Do you rely on caffeine to get you through your shift … whether that’s in the form of a coffee, soda or energy drink?
Perhaps you rely on two, three, or maybe even more for an energy hit to keep you going?
Whilst I’m partial to a 1/2 strength latte or mocha myself, did you know that habitual caffeine intake can contribute to malnutrition?
It does so by depleting key vitamins and minerals such as:
- Iron – a single cup of coffee can reduce iron absorption from a meal by as much as 75%!
- Calcium and Magnesium – half a cup of caffeine (50mg) depletes the body of calcium and magnesium. Larger doses deplete even more.
- Potassium – 300mg of caffeine increases potassium loss by one third.
Do you tend to eat the same type of meals over and over again? Maybe you’ve got a close relationship going on with your breakfast cereal?!!
Well I’d like to inspire you to live on the edge a little … and add some colour and variety to your plate (or bowl!)
When we eat a more diversified diet, particularly one that is rich in plant-based foods, it helps to feed the trillions of microscopic bugs in the digestive tract.
Now these microscopic bugs (which comprise of bacteria, fungi, protozoa and viruses – yes you read that correctly, even viruses), they don’t just hang out in your belly, doing nothing.
They are responsible for producing important neurotransmitters such as gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA, for short. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter which helps to calm the nervous system, needed to facilitate sleep.
They also produce serotonin, a neurotransmitter which is the pre-cursor to the sleep-regulating hormone, melatonin.
Say what? You want me to eat RAW cauliflower Audra?!! I sure do, because when it’s raw, it’s wonderful nutritional benefits become even more pronounced.
Being part of the cruciferous family, it helps with detoxification, which, if you’re struggling to lose weight whilst working 24/7 can be super helpful. This is because toxins create chemical stress in the body, leading to raised levels of the stress hormone, cortisol.
Sadly, high cortisol levels increase body fat, especially around the belly or torso region, as it wants to protect your organs from any impending “danger” brought on by stress.
When we eat too much processed food (which is full of manufactured chemicals), the liver also has to work harder to filter out these toxins, which can lead to cellular damage.
Back in my Uni days of studying to become a nutritionist, I remember overhearing a discussion between a lecturer and student about what would be the ideal meal option for someone who work’s the night shift.
The lecturer’s reply was:
“Just get them to flip their meals around. As in have their big meal around midnight and 1am”.
The thing is, that never really sat right with me.
Given the functionality of our circadian rhythm varies enormously between that of the day versus the night, I instinctively knew that nocturnal food intake, especially in large quantities, was bound to cause havoc on our digestive system. Not ideal, given most shift workers are plagued by gastrointestinal complaints at the best of times!
However, it doesn’t stop at the digestive system.
It can affect our cognition, amongst other things, which if your work involves making complex decisions, operating machinery or performing surgery, can be extremely important.
If your answer is yes to this question it’s not surprising given, for many years, we were lead to believe that fat and cholesterol causes heart disease.
However, this diet-heart hypothesis was later discredited as fraudulent science when the real culprit was, and still is, sugar.
For a quick overview of this – watch this short video titled ‘Big Fat Lie’s.
If you want to learn even more about this topic, I recommend reading Coronary Heart Disease: The Dietary Sense and Nonsense by G, Mann who stated in his book “the public is being deceived by the greatest health scam of the century”.
Anyway, getting back to the facts on fat.