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How to eat your way to the top

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If you want to be a high achiever, it’s not just what you mentally digest which can help you get ahead, it’s what you physically digest as well.

A diet of chocolate biscuits and coffee will leave you tired and listless at the end of a working day. But if you eat up your complex carbohydrates and stock up on protein at lunchtime, you could be pleasantly surprised by the results.

Here are some top tips for eating a performance-boosting diet.

  • Eat breakfast. You may be in a hurry, but make sure you eat something early in the day. Ideal foods are high-fibre choices like whole grains and fruits anything which will give you energy and which you burn slowly in the course of the day.

  • Snack when it suits you. Eating between meals is not a bad thing it’s what you eat that counts. “Take fruit snacks or carrot sticks with you to work, and use these to keep hunger pangs at bay,” says Dr Peter Mills, medical director of workplace health consultancy Vielife. “If you let yourself get really hungry, you are more likely to overeat at meal times.”

  • Don’t overdo lunch. Taking a break at lunchtime is good but stuffing yourself in the canteen or at a business lunch will only slow you down later on. Stick to lighter foods, and have a good mix of protein, vegetables and salad. Go easy on the carbohydrates, which can make you feel sluggish.

  • Drink plenty of fluids. Dehydration dramatically impairs brain function but new research suggests that we don’t have to swig water to stop this from happening. Cups of tea are fine the key is to take on enough fluid. Go easy on caffeine-heavy coffee, however.

  • Avoid evening overload. Don’t undo all this good work by over-eating or drinking too much alcohol when you get home. Another light meal is all you should need, and try to eat early. Late, heavy dinners lead to disturbed sleep and exhaustion the following day.

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