Gut Feeling: An Underrated Tool for Work Performance
Take on additional projects. Exude constant positivity! Pick up an additional latte every morning for your boss.
There’s plenty of advice on ways to make that promotion a reality, and we’ve all been there, gunning for one and working extra hard to achieve it. Ironically, it’s all too easy to get burnt out putting in all that extra effort—when that fatigue starts leading to compromised performance, it takes you even further away from the goals you were trying to achieve. Instead of sprinting ahead endlessly, it might be time to find a sustainable solution for maintaining peak work performance.
Here’s the good news: that solution is as easy as eating, aka caring for your gut health. After all, research has shown that the reason why your gut health is so important is because the digestive system supports your immune system and can even affect your mood, impacting your work performance. Here’s other reasons why your gut health is so important for working better.
Maintaining Mental Clarity
Is a foggy brain clouding your ability to think up brilliant solutions? The answer might lie less in thinking outside the box than thinking with your tummy.
Despite making up only 2% of our total body mass, the brain consumes the most energy of any organ—an impressive 20% of our body’s total energy sources, to be exact. Energy for the brain comes from our food, with the brain particularly favoring glucose as its main energy source. With our gut microbiome intimately connected to the body’s metabolism of glucose, it’s hence paramount to keep your gut healthy for your brain to get the energy it needs.
Becoming The Dream Co-Worker
We all have that one colleague who simply radiates positivity, making them such a joy to be around. They’re consistently cheerful, well-rested, and seem to have an unlimited capacity for socializing even after a long day of work. If you’re always secretly wondering what that colleague is on, chances are, they could just have an optimally functioning gut system.
Our gut microbiomes are key in regulating neurotransmitters such as oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine, all of which help to stabilize your mood and create feelings of happiness (serotonin and dopamine are also responsible for regulating your sleep cycle). Oxytocin, in particular, has been found to promote positive social bonding behavior in humans.
To get started at becoming that co-worker that everyone enjoys having on their team, consider taking stock of your gut health as a first step. One easy way to improve gut health is to encourage the growth of diverse microbiota, which can come from eating a diverse range of foods. If you needed an extra reason to finally stop those sad desk lunches, here it is.
Beating The Effects of Stress
EOD: perhaps the most anxiety-inducing abbreviation in the workplace vocabulary. Recurring stress from the likes of perpetually looming deadlines may eventually wreak havoc on your digestive system. For instance, psychological stress can lead to leaky gut syndrome, which is when gaps occur in the lining of your intestinal walls, allowing the contents of your gut to seep directly into your bloodstream. What this may feel like: bloating and cramps, headaches, or even excessive fatigue. Do any of these feel familiar whenever you’re stressed?
While you might not be able to do much about the stress at work, what you can do is support the health of your intestinal barrier. This barrier is made up of a thick layer of mucus, a goopy substance that acts as protection against harmful substances, all while providing a home for the gut microbiome responsible for a healthy digestive system.
Hitting Your Gut Health KPIs
Already opened a new tab to look for ways to maintain your gut health, and feeling boggled by the many different recommendations? It might be time to meet—surprise!—lactoferrin (if you haven’t already noticed, we’re rather big fans of this power-packed protein).
A serious gut health heavyweight, lactoferrin can help maintain a healthy gut mucosa, setting the stage for a well-functioning intestinal barrier (which also ensures good nutrient absorption and even the tolerance of food allergies). What’s more, it can also set the stage for a balanced gut ecosystem by encouraging the growth of beneficial bacteria, paving the way for a thriving gut. If your workday typically looks like juggling between multiple calls and actually finding time to get work done, then making lactoferrin-enhanced foods a staple part of your diet can be a fuss-free way to keep up the health of your gut. Now, that’s some multitasking that’s sure to impress your boss.