Your body was scientifically designed to use food as fuel to help it run optimally. Thousands of years ago, you used food purely for this reason; there were no preservatives, processed meals, and flavor-enhancing additives. But today, many people live to eat, choosing food based on taste and comforting abilities rather than its nutritional value.
But if you want to be successful, consider what you are eating: it is holding you back or helping to propel you forward? Understanding why healthy foods are crucial to your body’s performance – and therefore your success – is necessary to make good eating decisions.
Ready to be successful? Here’s how what you’re eating is – or isn’t – helping you achieve your goals.
Nutrition is a Need, Taste is a Want
It’s not that healthy foods don’t taste good. There are plenty of healthy foods that are bursting with delicious flavor. It’s just that when it comes to choosing our meals, we tend to prefer great heaping plates of comfort food, which is often greasy or contain added sugars. But those foods, while they may make you temporarily happy, may affect your health, happiness, and success in other ways.
Different types of food will energize you differently, providing either a quick and temporary boost or a long burn of fuel. If you’re looking to be productive in your day, making and meeting short-term and long-term goals, look to your diet and be sure it’s helping you do what you need to do.
Maintaining your physical health is necessary for achieving sustained energy and physical function each day. If you frequently indulge in heavy, nutritionally-minimal evening meals, you may find that you’re paying for it the next day with feelings of sluggishness and lack of energy.
To have the energy you need to stay active throughout the day, start with a healthy breakfast. Many people mistake being productive with being busy, so they skip this important meal. They may even replace it with coffee or a packaged snack that doesn’t contain the nutrients they need to wake up and go.
Enjoying your best possible physical health means avoiding the quick energy crashes that come with the sugar highs and the sluggish feeling from not eating balanced meals. Take the time to prepare a breakfast of protein like eggs and cheese and complex carbs full of whole grains. These will keep you full until lunch and give your body the fuel it requires to work optimally.
If you need to snack, try natural nuts and fruits. Focus on foods that are high in fiber and low in sugar and sodium. There are ways to combine both the flavor that makes eating pleasurable and the fuel you need to feel your best.
Have you ever noticed that your brain gets ultra-focused at times, letting you do what you need to do without being distracted? Then, other times it feels like there’s a fog going on in your mind and nothing you do can lift it so that you can focus?
When that fog hits, think about what you ate over the past 12 to 24 hours. Too much caffeine or sugar can cause this feeling. They can also cause abrupt mood changes, like anxiety and panic, for seemingly no reason.
You may be missing another vital component to your brain’s health – the Omega-3 fatty acids. Necessary for your brain to function optimally, Omega-3 acids are found in nuts and certain fish. They can mood-boosting properties, too.
You do need carbs to fuel your body. Natural sugars and caffeine can improve your focus and productivity, but it’s up to you to choose the right kind of fuel for the job: fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and carbs that don’t sit heavy on your stomach like rice and sweet potatoes are often ideal choices for lasting wellness and energy.
Overall Health Through Rest
Sleep is one of the most important aspects of overall health. You can eat perfectly, exercise correctly, and live a healthy lifestyle, but if you’re not resting, it can start to feel like your body is starting to fall apart from the inside out.
Sleep is necessary for your brain to regenerate damaged cells, repair any injuries from the day, and reallocate your short-term memories into long-term. It’s not an option; it’s a necessity.
If that restful night of sleep eludes you, try eating foods that are conducive to sleep. Walnuts and almonds, fatty fish, whole grains, complex carbs, and fruits are all recommended for those who suffer from sleep disorders.
Of course, staying away from caffeine and sugar after lunch will help, too. Drink decaffeinated herbal tea or warm milk to promote restful sleep. Your overall health, and therefore your success, will noticeably improve.
What You Eat Can Determine Your Success
It’s often mind-over-matter, of course. With enough persistence, you can power through a sugar crash or sluggishness caused by heavy foods. But why create resistance in the first place? Choose your meals and snacks wisely and let your body’s natural fuel work for you instead of against you. Success is within the reach of your dinner plate.