugar--make sure that the label says 100 percent juice.
  • Whole grains. These can be found in certain hot or cold cereals, crackers, rolls, or bagels. You can also try low-fat bran muffins or Melba toast.
  • Low-fat protein. Good examples for breakfast include hardboiled eggs, peanut butter, and lean meat.
  • Low-fat dairy. Try skim milk, low-fat yogurt, and low-fat cheese.

Don't Skip Meals
When you're busy at work, food may be the first thing to go--but it shouldn't be. Skipping meals is a false economy that will quickly lead to decreased energy and productivity. Without a regular supply of nutritious foods throughout the day, your body will not get the vitamins, minerals, and protein that it needs.

And you may think that skipping meals will help with your waistline, but it won't--the UCLA Health System notes that your body tends to compensate for the missing meals later, leading to muscles going down and fat going up, usually around the middle.

Pack Your Lunch
To avoid the temptations of skipping meals, hitting the vending machine, or joining co-workers for unhealthy fast food, pack your lunch to ensure that you have the types of food you need. Sandwiches on whole grain breads, pitas, or wraps are a good choice, with lean fillings like tuna, sliced eggs, or lean meats like turkey or chicken. Bring small containers of chopped veggies, almonds, granola bars, bananas, and apples for additional snacks during the day to keep your brain and body humming.

You know how important eating right is for your body. But did you know it can affect your mind as well? According to the Mayo Clinic, a healthy diet can not only help you control your weight and lower your cholesterol, but it can also improve your concentration, alertness, problem-solving skills, and productivity.