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Could gut health play a role in the health of your business?

By Sarah Grant | May 17, 2021

 

Scientists are now commonly referring to the gut as the body’s second ‘brain’.

There is emerging evidence that the environment of the gastro-intestinal tract has a profound and dramatic effect on mood, ability to concentrate and creativity.

During foetal growth, the gut develops from the same tissues as the central nervous system resulting in the gut and the brain sharing many similarities.

Have you ever considered what's going on in your gut?

Let’s talk about the microbiome.

These are the vast colonies of micro-organisms living in the gut.

Scientists have found that this ‘ecosystem’ within us aids more than digestion alone, and may play a major role in regulating mood, environmental adaptation, energy production and protecting us from developing chronic diseases including diabetes, IBS and mental illness.

If people's gut health is so instrumental to health, what can be done in the realm of workplace wellbeing to support it?

Accessibility to healthy, nutritious, microbe loving foods!

The good news is that what we eat plays an influential role in shaping the microbiome and there are some really simple ways to help support those small but powerful microbes.

Fibrous vegetables, legumes, fruits and nuts all help feed the gut bacteria encouraging the development or production of short chain fatty acids which nourish the gut lining.

Increasing the intake of fermented foods like sauerkraut, Kimchi and tempeh may be advantageous in giving gut flora a boost, as they contain species such as lactobacillus and bifidobacteria. 

Both fibre and fermented foods may also play a role in supporting good immune function, and reducing inflammation, which in turn allows microbes to flourish and diversity to increase. 

This could mean working to improve the type of meals, snacks and drinks that are accessible. We see many, highly motivated and health conscious people struggle to access the right types of meals, snacks and drinks, often leading to temptations and poor food choices.

What are the options in your workplace and what could you change?

Now the work from home trend is well established, and employees are not physically under the supervision of their employer, how can you help them to become self-motivated in their healthy food choices?

What else?

- Create a range of inspiring educational opportunities for employees to understand more about health, nutrition and the particularly the food-mood and gut-brain connections. 

- Identifying and reducing stress could prove to be one of the most important steps in reaching an employee’s full potential. Unfortunately, employees that suffer stress often struggle to engage at work, often being less productive and often less able to show off their individual expertise. Researchers have discovered that stress can reduce the numbers of beneficial Lactobacillus bacteria that live in the intestine, thus potentially leading to poor health.

- Creating the right environment, allowing a clean, safe, relaxing environment in which people can, for example, take necessary breaks, away from their desk or work area enabling them to enjoy the act of mindful eatingIt is often the case that ‘eureka moment’ happens when we’re taking a break.  Again, with wfh now having taken root, employers need to provide educational resources to bring these information resources to the attention of employees.

What’s your gut reaction? If you would like more information on how nutrition can help support a work-force just get in touch. 

Sarah Grant

Sarah Grant

Sarah Grant is a qualified nutritional therapist and health coach, whose belief it is that healthy eating habits are at the core of wellbeing - and wellbeing in turn fuels employee engagement, performance and productivity.  
With more than eight years' experience in this field, Sarah’s special interests lie with helping people who want support enhancing not only their physical health and energy, but their stress resilience, cognitive health and mood, by making mindful and lasting changes to their nutrition, eating habits, self-care and the emotional relationship they have with food.