Just the mention of the word ‘food’ always grabs our attention – and we all know what healthy eating is, right? But have you ever considered what food you need to fuel your job and the ‘type' of worker you are?
We headed to London-based healthy food-to-go restaurant chain, pod, to discover the results from their latest research, ‘The pod-uctivity report’ in collaboration with food expert and nutritionist Helen Money.
The study explores the body's functions and the chemical reactions we receive from the food we eat. Without the right chemicals (nutrient deficiency), some reactions will appear to be slower, preventing us to perform to the best of our ability.
So, what does this look like? Examining four different types of workers, pod and Money, reveal the food and diet plan you need to drive productivity and performance.
The types of workers and suggested foods are:
- The ‘Creatives’ (e.g. those working in marketing, advertising, PR, journalism, City traders)
Dietary action: Fruit and vegetables found to increase creativity. Porridge, fruit and seeds make a great breakfast to fuel the brain through the morning, while carbs are reduced in the evening to aid a good night’s sleep.
- The ‘Office Angels’ (e.g. those working in admin, support and assistant roles)
Dietary action: High in protein plus slow release carbohydrates through the day for energy. Packed with iron rich foods to help avoid fatigue.
- The ‘High Flyers’ (e.g. investment bankers, analysts lawyers, accountants and IT specialists)
Dietary action: Omega 3 rich fish, antioxidants and B vitamins plus protein for satiety and slow release carbohydrates little and often through the day to sustain energy – great for brain and stress busting.
- The ‘Key Workers’ (e.g. emergency workers, nurses, doctors, teachers and taxi drivers)
Dietary action: Nuts, seeds, green leafy vegetables and whole grains to support the nervous system; turkey, eggs and mushrooms to help lower anxiety; and live yogurt to maintain a healthy gut bacteria balance. Fast-release carbohydrates should be avoided.
Fruit and veg make you more creative
Money referenced a couple of studies at the event. The first study, the Conner et al, published in the British Journal of Health Psychology, found that the more fruit and vegetables that people consumed, the happier, more engaged and creative they were.
405 participants kept food and mood diaries for 13 days, and those with a higher fruit and vegetable intake reported a greater feeling of creativity compared to participants with a lower intake.
In the second study by the World Health Organisation found that adequate nutrition can raise national productivity by 20% .
Food: a worthwhile investment
"When you buy food, you should want nutrition in return,” urged Money. In the fast-paced world we live in, it's too easy to reach for the carb-loaded option, often mistaking fullness for nourishment.
She argued that the quick-win meal deals on the market 'packed with white bread and pasta' aren’t always the best solution eiher; leaving us with that ‘2pm feeling’ and 'unsatisfied'.
“Good food increases productivity” was Money's key message. It's time to rethink our fuel and what we're eating everyday if we want to maximise on productivity and perform to the best of our abilities.
See the report below to gain a deeper insight; including snacking tips and a recommended diet plan for the type of worker you are:
Should we start thinking about food as the fuel for our success? Maybe it’s time to keep a food and mood diary ourselves.
About Helen Money
Presenting these findings was nutritionist, Helen Money; an ex-fund manager and City worker before taking a change in direction to study Human Nutrition at University of Westminster.
Reflecting on her own personal experience, she understands how work-life balance can put huge amounts of stress on your health and wellbeing.
She’s passionate about sharing her knowledge on all things food, and how tailoring a diet plan for the type of worker you are can really leverage your creativity, brain-power and performance.