Stress is a common workplace challenge that can have an impact on mental and physical wellbeing. Eating habits play a significant role in helping the body combat stress, yet as stress mounts, even healthy employees can see their eating habits deteriorate. In this session, participants will learn how the right foods can bolster energy levels, immune defences, and mental clarity. They will also explore what they can do to maintain a balanced diet that promotes a stress-free lifestyle.
At the end of this seminar, participants will be able to do the following:
- Identify the physical effects of stress
- Understand the Glycemic Index and the link between food and stress
- Learn about vitamins & minerals to boost the immune system and brain function
- Discover superfoods for the brain
- Almost one-quarter of Canadians say they have a high degree of stress. (Source: Heart and Stroke Association)
- Habitual diets rich in dietary fibre and omega-3-polyunsaturated fatty acids may be linked to a reduced risk of developing symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress; however, additional studies are necessary. (Source: Taylor, A., & Holscher, H. (2018). A review of dietary and microbial connections to depression, anxiety, and stress. Nutritional Neuroscience, 1-14, 1-14.)
- 27.5 % of Canadians 35-49 years and older are reported to be living with daily stress according to the previous Stat Canada census (Source: https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/t1/tbl1/en/tv.action?pid=1310009604)
- Several studies show a link between chronic stress and the development of certain long-term health problems: diabetes type 2, metabolic syndrome and abdominal obesity.
- Stats from the American Institute of Stress: https://www.stress.org/stress-research
- Stress has been shown to increase our desire to eat desserts and salty snacks even when we’re not hungry. (Source: Lemmens SG, Rutters F, Born JM, Westerterp-Plantenga MS. Stress augments food 'wanting' and energy intake in visceral overweight subjects in the absence of hunger. Physiol Behav. 2011 May 3;103(2):157-63)
- Stay Fuelled – Did you know that the brain uses about 20% of the energy we eat? Providing too much or not enough energy to our brain can impair our ability to focus at work and make us more irritable. Pack a healthy lunch to avoid fast food and vending machine temptations that may leave you feeling lethargic. Ditch the candy drawer, which gives you a quick high followed by an energy crash. If you tend to get hungry between meals, grab an apple with a small piece of cheese to keep you focused until meal time!
- Think Plant-based – Full of antioxidants and phytochemicals, fruits and veggies have many protective and health-promoting qualities, including optimizing brain function. Try meatless Mondays, choose salads more often for lunch, or aim for a generous serving of veggies at most meals.
- Go Fishing for Omega-3s – Feed your brain to stay in a positive mindset. Your brain needs omega-3 fats, an essential fatty acid that must be obtained from your diet. There are some studies that suggest omega 3 fats may reduce symptoms of depression in some individuals, though the evidence is not yet conclusive. Fatty fishes like salmon, trout, sardines and vegetarian sources like flaxseeds and walnuts are great sources. Aim for 2 servings per week of fatty fish (75 grams or 2.5 oz), and try adding 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of ground flaxseeds in your morning yogurt or cereal.
- Be healthfully hydrated – Water is essential for proper digestion and delivering nutrients throughout the body, just to name a few of its critical functions. Evidence shows that even slight dehydration may affect your mood. Being dehydrated can contribute to headaches, fatigue, reduced concentration and dizziness. Keep a water bottle on hand to remind yourself to keep sipping.
- Move & improve your mood – Research has shown that regular exercise can boost mood, lower feelings of stress, and can also give you more energy. Aim for at least 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of physical activity per week. Take advantage of your lunch hour to go out for a short brisk walk with your friends or colleagues, or head out to a lunchtime yoga class – every bit counts toward helping you feel great!