The phrase “you are what you eat” comes from studying the cycles of nutrient uptake and excretion inside our bodies. Over many years, you replace old slow-growing cells with new ones, made from the nutrients you eat, and due to the turnover you’re eventually composed of a whole new set of molecules.
There’s nothing new about this thought experiment, but now we’re beginning to discover that how we feel can change the actual nutrition we derive from the food we consume.
Full study: Stress Erases Benefits of Eating ‘Good’ Fats
A group of 68 women participated in a study where they ate two different high-fat breakfasts. One breakfast used “good” fats, and the other breakfast used “bad” fats, taking advantage of previous studies which showed that this causes measurable differences in blood samples (for more on good vs. bad fats, see our blog post on this issue). Using a stress questionnaire in addition to the blood tests, this study found that the women who were stressed were negatively affected regardless of which breakfast they had. The women who were not stressed showed better blood results with the “good” fats and bad results with the “bad” fats. The authors concluded that women who were stressed had their “healthier” high fat breakfast negated by their stress, while the women who were not stressed saw a marked difference between their “good” fat and “bad” fat diets.
So what’s the take-away?
The body is an interconnected entity affected by its different components. If you only focus on nutrition, for example, you may find you are not getting the most from your healthy choices. When thinking about your health, you might find a better value thinking about healthy eating, along with stress reduction techniques, physical exercise, personal satisfaction/development, and having a good social life. Try looking at this worksheet linked to by the World Health Organisation to see what dimensions of health you are doing well with, and what aspects of health you should focus on:
What does this mean for companies?
It is important to cover all the aspects of health in your company. The National Wellness Institute of Australia defines wellness as a complex mix of environmental, occupational, intellectual, emotional, financial, physical, spiritual, cultural and social components. If your corporate wellness program only focuses on one or two of these components, you are doing your employees and company a disservice.
If you aren’t a believer yet, try looking at this link from the Comcare department of the Australian government, packed with information about the positive impact incorporating wellness services into your company’s employee benefit program has on your business:
To name a few benefits:
- Increased productivity
- Decreased absenteeism
- Improved workplace culture and morale
Here at HSG we offer many wellness services, including, but not limited to, nutrition workshops, stress reduction workshops, leadership workshops, and massage. Call us today on 1300 889 073 to learn what we can do for your organisation.