We all know this feeling, it’s 3 in the afternoon, we haven’t had lunch yet, and there are at least a dozen other things on our to-do list to take care of… so we say to ourselves “what the heck!” as we open the bag of chips (or the package of biscuits, or the box of waffles..) and we make another coffee. These situations can be very common, but this does not make them good for us. It turns out that how we eat in the office has an impact on our live- from work performance to mental and physical health.
To understand why it is important to eat healthy at work, in this issue of bTeller magazine we have invited the future clinical dietitian (current student)- Kristina Vavura, with her in-depth knowledge and experience.
In the past, most people’s work was associated with hard physical labour. However, today, many of us sit at a desk working 8 hours a day without any physical activity. This sedentary lifestyle is a consequence of many factors, one of which is the work environment that has prevailed in today’s world. For this reason, there are many foods and food products that focus on “quick, easy and tasty” options to save us the need to cook and think about food. The problem here is that these foods are high in calories and contribute to us eating much more than we realise we do.
Poor and unbalanced diet affects not only our health but our work performance as well since it negatively affects concentration and energy levels. Many scientific studies compare the productivity of people who eat healthy and balanced diets at work with those who do the exact opposite. I think you can guess the findings- employees who maintain a healthy lifestyle show much higher levels of productivity.
Food has a direct impact on our cognitive function. this is because our bodies covert almost everything we eat into glucose or, in other words, into energy that our brain uses to function properly. If the brain does not get enough glucose, one may lose his focus. We should all be aware that not all foods are converted to glucose at the same rate. For example, foods such as white pasta and pastries release glucose much quicker than wholegrain leading to a sudden surge of energy and then a sharp drop. Thus, it is good to focus on foods and meals that tend to release blood glucose slowly over time.
A recent study by the British Journal of Health Psychology shows that a balanced and healthy diet not only provides energy but it can also make us happier, more creative and more productive. This is due to many things but one of them is that fruits and vegetables (which should be part of any diet) contain nutrients (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants) that promote the production of dopamine, which plays a key role in our sense of happiness and motivation.
You will find tips to eating healthier at work as well as Kristina’ s recipes for quick, easy and tasty office lunch ideas in the upcoming issues of bTeller magazine.