Shift Work and Diet: How Well Do You Really Know About Shift Work?

by Taylor Tsang, Roster
Jan 18 2021, 11:05pm
Shift Work and Diet: How Well Do You Really Know About Shift Work

【Shift work becomes a norm in different industries in response to the economic development, and people in this generation have already been used to such a system. Although it is not something new to us, do we really have an ample understanding of shift work?】

There is no doubt that working irregular hours can pose a negative impact on the health. Special attention to the food and the drink should be given by the shift workers, with a view to minimizing the health risks brought by the shift works. Here are a few healthy eating tips for you to stay healthy even with a shift schedule.

1. Choose a balanced diet

Gastrointestinal problems like indigestion, adnominal pain, and constipation are some of the common health problems among shift workers. Eating a healthy diet plays a vital role in protecting your health, so a variety of healthy foods especially whole foods should be consumed. The term “whole foods” is describing the unprocessed, and unrefined foods, which have a much higher nutritional value than many processed foods. Unhealthy snacks that high in sugars, sodium, and saturated fat should be limited, but consuming nuts and fruits as a substitute can be a good choice.

2. Skip high-iron foods at night

According to a research, it revealed that night shift workers should avoid eating high-iron foods as it may disrupt the circadian clock in your livers, and it may further affect your health. Like many other organs, the liver also has an internal timing system. But high-iron foods will aggregate the biological clock system in the liver, so the normal metabolism of the body will fail if your liver does not synchronize with the brain’s biological clock. As a result, you will suffer from health issues and health diseases may occur. Shift workers experience higher incidents of type 2 diabetes, obesity, and cancer, and the research showed that it is also associated with disrupted circadian clocks. So, it is better for you not to eat foods that rich in iron like beef, spinach, and offal during a night shift.

3. Supplement with B vitamins

You can find vitamin B in many different foods like milk, red meat, vegetables, and fish, etc., but it is still possible for you to be deficient in vitamin B. Vitamin B complex, which is vital for maintaining good health and well-being, is composed of eight B vitamins including B1,2,3,5,6,7,12. Each of them has different contributions to your body and usually B-complex supplements pack all eight B vitamins into one pill. You can discuss with your healthcare provider before adding any supplements to your routine, their professional suggestions can help you determine the best choice and recommend ways to increase your B vitamin intake.

4. Establish your meal routine

Eating your main meal before going to work can help keep you fuelled for the next 12 hours, so you only need to have a small additional meal or some healthy snacks during work. It will neither lead to weight gain nor hurt your stomach. Many people are already exhausted after working a night shift, but still, don’t forget to have a small meal or snack before bed. Healthy snacks such as yogurt with berries, cereal with milk and fruits, or a slice of brown bread may help you sleep better and stop you from waking due to hunger.