8 Jun 2016, 10:14 — 6 min read
Most ambitious entrepreneurs and small business owners tend to work long hours and often late nights. The driving factor is success. Unfortunately, what most of them continuously ignore is the necessity of a regular and nutritious diet, mostly due to time restrictions, back-to-back meetings, client conferences and hectic business schedules. Consequently, such individuals end up skipping breakfast, avoid entire meals, and depend largely on packaged and processed food. Mindless snacking, replacing farm-fresh alternatives with oily, fried, greasy fast-food and consumption of aerated sugary drinks, and excessive caffeine and alcohol intake, eventually result in total health breakdown.
The inverted relationship between processed food and professional success
Processed and frozen foods are high in sodium, saturated fats, colorants, artificial flavours, chemicals and preservative contents, which may result in the risk of cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance, increase in LDL (bad) cholesterol, and generally spikes up fat accumulation, making you prone to fatal heart ailments.
Sugary drinks are full of added sugar or High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), which triggers a spike in energy, but essentially contains no nutrients. Typically, the consumption of this added sugar is not offset by an increase in physical activity to ‘burn’ this energy off. This disrupts our metabolism and sugary drinks are therefore one of the main reasons for the increase in global obesity rates, diabetes, cardio-vascular anomalies and even cancer.
Processed food typically excite our taste buds through the use of added salt, sugar, and unhealthy fats, which can literally lead to an addiction to such foods, causing you to overeat on them. And since most of us lead a dangerously sedentary lifestyle with substantially less physical exercise, this deadly combination leads us closer to obesity and at a higher risk of disease. Other symptoms include, increased irritability, lack of energy, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, increased level of stress and depression, and decreased productivity affecting professional and personal lives.
Understanding processed food labels is an essential tool for your future health!
How to excel at work with a proper diet
In this era of cut-throat competition, a little attention to your overall nutrition can make the difference in getting ahead.
1. Healthy snacking to avoid rapid spikes in your energy levels
While working long hours at office, fruits and vegetable slices serve as good snacking options, are easy to prepare and loaded with nutrients such as Vitamin A for strong eyesight, Vitamin B for energy, Vitamin C for immunity, and a host of other nutrients and minerals such as potassium, calcium, iron, and folic acid. Apples, melons, carrots and green pepper are great supplies for vitamins, anti-oxidants and important fibers. A homemade mix constituting of whole grain cereals, honey spread on wholegrain bread, dried fruits and nuts, variations of nut butter and even raw veggies could be some of the good alternatives to packaged oily food.
2. Soups and salads to avoid excessive weight gain
If you are preparing for a long day or week at the office, cooking a batch of healthy soup in advance for the weekend (such as vegetable and chicken soup), ensures you are having a nutritious and quick meal. Unlike packaged soups, homemade stocks help in boosting your immune system and do wonders to your digestion without the added salt and sugar. Using bone stock ensures a rich intake of calcium, magnesium, phosphorous and collagen. Green salads are great for weight-maintenance and weight-loss and are beneficial for a healthy cardio-vascular system.
3. Nourish your brain
While working late nights, your brain can become tired and fatigued, severely affecting your productivity. Coconut oil, pecans, almonds, dark leafy greens are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin E, and Vitamin B which are good nourishment for the brain. Increase your intake of mackerel, mussels, walnuts, salmon and fish extracts which are rich in essential fatty acids.
4. Say no to sugary drinks
When you have continuous long hours at office, feeling fatigued is quite normal. Unfortunately, however, the percentage of artificial sweetener content in the sugar sweetened drinks that some of us consume is extremely high, and can leave your body feeling even more fatigued. Instead, opt for water or prepare a smoothie. Both of these options here are quick and healthy alternatives.
A healthy body and mind are essential for keeping focus and maintaining perseverance. The key to professional success is the strength to power on, however early in our careers we can also suffer from burnout, which will largely set us back professionally. Ensuring proper nutrition with a focus on whole foods, and minimal intake on processed foods, and sugar sweetened drinks will ensure that you can maintain healthy eating habits while working.
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