"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well." -Virginia Woolf
Being successful is the culmination of many different types of efforts. There are the efforts to be efficient and plan the success of your business. There are the efforts to get traffic to your website and build your authority online. There is the effort to find the mentors that'll help you reach your potential, as well as the work you put into building a customer base that will drive regular sales and referral business.
And then there are the efforts to foster your personal well-being -- to get enough sleep and exercise, and to eat the right kinds of food. It turns out, we really are what we eat -- much more so than we'd like to admit. What we eat determines our energy levels, productivity, and focus. Over time, food will affect our overall brain health, heart health, and bone strength. Eating the right foods determines how successful you are and will be -- not just in business, but in your life long-term.
It's a lesson I had to learn the hard way when I realized I needed to lose the 40 pounds I'd put on working a sedentary office lifestyle, and it's one I'm excited to share with you today. Here are some key foods you'll want to eat that'll support you as you plan your life's success:
Food for the brain.
You might think of food as something you eat to satisfy your stomach, but a surprising amount of what you eat goes to power your brain. Although your brain represents less than 2 percent of your body weight, it consumes roughly 20 percent of your body's energy. Crazy, right? With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that the food you eat affects your brain and its ability to maintain focus and productivity.
Unfortunately, one thing that negatively impacts the brain is one of the most loved stimulants in America -- caffeine. Although many use caffeine to wake up and get mentally focused, overuse can cause anxiety, panic, or even trigger a manic episode. Your mental health will be far better off if you can find natural ways to stimulate your energy and productivity.
Choosing more complex carbohydrates over processed ones is one way to help your brain. Doing so reduces the sugar rush that can overwhelm your energy systems, while still helping your brain produce mood-enhancing serotonin. People who eat no carbohydrates are more likely to be tired and unmotivated to exercise (not to mention the fact that no-carb diets can also damage your bones). Instead, stick to whole fruits and vegetables, whole-grain bread, rice, sweet potatoes, and other slow-digested carbohydrates.
Omega-3 fatty acids are also vital for proper brain function. These acids, found in flaxseed, fatty fish, and nuts, help protect the brain against depression and help neurotransmitters function effectively. These healthy fats can also slash your risk of Alzheimer's disease by 39 percent.
Food for energy.
Getting off to a good start can mean the difference between a successful, productive day and a distracted, unproductive one. If you have too many distracted, unfocused days, it's easy to see how your success could be completely derailed. As a result, getting the right food to provide energy is essential.
The first step is to make breakfast a part of your morning routine. Too many highly-motivated (and busy!) people skip this meal, figuring they'll grab a snack later on when they have the chance. Unfortunately, by the time "later" arrives, you'll be too hungry to make a healthy decision (that danish in the break room looks pretty tasty when your brain is crying out for sugar). These choices cause energy spikes and crashes that can ruin your day.
Instead, start the day with a healthy breakfast that includes complex carbohydrates and a form of protein. Some great ideas include a whole-grain bagel with cheese, scrambled eggs with toast and fruit, oatmeal with raisins, or a boiled egg with toast. If the thought of a heavy breakfast first thing in the morning turns your stomach, try a fruit and vegetable protein shake (recipes here) that you can sip throughout the morning to provide sustained energy.
Keep the rest of your daily food high in fiber and nutrients, and you'll be able to keep that great energy going all day.
The importance of water.
What is your primary drink during the day? Would it change if you knew that your body is made up of between 55 and 75 percent water, depending on your gender and age? In fact, muscle tissue is on the high end, coming in at 75 percent water.
Having enough water is crucial to good health and successful functioning. Fluid loss is occurring constantly, from sweating, to breathing, to urinating, and more. Water is needed to replace those fluids and keep your body at its best. Water energizes your muscles, rejuvenates your skin, and ensures that your kidneys function properly.
You can get water from drinking it, of course, but high-water foods can also help if you don't care for the taste of plain drinking water. Foods such as cucumbers, radishes, tomatoes, watermelon, spinach, strawberries, and even carrots can help you stay hydrated.
Despite the fact that it's something few people address, food has a lot to do with our success. What we eat impacts our productivity, stress levels, and mood. The better you eat, the more you'll control your weight and health issues -- which can save you both time and money when it comes to medical needs. You'll not only live longer when you eat the right foods, you'll enjoy your living much more. And isn't enjoying life the whole point of being here?
Do you eat specific foods to enhance your success? Share your favorite dietary recommendations by leaving a comment below: