The biggest challenge faced by organisations today who are striving to create a competitive culture is that of stress and burnout, it has become a worldwide epidemic! It is becoming increasingly apparent that we are pushing our bodies & minds to the limit, and the price to pay? Increasingly our health…. Organisations therefore have a level of responsibility for helping their people cope with these stresses & illnesses. If not, they are going to feel the direct impact on their bottom line.

As such, the past couple of years have seen a particular rise in terms of well-being programs; 1/5 of all UK businesses have increased their well-being spend in 2013 (CIPD absence management report 2013) and it’s quoted as being the no.2 issue currently shaping benefits strategy in 2014 (2014 employee benefits survey). However, are we doing enough to help our employees deal with an increasingly unpredictable environment?

At the same time, we have become increasingly confused about the food choices we should be making; often reaching for another cup of coffee or muffin on the way to our next meeting without realising the impact this will have on our mind and body. Then when we get to the meeting, we are faced with more coffee, biscuits and pastries…. This may lead to a state of feeling tired, foggy, stressed and apathetic, none of which are attributes associated with a high performance culture! On the flip side, food is packed full of complex, biologically active molecules that can also have an immensely positive impact on our physical and mental health and well-being.

It’s commonly known and accepted that what we eat and drink can have acute & immediate effects on how we feel and perform; for example caffeine can increase temporary alertness and some carbohydrates may induce sleepiness. But how does nutrition relate to issues such as stress?

Nutritional support has consistently been shown to give people the physical resilience & reserves they need to cope with stress. For example, stress depletes key vitamins that we can look to increase in the body. The gut and brain are also incredibly closely intertwined. So much so that we often refer to the gut as our ‘second brain’ and there is wealth of evidence linking dietary influences with brain health, such as concentration, memory and mental well-being.

Therefore, by arming your organisation & people with the information and knowledge they need to help them make nutritional choices that support their health and well-being, this can make a dramatic difference to people’s stress, energy and productivity levels, delivering your company a competitive edge.