When you think of mental health and overall well-being do you think of nutrition as being important? Do you believe your lifestyle choices have an impact on how you feel emotionally? If you said yes you are correct! It may seem obvious to some that this is the truth but there are many people out there who may not know this and it’s through no fault of their own.
We live in a society that has gotten away from the basics when it comes to nutrition. There are many reasons for this phenomenon including the abundance of processed foods available, politics, traditional western views of medicine, the desire for instant grati- cation and many others. All of these things have gotten us away from recognizing the truth that what we put in our mouths matters more than just how it a ects our weight. What we eat impacts our health on so many levels it is impossible to cover even a tenth of them in this article. I have witnessed a disregard for the importance of nutrition in all aspects of our population from doctors and the government to people su ering from nutrition related issues them- selves. Some of the more obvious examples of this phenomenon can be seen in people who have nutrition related health concerns such as type II diabetes or cardiac concerns. Eating more healthfully can help people with these types of diagnoses improve their health signi cantly yet there are those who simply do not make the changes needed for better health. What prevents them from changing how they eat to improve their health? It’s a curious
thing and I deal with it all the time with my clients. Lesser known conditions that bene t from good nutrition include many mental health issues. Let’s look at anxiety, for example. Did you know that low glucose levels can cause anxiety? Many people who are on very restrictive diets su er from anxiety including those with eating disorders. Eating regularly every 3 to 4 hours signs cantly reduces anxiety. Healthy eating and regular exercise has been found to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression more e ectively than any medication yet it’s rarely prescribed by physicians to help people manage these conditions. There is much research out there and ongoing that looks at speci c nutrients for specific conditions and that information is also outside the scope of this article. Please know, though, that it is out there.
If we back this concept up to a place of overall health and well- being, eating healthy and exercising regularly is one of the best things people can do for themselves. Stress, anxiety, depression and many other health concerns diminish when a person eats well. The Catch-22 here is that if a person isn’t feeling well, one of the last things they feel like doing is preparing and eating healthy foods. Eating well is not just physically healthy but emotionally and spiritually as well. There is something very satisfying about preparing good nutritious foods to eat and sitting down to eat them.
So before you decide to disregard food as important to your health consider how often you eat and how you feel right after you eat.
If you feel satis ed and physically well you are on the right track.
If you feel lousy after you eat whether from the type or amount of food you took in consider that this way of eating may be having a more substantial impact on your health and well-being. It may be time for a change! Until next time, eat healthy, be happy.