Focus on Health and Wellbeing: The importance of good nutrition

Anna Mapson Nutritional Therapist

Bristol based Nutritional Therapist and founder of Goodness Me Nutrition, Anna Mapson shares her advice for wellbeing and peak performance at work

27 July 2017

Are you struggling to concentrate at work, or finding you don’t sleep well and feel tired and irritable? What you eat has a huge impact on your wellbeing, and performance at work. There is an ever growing body of research about the importance of gut health and links to our brain.

We all know that eating at our desk or ‘on the go’ is not good for us, but we still do it! If you exist on coffee and biscuits, grabbing a sandwich whilst answering emails it could be time to take a look at your diet to help bring your body back into balance.

We all face stress during our day to day living, with exposure to social media, and work emails almost non-stop, as well as more exposure to physical stressors like toxins and pesticides. So what can we do to support your body deal with stress? 

As a Naturopathic Nutritional Therapist (Dip CNM, BANT CNHC)  I look at a client’s whole picture of health, including emotional and mental wellbeing, family health history, presenting symptoms and of course your diet.

How can food help? To feel calm, resilient and focused at work your body needs to be well fuelled and all the systems working smoothly together. Finding time to rebalance your diet can often help when your body is strong and well-nourished you have capacity to work to the best of your abilities.

Here are my top tips for nutrition for peak performance at work:

  • Eat protein - Protein signals to the brain that we are full through hormones in the gut. These hormones work on the brain to reduce the desire for foods which give us a rush – those cakes, biscuits and snacks with the perfect sugar/fat/salt combination! Aim for a palm-sized portion of protein at breakfast and at each meal to reduce cravings for snacks.
  • Sleep – Getting a good night’s sleep improves not only concentration, but also your food choices for the following day. Eggs, bananas, turkey and chicken contain tryptophan which helps create our sleep hormone melatonin.
  • Control your blood sugar balance – reduce or remove sugary snacks from your diet – high sugar diets causes insulin resistance, and leads to chronic inflammation and weight gain. Blood sugar fluctuations also impact your quality of sleep
  • Reduce caffeine – whilst 1-2 cups of caffeinated drinks has shown some benefits for brain health and delaying Alzheimer’s lots of coffee and tea can affect your sleep because it amplifies cortisol production many hours after drinking, leaving you feeling awake and wired, or with light sleep. Stop drinking caffeine by 2pm to improve your sleep, and keep to 1-2 cups a day.
  • Try Green Tea – Although it does contain caffeine, green tea, especially matcha (a green powdered version) contains antioxidants, and also has an amino acid called L-theanine in which has anti-anxiety effects. The combination of caffeine and theanine has been shown to improve brain function.
  • Get your 7 a day – green leafy vegetables are rich in potassium, magnesium and iron – all which support a healthy immune system. We can all increase our vegetable intake - try taking cut up vegetable sticks into work with hummous or guacamole dip for a snack, or aim to eat 3 vegetables at lunch and 3 at dinner. Try smoothies, stir fries, adding extra veg to your curry and chillies to up your intake. Aim for 7 a day in total (5 portions of vegetables and 2 fruit) for women, and 9 a day (7 portions of vegetables and 2 fruit) for men.
  • Support your gut health – the bacteria inside our gut play an important role in our digestion, mental health (most of the serotonin, our ‘happy’ hormone, is produced in the gut) and weight management. If you haven’t got a happy gut then all the good things you’re putting into your body won’t get processed properly so it is really important to get this right. 
  • Magnesium – If you’re stressed magnesium will be depleted because making our stress hormones use up magnesium. Poor diet such as high intakes of fat and/or calcium (dairy) can intensify magnesium inadequacy. Try an Epsom Salt bath for a relaxing way to switch off.  
  • Healthy Fats - Our brain is made up of 60 per cent fat and to run efficiently we need Omega 3. A healthy brain needs a good source of fats. Eat the SMASH oily fish (Sardines, Mackerel, Anchovies, Salmon, Herring,), include coconut oil, and consider an Omega 3 supplement.

Ready to find out more? Get your free 15 minute consultation.

If you’d like to find out more about how I can help you feel energised and well nourished, using evidenced based nutrition recommendations please get in touch for a free 15 minute consultation to discuss your health goals and how nutritional therapy can help you.

I also provide work based wellbeing programmes and onsite talks and would be happy to discuss these further, get in touch on 07812 010412 or info@goodnessme-nutrition.com 

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