Would a Healthier Workforce Benefit Your Business? Does it surprise you to discover that medical doctors get very little nutrition education in medical school? According to SimplaFYI medical consultant and nutrition advisor, Sandra Musial, MD, that’s one reason Americans get conflicting dietary advice from their medical providers — even the doctors are confused!
“We live in a country with the top hospitals and medical care in the world, yet Americans are dying in the greatest numbers from preventable diseases caused primarily by poor dietary choices,” said Dr. Musial. “With social media spreading misinformation on the latest fad diets and the unhealthy food industries spending billions on lobbyists and marketing, it’s no wonder we’re confused about what we should and should not eat.”
Employers are facing a difficult climate for a variety of reasons, but one thing they can improve is helping their workforce navigate a healthier life. Healthier employees are generally more focused, have less out of work time and are more productive. As an employer, you can help separate the factual wheat from the misinformation chaff for your employees, and build awareness around healthier choices and wellbeing.
Nourish Your Minds …
A simple email, social media, or printed flyer-based campaign can help your employees identify the risks in their own diets and develop better dietary habits. For example, you might include a recipe-a-day program based on Dr. Musial’s 10 tips for healthier eating:
- Eat the entire rainbow of whole fruits and vegetables, but especially leafy greens such as spinach, kale, and dark green lettuces. Packed with antioxidants and vitamins, leafy greens are heart-healthy and anti-inflammatory while helping to prevent and fight cancer.
- Avoid sweetened beverages — even the low-calorie variety, which can disrupt metabolism.
- Find ways to add legumes — such as chickpeas, lentils, and black beans — into your recipes. Low in fat, they are full of fiber and protein.
- Avoid refined and processed flour products, such as white bread, cakes, and cookies; eat grains in their whole form.
- Eat more fiber (which comes from plants only).
- Understand that not all fat is bad. Healthy fats — such as those found in nuts, chia and flax seeds, avocados, and olives — are rich in health-promoting fatty acids.
- On the other hand, saturated fats found in animal products such as beef, pork, chicken, butter, and dairy can lead to fatty liver, insulin resistance, and coronary artery disease.
- Avoid processed meats — i.e., lunch meats, hot dogs, and bacon — which the World Health Organization classified as a class 1 carcinogen in 2015.
- Cook and serve with herbs and spices often, as they provide an array of anti-inflammatory properties and unique antioxidants.
- Finally, drink plenty of the elixir of life — water.
… While You Nourish Your Bodies
Stock your worksite kitchens and break rooms with healthy food choices, such as nuts, fruits, low-sugar granola and protein bars, herbal teas, and spring water. During work functions, serve healthy, plant-based meals and include the recipes alongside the dishes for those who want to learn more. And finally, consider offering gift cards to health-food stores and health-conscious restaurants as employee rewards and gifts.
Employers Can Effect Real Change
The following statistics from the Centers for Disease Control should be a wake-up call for all of us:
- Nearly $173 billion is spent each year on health care related to obesity
- 90% of adults consume too much sodium
- fewer than 10% of adolescents and adults eat enough fruits and vegetables
- 60% of young people (and 50% of adults) consume at least one sugary drink a day.
As an employer, you can help change these statistics — preventing, treating, and even reversing preventable chronic disease in the United States. Want to learn how SimplaFYI can help? Contact Kathleen, at [email protected]
In addition to Dr. Musial’s work with SimplaFYI, she is a co-founder of PlantDocs. She and her team provide a variety of programs to support health. You can find them at: PlantDocs.
This article was written by: Carol Swanson. Carol is a health and financial wellbeing writer. She can be reached at [email protected].