Saskatoon Chamber BusinessView Magazine Oct Nov 2017

Page 8

Working Healthy

Brain fuel for improving safety at work By Melody Byblow, Registered Holistic Nutritionist, Certified Master Workplace Wellness Ambassador It is common sense for business owners to do everything they can to reduce potential harm of their employees and avoid disruptions in productivity. Risks for injury and mistakes are minimized with procedures, policies, checklists and training. Yet there is one rarely talked about risk – how an employee’s daily personal care habits and health status impact their abilities to be focused and alert, think clearly, and make good decisions. This is sort of a wild card. Personal daily care is not something most people think about, with routines that get us through the day, like sleeping and eating. However, many things can sabotage peak performance, especially when we are unaware of the risks. Performance involves thinking, processing information, alertness and more. How well we perform depends on our brain getting the fuel it needs and how well we reduce the chemical toxins that might harm or interfere with how it functions. Unfortunately, most people eat a Standard American Diet (SAD) that is loaded with thousands of chemical toxins from processed foods, sugar and unhealthy fats. Did you know that many of these chemicals interfere with cognitive function, hormones, sleep and put strain on the body’s organs? For example: • Synthetic food dyes have been linked to behaviour issues, such as ADD and ADHD; • Sugar is addictive, providing a pleasure response in the brain followed by a crash, stressing our adrenals and insulin responses. Brain nourishment requires healthy whole foods and lifestyle habits, like getting enough Omega-3 fats, healthy proteins, and hydration. Research has also shown that optimal brain function depends on a healthy gut microbiome which enhances cognitive function. Let’s not overlook quality sleep as well – nearly 40 percent of people do not get enough sleep according to CDC research. Most people are unaware how influential food quality is on our health, daily performance and sleep quality. As a business owner, one could hope that employees 8



are coming to work able to think clearly. However, there are ways to encourage and influence healthier behaviours. This is where educational components of a workplace wellness program can support employees and help reduce risks. Learning about healthy foods and lifestyles from qualified holistic nutritionists leads to healthier employees and helps improve safety and performance. Workplace wellness programs help create a healthy culture, and encourages healthier employee behaviours over time. For example, offering monthly Lunch and Learns and providing an organic fruit basket for snacks are proactive ways to bring wellness into your workplace. Can business owners influence the health of their employees? Absolutely! Business owners lead the change they want to see in their company, including a healthy workplace culture that supports employees’ healthy

habits, fuels brains, and encourages a more productive, safer environment. For more information, please contact: Melody Byblow, RHN, CMWA call 306-500-8200 or email:

Melody Byblow, RHN, CMWA (supplied photo)