Vegan Workplaces | Can Plant-Based Diets Help Improve Productivity?

Vegan Workplaces | Can Plant-Based Diets Help Improve Productivity?

The link between diet and productivity has been clearly acknowledged by science.  And as a committed employer, you may be wondering how you can use this information to improve the lives of your employees; and, in turn, your business.

…We have a few ideas that could help!

Did you know that Geico ran a study on a sample of 100 employees that showed a notable increase in overall productivity for those who took up a vegan diet for four months?

And it’s not just Geico that has incorporated plant-based initiatives.  Both Facebook and Dropbox have also seen great success with employee-led vegan initiatives.  Other corporations such as IBM, Microsoft, and even Tesla have also encouraged similar programs.

But let’s make one thing clear: Just because people eat plant-based at work doesn’t mean they have to at home!  

Whilst we certainly encourage entirely plant-based diets, the benefits of facilitating a greater intake of whole fruit & veg and less meat in the workplace can still positively impact productivity.

Have you considered introducing some form of dietary or vegan initiative in your company? 

Read on to learn more about why it might help level up your workforce!

Plant-Based Diets Can Improve Mental Health 

Mental health has become a major focus in many workplaces in recent times - and rightfully so!  Without a happy cohort, a business will suffer.  People should be enjoying what they do, feeling accomplished, and receiving overall satisfaction from what they do.  But on that note, it's common for stress, anxiety, and depression to be linked to lifestyle but attributed to the workplace.

Reduced Levels of Stress & Anxiety

Stress and anxiety are caused by more than just a large workload or tough job.  The condition of the mind & body is a significant contributing factor. As such, workplaces can be proactive in helping their employees maintain these areas by encouraging healthy diet & exercise habits.  

When it comes to plant-based diets, stress and anxiety will be naturally relieved due to a reduced Arachidonic acid intake. This inflammatory chemical is found in animal-based foods.  Arachidonic acid sets off a chain reaction of effects in our body, which causes an excess of inflammatory mediators in the bloodstream. When these reactions reach the brain, the response is felt in the form of stress and anxiety.  

Avoiding foods high in Arachidonic acid by implementing plant-based dietary habits has produced a happier, more positive outlook.

Relief from Depression

Studies have shown a link between depression and elevated levels of an enzyme called ‘monoamine oxidase’ (MAO), responsible for breaking down dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine.  These neurotransmitters are responsible for mood regulation, and increased breakdown has been linked to causing depression and anxiety. 

On the other hand, a phytochemical called quercetin inhibits monoamine oxidase, thus reducing the rate that important neurotransmitters break down.  Quercetin is found alongside other important phytochemicals in whole-plant foods, showing us that a plant-based diet can act as a natural antidepressant.  

A reduced intake of monoamine oxidase enzymes and increased intake of quercetin could be a helpful tactic to assist employees with mental health with feelings of depression in both the workplace and at home. 

How do the benefits of plant-based diets play out in my office?

It should come as no surprise that improved mental health & clarity will increase productivity, inter-workplace relations, and overall employee satisfaction.  Increased dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine levels mean employees will be happier, more willing to cooperate, more satisfied with their roles & responsibilities, and ultimately more productive.  

The bottom line is that encouraging employees to take on plant-based diets, or at least swap out a few meals for a few plant-based options, will reduce depression-causing MAOs and stress & anxiety-inducing chemicals that are found in animal products in high quantities.

…And that’s just mental health.  How about physical health?  Read on to learn more!

Plant-based Diets May Improve Physical Health 

Alongside an improvement in mental health, the physical health of individuals consuming more fruit & veg are undeniable and can be monumental.  If these benefits are achieved, common health-related downtime & expense may be saved.

Fewer sick days

Those with balanced diets have better immune systems than those with unbalanced diets.  However, people on plant-based diets often have stronger immune systems than anybody.  

Encouraging plant-based meals in your workplace means that employees will be consuming higher amounts of vitamins, anti-inflammatory compounds, minerals, and antioxidants. 

A stronger immune system results in reduced vulnerability to viruses that commonly result in employees taking days off due to simple things like the cold and flu.

Lower Blood Pressure and Improved Cardiovascular Health

Consuming more whole-plant foods has been shown to lower blood pressure, which reduces the chance of cardiovascular issues such as stroke, coronary heart disease, heart failure, and chronic kidney disease.  

According to the ABS National Health Survey (2017-18), High blood pressure affects 34% of Australians over 18 years old - 1 in 3 people!  Additionally, about 21% of this number is due to a diet high in sodium, which is significantly overused in the average Australian diet.  

Switching out animal-based foods for more plant-based meals will immediately reduce sodium intake and lower blood pressure.

How do the health benefits of plant-based diets play out in my office?

With better immune systems come fewer sick days, and with fewer sick days comes a higher productivity rate.  Jobs will be done a lot quicker than they usually would, and employees will have the clarity necessary to complete them well instead of the stressed rush that is all so common in modern workplaces.  

On top of fewer sick days, you will reduce the amount of money your company spends on time off due to medical procedures.  So not only can you expect a greater productivity rate, but also less money spent on employee illness in the long run.  

High cholesterol and blood pressure can also strain the outlay for employee medical expenses. In contrast, lower cholesterol can reduce stress, improve mental clarity, and increase productivity. 

What’s Stopping Your Workplace From Adopting Plant-Based Initiatives?

Remember, you don’t have to fully transition your workforce to veganism to start seeing the benefits of a higher fruit & veg intake!  It all starts with cutting as much meat out of the diet as possible.  You can’t control what your employees eat outside of work, but you may be able to influence their decisions in the workplace.

Start by educating yourself and your employees about the topics covered in this article - we included plenty of links for key references! Follow up by offering plant-based options as meals during lunch breaks at your workplace.

We now offer wholesale vegan meal delivery options for Australian businesses who want to reassess the meals they offer their employees throughout the workday.

Head over to this page to enquire today, and have your workplace eating well by next week!

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