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Fueling for peak performance

Category : Media Hub, Blog, News & Events

September 28, 2017

Supply the body and mind with nourishing foods that will fuel your body & mind for peak performance, enhanced creativity, sustained energy and to prevent the 3pm energy slump!



When we think about the factors that contribute to workplace performance, we rarely give much consideration to food. Usually food is seen simply as a fuel to get us through the day of emails, meeting and deadlines. But food has a direct impact on our cognitive performance and the type of food we eat can affect us in so many ways.  The poor decision at breakfast can derail the entire day ahead.


Most foods we eat (vegetables, fruits, grains) are converted to our body into glucose, which provides the energy our brain and muscles need to function and stay alert.


When we are running low on glucose, we start to find we experience low energy, our mind begins to drift make staying focused quite hard.


Not all foods are processed by our bodies the same way or at the same rate. Some foods like refined carbohydrates such as pasta, bread, cereal, soft drinks, release their glucose quite quickly, leading to a quick burst of energy, followed by a slump. Dragging our energy and moods down with it.


Others, like heavy and high fat meals like burgers, BLTs or hot chips, provide a little more sustained energy, but require our digestive system to work harder, reducing oxygen to the brain, making us groggy.


You probably notice this intuitively, yet we still make poor decisions when it comes to our meals. Usually this is because we are time poor, not prepared, or are already at our lowest point in energy when deciding what to eat so our cravings take over. 


Research in the British Journal of Health Psychology titled ’On carrots and curiosity: eating fruit and vegetables is associated with greater flourishing in daily life,’ indicated that eating fruits and vegetables throughout the day is incredibly beneficial for not only generally health and wellness, but for the functioning of the mind. It highlighted the extent to which foods affect our day-to-day experience and showed eating fruit and vegetables was related to greater self-reported curiosity and creativity. Participants who ate more than 7 serves of fruit and vegetable per day were happier, more engaged and more creative.


Therefore, when is comes to our daily fueling, we can adopt a diet that balances blood sugar for sustained energy, increases our happiness and creativity, supports digestion, and leads to overall peak performance and productivity.


Here are some tips to support peak performance:

1. Minimise refined sugar that causes energy highs and lows 

This includes minimising adding sugar to your tea or coffee, lollies, chocolate, biscuits, cakes, white bread, pasta, and surgery drinks.


2. Minimise processed wheat and carbohydrates that can cause you to feel sluggish 

These foods are very heavy for the body to digest which drains energy. Eating a high refined carbohydrate meal at lunch leads to that 3pm energy slump. Minimise or avoid white bread, rolls, pastas, pastries.


3. Increase complex carbohydrates - especially at breakfast time for great energy for the day ahead


Wholegrains such as rice, quinoa, and oats and other complex carbohydrates like lentils, beans, and vegetables provide a slow release of energy. A workable breakfast for increased energy, clarity of mind and focus is oat porridge. Take with nuts and seeds, honey and banana. Lunch should be cooked and contain a large portion of vegetables (1/2 plate), with a good quality carbohydrate and protein.


4. Increase good quality protein throughout the day - Protein keeps blood sugar stable for sustain energy


Swap your morning biscuits and cake for nuts and seeds. Snack on high protein dips such as hummus or avocado in the afternoon with rice crackers or vegetables sticks. Include lean meats or lentils, beans or tofu into meals throughout the day


5. Be prepared 


Prepare your own meals to take to work. This way you’ll always have something health ready to eat. Replace the lolly jar with a healthy alternative. Place a container of almonds and a selection of protein bars by your computer, near your line of vision. Bring a bag of fruit to the office on Mondays so that you have them available throughout the week. The trick to eating right is not learning to resist temptation, it’s making healthy eating the easiest possible option.



If you’re serious about achieving top workplace performance, making intelligent decisions about food is essential.



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Article written by Tegan Wallis | Ayurvedic Consultant at Veda Wellness

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