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Work Mode with Brown Uzuokwu: What Has Food Got to Do with Career Success?



dreamstime_m_29654716Some career paths have forced a lot a lot of people to imbibe healthy eating habits in order to maintain a marketable body mass and shape. For instance, people that venture into Modelling, Entertainment and Sports, already knows that food choices ultimately influences their career success.

However, those of us in the blue-collar or corporate industry, we rarely associate our food with workplace productivity. This is despite the fact that we know that, what we eat has a significant impact on our performance. What you had for breakfast can make a meaningful difference in your cognitive performance, energy, levels and critical decision-making ability.

A lot of young career persons skip their breakfast especially those of them working in Lagos State due to a couple of reasons. That might seem convenient or it might even score some economic points. But if truth be told, we are short-changing our peak performance with whatever it is, is the reason behind our skipping breakfast, which happens to be the most important meal.

A good breakfast empowers you to get the most out of your day, stay present and be mentally alert through long meetings and stressful situations. Public presentations, customer interactions and tense negotiations require maximum concentration and mental power. According to scientific studies, food helps to power electrical impulses for learning, memory and other cognitive tasks.

Using Lagos State as a case study, a greater percentage of the working class, especially the ones working in the private sector do not have the luxury of eating proper breakfast before leaving for work. In fact, considering the time when most of them get ready for work, it will be immoral to be asking for breakfast at that time. I mean, who eats breakfast at 4:00am?

As a result, the ones that insists on having something for breakfast will have to make do with grabbing something on the way viz a viz Gala and Lacasera (saving Nigeria since 1962), Fries, Fast-foods and a whole lot of junk. The other side of this development is that, diets filled with energy drinks, fast foods and sugar negatively affects your mood, learning and memory.

Nutrition Experts advice that we eat more of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds especially in the morning. It has been proven to help in enhancing concentration and outlook. Now what does this mean to an average young career person in Nigeria? Are you telling them to eat cashew nut or groundnut for breakfast because that is the nuts we are familiar with here. What vegetable? What seed? Like seriously, fruits for breakfast? These and much more are questions that might be popping up in your head right now. Don’t be discouraged.

Personally, I am not even a religious adherent to the nut and seed thing for breakfast, but I still manage to ensure that I eat properly in the morning and avoid unhealthy snacks. I encourage you to embrace the recommendations from the experts if you can afford to. But if you can’t, it shouldn’t deter you from eating well and healthy especially in the morning.

Staying alert on an empty stomach is difficult. So it is imperative you eat breakfast. Then if you are seeking an edge to achieve maximum performance, then intelligent food choices are key. To function at our highest potential, our mind needs nutrient-rich and low glycemic foods. Aside from breakfast, we can still afford to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables for lunch. Healthy snaking including fruit, nuts, seeds, and vegetables helps to maintain our body glucose at an optimum level.

Our brains relies on glucose as its primary fuel, according to various studies on glucose enhancement of human memory. Increased circulation of blood glucose can actually facilitate cognitive functioning.

Some career persons miss the signs and take healthy eating for granted because skipping meals have become a norm. Considering the prevalent stress level in this country and coupled with the fact that most of the jobs in this country come with long working hours and a large amount of responsibility and pressure, placing someone prone to anxiety due to lack of healthy eating habits is a sure way to sabotage peak performance.

There is an obvious link between healthy eating and career success. I encourage employees and employers as well to make their health and nutritional choices a priority in the workplace, in turn maximum productivity will be attained.

Employers should encourage their employees to refuel with a snack and take time to eat a healthy lunch. Enough of the donuts and pizzas we grab at lunch hours; instead, foods that contain plenty vegetables, fruits and nuts should be encouraged.

This will not only help you be in shape physically, but it will improve your overall health and mental well-being. When this is achieved, you will be in a better position to help your organization improve their bottom line while advancing your career in the process.
Have a great day and stay productive.

Photo Credit: Photographerlondon |

Brown Uzoukwu Educates and Inspires Young Professionals to Pursue their Dream Careers and Thrive in a Challenging and Positive Work Environment. He Provides Training and Coaching solutions for Schools, Small and Medium Organizations, Youth Forums and Individual Professionals. E-mail: [email protected] Phone: +234 (0)813 3514 781



    August 22, 2016 at 8:28 am

    When ever I have breakfast, I will be in the toilet ? all day, just like now am already in the toilet pushing out, what’s the need of breakfast if I know am gonna push it out within 2hrs? My body system is NOT used to breakfast atall. Who Breakfast Epp??? GREETINGS FROM TOILET AFTER THE BREAKFAST?

    • Anon

      August 22, 2016 at 9:28 am

      You have IBS, only that you don’t know it. Get checked.

    • Anon

      August 22, 2016 at 9:30 am

      Or coeliac disease. Which ever one, go and get checked.

  2. Spunky

    August 22, 2016 at 9:24 am

    Few slices of toast or sandwich and one boiled egg, one mug of tea or coffee and one bottle water will save you the inconvenience of skipping breakfast. Just wish you don’t have colleagues who dip their fingers into your food flask(every time)! Side eye @ Zino…lol!


    August 22, 2016 at 9:44 am

    @Spunky? who are you biko?

  4. Hordunayor

    August 22, 2016 at 10:04 am

    Uzu, this write up is very apt, i live & work in Lagos, i am guilty & i can so relate with it.

  5. Tosin

    August 22, 2016 at 10:21 am

    obvious gal says:
    1. food costs money.
    2. eating regularly and well sets you up for success.
    3. everybody should have food, at the very least, career or no career.

  6. Johnspeak Uwangue

    August 22, 2016 at 10:51 am

    For me, I work from home and seldomly go out except to meet with clients, shop, or attend an event. I hardly remember to take breakfast and sometimes at noon is when it dawns on me that I haven’t taken anything.
    Wetin to pursue money go cause for this country ehn.

  7. Puzzles

    August 22, 2016 at 10:53 am

    Everybody is different.

    For me, i work better on empty stomach in the mornings untill noon when I take lunch. Breakfast makes me sleepy which isn’t good for me as I am in one meeting or the other in the mornings. The only good part is if I am so busy I have to eat lunch late, breakfast keeps me from feeling hungry.

    Perhaps it’s because I had the habit of skipping breakfast when I was in the uni to get a front seat in the lecture hall. I also wrote exams with empty stomach even if the exam is scheduled for evening as I really think better with an empty stomach and I had the habit of looking for the closest toilet if I eat before the exam (yeah, exam stress can purge somebody)

    • Cub

      August 22, 2016 at 3:51 pm

      We just may be sisters. you spoke my mind…

  8. Ninny

    August 22, 2016 at 11:19 am

    Breakfast gets me sleepy at work…

  9. MIA

    August 22, 2016 at 11:46 am

    Please what do you all eat? You can eat 1 boiled egg and banana…. Its just something to break your fast….. I cant see myself sleeping after breakfast because it is a light healthy meal.

  10. Xoxo

    August 22, 2016 at 12:38 pm

    Actually @MIA breakfast should be the largest meal of the day and dinner the lightest. But in this part of the world reverse is the case. I’m not really a breakfast person cos it honestly makes me sluggish and inactive. I only eat breakfast on days I chill at home such as Saturday’s or when I’m on holiday and have no where to go in the morning. Back in school I used to go to the exam hall and lecture hall on an empty stomach it used to freak my mum out (meanwhile she hardly eats breakfast too). I need to start eating breakfast regularly tho, so my future kids don’t develop the attitude of not eating breakfast. Thanks for this article.


    August 22, 2016 at 12:43 pm

    nice one

  12. Lala

    August 22, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    I am seriously constipated and don’t know what to do to sort this out. If I was in Nigeria, I would get kpokpogari, some people call it tapoca- I don’t know where to get it London. I can’t take most laxarives because I’m preggy. I hardly eat, as my stomach is over bloated. Bellanaijarians, any worthwhile suggestions? I have had so much fruits and veggies and I am drinking water so much, yet, not going to toilet properly. I read that constipation affects some pregnant ladies? Anyone ever experienced similar stuff? What did you do?

    • Lala

      August 22, 2016 at 2:27 pm

      Biko, you’ll help a sister out!

    • Wana

      August 22, 2016 at 2:46 pm

      I had a surgery in the beginning of the year that put me in an immobile state and part of the side effects of the pain killers was constipation. So, I was constipated for about a week and when the laxatives were not working, the last option was ENEMA… It worked crazily.

      So, I think you should go to a hospital/clinic and ask for Enema.

    • Lala

      August 22, 2016 at 2:51 pm

      @Wana, thanks. I just read bout an enema, is it safe whilst one is pregnant?

    • tunmi

      August 22, 2016 at 3:46 pm

      Prune juice

    • Eziokwu!

      August 25, 2016 at 7:53 pm

      I don’t know if you’ll get to see this, but Meta-mucil (psyllium fibre) capsules is safe in pregnancy, and is very effective for constipation which pregnancy predisposes you too. It’s available in pharmacies.

      Bella Naija, I suggest you work on a feedback system, that alerts commenters (with valid emails) when they get replies to their comments, instead of always having to refresh a page to check for replies.

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