Prompted by a recent article on Yahoo and the email chain that followed, I have decided to further explore health in the workplace. The Yahoo article described alternatives to diet soda consumption offering fewer calories and no artificial sweeteners. More bluntly, drinks which are better for you.
There are many myths and misconceptions about what is “good” for you. The “8 glasses of water per day” is a perfect example of this. While drinking 8 glasses of water is not bad for you, there is no scientific rational for this exact amount, nor is it clear where this concept even originated.
Soda is an easy target when declaring common food and beverages bad for your health. I think we all realize that soda is probably not the best drink for a healthy lifestyle, but c’mon! It’s so good! Once it hits your lips it’s so good! The main reason those in the know warn against soda consumption is because of its content of high fructose corn syrup. A common sugar substitute, HFCS is found in almost every food product imaginable today. It is an extremely cost effective artificial sweetener, but it is high in calories and provides almost no nutritional value. Soda is also very acidic, which will cause your body to strip calcium from your bones in order to balance out your internal ph levels. We have a lot of soda here at work and if somehow this article persuades you to swear off soda you may say to yourself, “But what about all of the extra soda we have? I don’t want it to go to waste.” Fear not, I say! For all is not lost! According to numerous household cleaning Websites, soda can clean your toilet, eliminate rust from a car bumper and remove grease from clothing. Whew, dodged a bullet there! Sugar definitely gets a bad rap these days, but it’s really what kind of sugar and where it comes from that matters.
An absolutely wonderful alternative to processed foods are all natural delicious treats. Below are a few great natural snacks for work. You may never have heard of these foods before so I will list them with brief health benefits below:
· Apples – Vitamin A and C, Antioxidants
· Grapes – Vitamins A, C and P
· Bananas – Vitamins A, B1, B2, B5 and C, Potassium
· Peaches – Vitamin C
· Strawberries – Extremely rich source of Vitamin C
· Almonds – Folate, Vitamin E and A, Niacin
· Cashews – Vitamin K, Folate
· Peanuts – Niacin, Vitamin E, Folate
· Pistachios – Vitamin A, Folate
· Carrots – Vitamin A, C, B6, and Niacin
You will receive the most health benefits from eating the above mentioned foods raw and by themselves. So even though carrots and ranch are delicious, you will lose much of the benefit with this crazy concoction.
Besides eating and drinking right what else can be done to improve health in the workplace? Exercise of course!
Now, it may not always be practical to do laps around the office, but much can be accomplished at ones desk. It is also important to get up and walk around. In our case, foosball is not merely a way to take a quick break, but actually improves our health! We have to play foosball in order to stay healthy. This is science in action, people. (All mentions of “science in action” do not refer to the actual field of science and should not be interpreted as fact or anything resembling an informed opinion) All of this healthy goodness does not come without a price. A common side effect of intense “foos” action is the development of massive forearm muscles. I have personally noticed disfigured co workers from this devastating consequence of science in action.
But seriously, cubicle exercises are a great way to get your blood flowing and draw intrigue from your fellow workers or disgust if happen to love a solid lunge workout. Feel the Burn! Simple stretches can do wonders for your day. While sitting at your desk, try some shoulder rolls, neck rolls, upper body stretches, wrist stretches, and practice the 20-20-20 rule. To prevent eyestrain, every 20 minutes take your focus away from your computer screen and focus on something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.
Tea is better than Coffee. There I said it. I can already hear the sounds of angels dying. Sure coffee tastes good, smells great, and helps you get through the day, but what about life? Tea, no matter the kind, is packed with antioxidants and disease fighting compounds. Tea has been shown to lower heart disease and stroke rates among daily drinkers. It also lowers LDL “Bad” cholesterol, boosts your metabolism, slows the growth of tumors, improves skin, protects against Parkinson’s disease, and even delays the onset of diabetes. It also contains no calories. To be fair, coffee exhibits some of these same qualities, but tea is still better. Science in action!
Exercise and diet have even been shown to lower stress levels, reduce and the risk of sickness, and can lead to increased productivity at work. An apple a day really can keep the boss away! I mean doctor.
So, next time you are reaching for that bag of chips or standing at the vending machine deciding to go with a Diet Coke or Sunkist Orange Soda, totally go Sunkist! Its delicious! I kid. Instead brew yourself a nice cup of green or black tea and have a red delicious. Who knows, it may just save your life. Also, do the stretches at your desk. Lunge Attack!