Vegans may be more positive and productive than meat-eaters, nutrition expert reveals

Those who follow a plant-based diet that incorporates leafy greens, dark chocolate and plant-based proteins like tofu are more likely to be productive and positive than those who aren’t vegan, new expert advice suggests.

The Productivity Pick-Me-Ups study – conducted by City Pantry – collates advice from nutrition experts to reveal the mental and physical implications of eating sugar-laden foods during the working week, and to advise workers on what they should consume instead.

The study found that among the top mood-boosting foods include leafy green vegetables – like broccoli and spinach -, dark chocolate, raw fruits and vegetables, and plant-based protein such as tofu and tempeh – all of which are staples in any vegan diet.

According to expert advice provided by Dr Uma Naidoo – board-certified psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School and nutrition specialist – workers should look to eat foods that reduce inflammation as this causes low energy levels and fatigue.

She says: “Low-grade inflammation flips off a metabolic switch in the chemical pathway that produces energy. When inflammation is present in the body, less energy is available to the brain, so it’s important to eat anti-inflammatory foods to ensure workers wake up in a good mood and stay energized and focused through the entire morning.

“This means pursuing a diet that’s rich in colorful, non starchy vegetables that add polyphenols, which fight inflammation, stabilize your insulin levels and nurture your brain, gut microbiome and overall body. Make sure to include polyphenol-rich cauliflower, carrots, red pepper, cabbage, dark chocolate, mexican oregano, broccoli, chestnuts, blackberries, apple cider vinegar, onion and garlic.

“Also, fat is a key component for mental health. Your brain is made up of 60% fat and in order to perform at its best, it requires a constant supply of omega-3-fatty acids. Make sure you include healthy fats like extra virgin olive oil, olives, avocadoes, chia seeds, hazelnuts, almonds and macadamias in your diet.”

With that in mind, the top foods that workers should eat to boost productivity include:

1. Leafy green vegetables, such as cabbage, broccoli and spinach
2. Healthy fats in the form of dark chocolate, nuts and fish
3. Raw fruits and vegetables like peppers and berries
4. Energy-boosting spices including turmeric, black cumin and capsaicin
5. Plant-based protein such as tofu and tempeh

But as well as ensuring a varied diet that includes productivity-boosting foods, workers should also avoid items that are prone to causing lethargy and poor mental health.

Dr Naidoo advises workers cut back on the following foods:

– Highly-processed & Ultra-processed foods (like boxed cereals and chips)
– Trans fats
– Unhealthy PUFAs (processed vegetable oils like corn, grapeseed, sunflower and soy oils)
– High-GI carbohydrates
– Added and refined Sugars
– Artificial sweeteners
– Processed meats and cheeses
– Excessive coffee and alcohol

When it comes to paying attention to our eating habits, it’s all too easy for workers to grab a breakfast without thinking of it’s nutritional value.

At City Pantry, we encourage workers to pursue healthy eating habits through our provision of healthy hampers for teams to enjoy at home, all of which can be filtered on our site to suit vegan, vegetarian and pescatarian diets. We provide options to suit all allergens and are proud to partner with food redistribution charity City Harvest to reduce surplus food waste.

Encouraging healthy eating habits is crucial among remote workers across the UK, as a previous City Pantry survey found that 34% of UK workers consume unhealthy foods three or more times a day – despite this having significant repercussions on their focus and mood.

The survey also found that over a third (34%) of workers often felt unmotivated at work as a result of this unhealthy food consumption, while a further 32% reported feeling sluggish.

With workers now experiencing lower levels of exercise than ever before due to a widespread shift to remote working, it’s never been more important to prioritise healthy eating and exercise habits ahead of lockdown restrictions easing across the UK.

To see the full results of City Pantry’s Productivity Pick-Me-Ups analysis, please visit: https://blog.citypantry.com/blog/pick-me-ups-study

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