With a fresh New Year now unfurling, it’s a great time to re-think and perhaps re-set some old habits to optimise your health and wellbeing. Maybe 2022 is about changing how and where you work. As forecasters predict worldwide, the way we work has changed forever and the conventional commute will never return to pre pandemic levels.
Working from home has created some unhealthy patterns for many of us. Long hours, few breaks, a lack of mobility and too much snacking. Does that sound familiar? The link between productivity, wellness and nutrition is now indisputable. What we consume fundamentally affects how we perform - whether at work or in our daily lives.
And on this topic, let us introduce one of our members at The Loft in Queen’s Park: POW Food. This innovative wellbeing business was set up by a fabulous mother and daughter team, Ali and Emily Warburton. They are dedicated to helping business owners support their teams with nutritious and nurturing food. The duo recently featured in our Local Heroes campaign - you can read more about their story here.
According to POW, investing in good food for your business team is an ideal way to help create happier people, enhance output and ultimately business success. POW have put this at the heart of their business mission and their delivery meals are designed by nutritionists to help improve mental and physical performance. Meal ingredients are rich in vitamins and minerals with antiviral properties that support good gut health and are easy to digest.
We caught up with POW’s nutritional team for top tips to enhance productivity at work.
Tip Number One? Take a lunch break and encourage your team to do so too! Working long hours with no breaks and without moving from your desk will only lead to stagnation and burnout. Many employees feel guilty for taking a lunch break even though they both deserve and need one. Create a business culture that makes regular breaks an essential part of effective and productive team working and remember - this rule applies to everyone in the business including the CEOs - leading by example!
The brain only comprises 2% of an adult’s weight but it uses 20% of the energy produced by the body. This means that everything you eat contributes to how well your brain functions. By eating or providing your team with healthy food, you’re ensuring the delivery of nutrients and vitamins needed to perform well at work. According to Allwork, workplaces that don’t support their team’s wellness reduce productivity by 17.5%.
The food you eat, or don’t eat can affect your energy levels and ability to focus. Food sensitivities can slow you down, make you feel ‘foggy’ and fatigued. Removing gluten, reducing dairy, avoiding fried or browned foods as well as aspartame sweeteners, sugary foods and alcohol helps reduce the inflammation that causes sluggishness.
Foods to include for energy in your day include ginger, dark chocolate/raw cocoa, pumpkin seeds, turmeric, avocado, purified fish oil, low mercury oily fish, walnuts, almonds, blueberries, blackcurrants, broccoli, sage and eggs.
Hydration is also vital to boost metabolism and reduce daytime fatigue. Dehydration can lead to headaches and decreased memory. A good rule of thumb is drinking half your body weight in ounces of water every day. So keep a water bottle with you throughout the day, drink soup and other liquid infused meals such as healthy cereals and porridge with plant based milk.
Herbal teas come with a wealth of health benefits as they boost immunity levels in many ways. Healthy teas to consider include peppermint (excellent for the digestive system), green tea for its calming effect and jasmine tea for energy.
Whilst reaching for crisps, chocolate, and highly-fatty, carbohydrate-saturated foods at work may be easy and tempting, there are a handful of key reasons why you should avoid them.
Firstly, they spike your blood sugar levels which gives you a burst of immediate energy but this is short-lived and is usually followed by a slump and then you’re back to square one. Whilst that post-noon slump is human nature to a large extent, it can be managed much better if you take care of what you eat. Healthy snacks that focus on whole foods offer much more consistent energy levels so you can stay motivated and productive for longer periods of time.
Roasted Chickpeas: These are an excellent snack for a number of reasons. They’re non-perishable and they contain most of the amino acids required by your body and a half cup of them contains roughly 5g of fibre and 10g of protein. All you need to do is drain and pat them dry, toss them in a bit of olive oil, sea salt and your seasoning of choice, then bake them at 180℃ for 40 minutes.
Dark Chocolate: As long as you choose a type of dark chocolate with 70-85% cocoa, this is a great snack to have at work. It contains very high amounts of natural antioxidants that boost immunity levels and it contains a small amount of caffeine so you can feel more alert and awake whilst avoiding that post-caffeine slump that comes with drinking coffee.
The POW team have created a superfood signature snack box designed to satisfy and support brain function and gut health. These include gluten and dairy free brownies and POW balls for natural energy made with oats, almond butter, coconut oil and dates then super boosted with Matcha, Cacao or goji berries and raspberry powder for natural energy.
Thanks to the POW team for helping us re-set our nutrition at work habits. Self care at work is clearly vital and healthy food with plenty of desk breaks in the day are clearly vital for our wellbeing and related productivity. Find out more about POW here.