Yesterday I was invited to speak at an event titled ‘Love Yourself Masterclass’ for veterinarian and vet nurses here in Brisbane, because quite tragically, these practitioners have the highest suicide rate in the country.
Yes that was not a typo.
These incredible human beings that do an AMAZING job at taking care of our beloved pets are struggling. Struggling to take care of themselves as a result of a highly stressful and emotionally challenging work environment, that is affecting them physically, mentally and emotionally – right to the core.
This gut wrenching suicide statistic is 4 times higher than the average Australian, and twice as high as other medical professions.
So what can be done to support our mental health in the workplace?
Well there are many things, one of which is critically important, is sufficient quality sleep. Something that I spoke about in detail at this event yesterday because it actually trumps nutrition.
But I’ll save that for a separate post, because it deserves it’s very own.
In today’s post I want to talk about the importance of feeding our bodies with the right foods and nutrients, because this simple practice can make a DRAMATIC difference to our mental health.
Fibre – depending on which part of the world you’re from, you might refer to it as ‘fibre’ or ‘fiber’. Either way, however you spell or pronounce it, fibre forms an essential requirement of our diet – every single day.
So what exactly is it, and why do shift workers in particular need it?
Well to begin with, everyone needs fibre whether you work 24/7 or not. However shift workers need it even more so for a number of reasons.
Most notably because shift workers are prone to digestive complaints as a result of circadian rhythm dysregulation, which is a fancy way of describing the continual disruption to the sleep-wake cycle as a result of working 24/7. This also weakens the lining of the gut, impairing the ability to fight off infections, which I chatted about in an earlier blog post titled – Jet Lag, Shift Work and Your Gut.
But back to today’s post.
Not only does regular consumption of dietary fiber help to reduce digestive complaints, but studies have shown it helps to protect against the development of many ‘Western type diseases’ such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, colon cancer, and obesity.
Unfortunately shift workers are prone to developing these types of chronic conditions, possibly as a result of a predominantly low fibre diet – i.e; one which is dominated with fast foods, takeaways and highly refined and processed foods. In other words, very little whole foods, or “real food”.
So what exactly is dietary fibre?