Corporate Wellbeing: How to sustain mood and energy to maximise productivity and enjoyment of work (3 minute read for the time poor!)

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Ever feel like you are just bouncing from one coffee to another or skipping a meal due to back-to-back meetings? Completely common, but not ideal!

After working closely with many high-flying corporates who were often both time poor and stressed, I decided it was time for a Dietitian to help guide them towards the right brain fuel and behaviours to support their careers.

Energy

Fact: Our brilliant brain runs off glucose (sugar!) and with lack of it our attention, memory and concentration starts to falter rendering us unproductive. Craving chocolate from the vending machine for a rollercoaster high? We can do better than that!

Eating foods of a low glycaemic index will sustain energy and support alertness. Some of these foods include traditional oats, whole grains, fresh fruit, yoghurt, milk, legumes/lentils and sweet potato.

Eating regularly is imperative to cognitive performance – plan wisely. What about putting a piece of fruit next to your keyboard as a reminder to snack?

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Mood

If we are in a good mood at work we are motivated, diligent and communicate well with our team. Many hormones help regulate our mood and the exciting thing is this… food influences our hormones!

What is the “Gut Brain Axis” ?

Interestingly the gut and brain can communicate to each other through the vagus nerve, commonly known as the “gut brain axis”.

Gut to brain: Endocrine cells (hormone cells) in the gut can interact with nerve fibres that link to the brain through secretion of hormones such as serotonin.

Brain to gut: Stress increases intestinal permeability and modifies the gut-microbiota (bacteria) leading to conditions like irritable bowel syndrome. 

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Tryptophan

Tryptophan is an amino acid which is converted into two other hormones serotonin and melatonin.

Serotonin is our feel good hormone, with 95% of it being produced by the cells in our gut.

Foods high in tryptophan include bananas, legumes (including nuts), lentils and lean protein sources (meats such as chicken, ham, dairy).

 And what about melatonin? Well it’s our sleep inducing hormone! Good sleep contributes to a healthy mood too. Hot cup of milk to help you sleep? Now you know why.

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 Omega-3

Another vital nutrient that assists making brain chemicals, which assist with positive mood. And guess what? Our body cannot make Omega-3, we must eat it!

Deep sea fish (salmon, tuna, ocean trout, sardines) are our highest Omega-3 sources. Other seafoods such as octopus, mussels and prawns have smaller amounts. We can also obtain small amounts from plant foods like walnuts and flaxseeds.

So there you have it. Out with the copious amounts of coffee and kit kats, in with the sustaining carbs, foods to support healthy micro-biota, your faithful tryptophan rich bananas and salmon sashimi for lunch.

Interested in a workshop? Check out our Corporate Services here: http://bodyfusion.com.au/corporate-health/

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