Different workplace environments all have one thing in common, stress. Which is why it is easy to mindlessly eat at work, without paying attention to what is being consumed. Catherine Attfield, Head of Nutrition and Wellbeing at Artizian and Co-Founder of Nutrition Bites, explains how a nutritional diet can increase productivity at work.
One third of an average person’s life is spent in the workplace, which means two thirds of an average person’s meal intake, is consumed at work, where the focus on incorporating a health diet, is the least of priorities for a busy employee.
However, Catherine emphasises that: “if you’re serious about achieving sustained workplace performance, making an intelligent decision about food is essential,” and although it is no secret that what you eat will keep you going throughout the day, “simply knowing that, doesn’t mean behavioural change”.
Meals, snacks and drinks that only provide workers with temporary energy, will cause more harm than help. “Foods that are high fat meals (like burgers and chips, BLT sandwiches), provide more sustained energy, but are more difficult to digest, reducing oxygen levels to the brain and making [workers] feel groggy also, many believe that energy drinks cathechins keep them going, which they do not in the long run. Research has shown that energy drinks cause insomnia and nervousness. Not worth it when you know that such drinks only boost your performance by around 3%”, explained Catherine.
Employers can help improve the culture in workplace wellbeing, starting with encouraging their employees to include more nutrition in their diets, “one way to encourage employees to eat well at workplace is to educate, inform and inspire them”. By taking the lead and setting and giving examples of what is a good diet, will encourage employees to follow.
Examples of a nutritional diet consists of:
- Fruit & vegetables – which are full of vital nutrients that help produce dopamine, a neurotransmitter that plays an important role in the experience of motivation and engagement. Additionally, they provide antioxidants that help ameliorate inflammation, improve memory and enhance mood.
- Oily Fish – salmon, mackerel, herring are oily fish high in omega-3 important for brain health and mental performance. Low levels of Omega 3 are associated with poor memory and mental performance.
No ‘magic bullet’ to solving workplace wellbeing
Here, Catherine stresses wellbeing is increasingly becoming the responsibility of the corporates and how they look after their people, and organisations that ignore the importance of healthy eating in the workplace “do so at their peril”.