Why Are Optimists Healthier Eaters — And How Can Food Delivery Promote Positivity?

Posted by on Tuesday, April 8th, 2014 with Comments Off on Why Are Optimists Healthier Eaters — And How Can Food Delivery Promote Positivity? Comments

We know that what we eat and how we feel are intertwined, especially at the office: binging on greasy food delivery at noon can make you feel lethargic all day, while eating a healthy catered lunch of whole grains, vegetables, and lean proteins can supply steady, long-lasting energy.

But the impact of our diet goes beyond energy levels; it can even impact how we think, and how we perceive the world. Over the last two years, a few studies have investigated the relationship between the food we eat and our levels of optimism. And while there’s still a bit of chicken-or-the-egg questioning to be done, one thing is clear: optimistic people tend to eat more healthily than pessimists.

takeout bag with smiley face

How does your diet affect your outlook at the office?
Image source: Flickr user Brendan Lynch

We’ll come back to the nitty-gritty science of the studies, but let’s take a minute to consider why optimism matters in the workplace. Are optimists more productive, or better employees? An office full of optimists is likely to be more pleasant and welcoming than a sea of cubicles staffed by Debbie Downers, but do you really want a smiling, slightly naive Pollyanna in charge of a challenging project or solving complex problems?

Maybe a little cynicism is helpful when it comes to foreseeing possible complications or challenges, but generally speaking, optimism is an asset. An optimistic staff doesn’t necessarily translate to a room full of Pollyannas in rose-colored glasses, but instead a group of people who maintain a generally positive attitude about the company they work for, and the work they’re doing. Optimism can be an indicator of employee engagement, which certainly results in a more productive workplace. And that’s a no-brainer.

coworkers laughing over lunch

Optimistic employees might be more engaged.
Image source: Flickr user Rasmus Andersson

So back to fruits and vegetables. What does the kind of food delivery you get for lunch — say, a salad versus a burger — have to do with keeping a positive attitude? While it may seem like a leap, researchers have certainly established that the two are related… even if we don’t know exactly how just yet.

In 2013, scientists from the Harvard School of Public Health compared antioxidant levels between people who described themselves as optimistic or pessimistic. The optimists had considerably higher concentrations of carotenoids, pigments found in richly-colored plants like kale, sweet potatoes, and squash.

But the question remains — are people more optimistic because they eat vegetables, or do they eat vegetables because they’re optimistic? Another study published earlier this year demonstrated that women who described themselves as optimistic were more successful at improving their diet. The study’s author hypothesized that optimists tend to have a better handle on traits like self-regulation and coping with stress, which can help them stick to their goals, even during difficult times… like when it’s 3 pm, you’ve had a long day full of never-ending meetings, and all you want is to stuff that leftover cupcake in the break room into your mouth.

close-up of raw vegetables

A diet rich in vegetables has been linked to higher levels of optimism.
Image source: Flickr user Martin Cathrae

In the end, when it comes to workplace wellness, it doesn’t entirely matter whether healthy people are more optimistic or optimistic people are healthier. Both are outcomes that will help employees be more engaged, positive, and productive members of a team. So promote optimism and nutrition in the workplace by creating an environment that embraces healthy eating and positive habits like recognition and team celebrations.

Need a few ideas to get started? Host a lunch and learn with a nutritionist who can share healthy eating tips with your staff. Replace regular Friday pizza deliveries with healthier alternatives like sushi, or celebrate Meatless Monday in the office by catering in a hearty vegetarian spread. Food delivery can be convenient and healthy, and with the arsenal of options available from Waiter.com, there’s no excuse not to celebrate wellness with your team as you create a more positive workplace!

When it comes to feeding employees and coworkers, make your company's food program really count! If your workplace dining plan needs to take it up a notch — or if you don't have one at all — Waiter.com is here to help. From Virtual Cafeteria Service to diverse menus to local takeout & deliveryWaiter.com offers customizable dining solutions for every business and budget. Contact us today to get started!

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