Are your staff eating well? This thought has probably never crossed your mind and it might not worry you in the slightest what their daily intake is.
But what if their daily intake was affecting their abilities at work? Affecting their productivity, their concentration, their motivation, their stress and anxiety levels, and the amount of sick days they take. Would that make you curious as to what their diet consists of?
Nutrition plays a vital role in health and well being and in particular brain function.
UC clinical psychologist professor, Julia Rucklidge, has been studying the effects of nutrients on mental health for more than 10 years.
She says our diets are commonly calorie rich and nutrient poor, and we are often not getting the adequate amount of nutrients for our bodies and brains to function optimally. This is partly due to the high amount of processed foods on our shelves, marketing ploys and lack of education, but it also comes down to the decline of nutrients in our soils. If our soils are lacking nutrients so too are our fruits and vegetables.
Alongside the use of insecticides and pesticides etc, the demand for aesthetically pleasing fruits and vegetables and the need for increased shelf life play a huge part in this decline.
So what does this mean for you? Put simply, you need to up the intake of the right foods.
Unprocessed, fresh foods. Nutritionist and healthy living enthusiast, Bek Parry, sees time and again the impact of poor food choices in people’s daily lives.
She says the most common reason her clients come to her is because of low energy/vitality and is a firm believer in workplace wellness. After all the workplace is where most people spend the majority of their time.
“I think that makes perfect sense,” agrees Julia “eating well is definitely going to make a positive improvement for your staff not just in their mental health but in their physical health as well.
“If people are stressed in the workplace, to me a completely obvious thing to do would be to supplement with at least B vitamins,” she adds.
“We have done research on stress and nutrients and there is good evidence out there that additional supplementation of B vitamins does reduce stress in the workplace.”
Bek says offering workplace wellness sessions for employees is a great way for them to value their workplace and feel empowered and appreciated.
“In addition to getting different health professionals in to offer seminars for employees, I encourage workplaces/employers to ensure that the workplace is conducive to making and maintaining healthy choices, e.g. a big enough staff fridge for people to all store their lunch in and an environment where staff are encouraged and supported to take breaks away from their desks.”
Bek’s clients often revel in how a few minimal changes, such as upping their vegetable intake and spreading out protein consumption, has had such a major effect on their morale and has eradicated the afternoon slump, more commonly known as three-thirty-itus.
Julia’s years of studies and trials has highlighted the vital role nutrients play in improving people’s mental health, from earthquake victims dealing with stress and anxiety to those stuck in the dark hole of depression or battling with ADHD (to name just a few).
EAR HEALTH PROFESSIONAL EAR CARE ACC and WAR Pension Approved Christchurch Clinic: 275 Riccarton Road For appointments Ph: 03 348 8716 Ashburton Clinic: 206 Cameron Street For appointments Ph: 03 307 1459 Rest home and private home visits are available by arrangement www.earhealth.co.nz Her team have proven nutrition cannot be overlooked and can help with a broad range of symptoms in many cases, but she is quick to reiterate it is not a standalone cure to all.
If you want the best out of your life and the best for your employees and team members, your diet is a good place to start. So I’ll ask you again, are your staff eating well?
By Natalia Rietveld