Health and happiness are two words that are often paired. And notice that ‘health’ always comes before ‘happiness’. Yes, it’s difficult to feel happy if we’re not in bouncing good health. Did you know that diet is considered to be such a critical component of mental health that there’s a field of study called “nutritional psychiatry”? That’s right: mind health that’s directly impacted by what you put in your mouth.
One study, published in Science Direct, July 2017 concluded: “A dietary pattern characterised by a high intake of fruit, vegetables, whole grain, fish, olive oil, low-fat dairy and antioxidants and low intakes of animal foods was apparently associated with a decreased risk of depression. A dietary pattern characterised by a high consumption of red and/or processed meat, refined grains, sweets, high-fat dairy products, butter, potatoes and high-fat gravy, and low intakes of fruits and vegetables is associated with an increased risk of depression.”
The study also warned that the “Western dietary pattern is associated with an increased risk of depression.”
Our theme at Plant and Food Medicine is that the ideal diet varies somewhat according to your individual body type and needs. But there are some constants. Highly processed and refined foods are bad for everyone. They slow you down; they can make you feel ‘foggy’. We encourage you to ‘eat natural.’ Organic fruits and vegetables in their original form retain a maximum amount of nutrients; they satisfy you more readily and they nourish your body, mind and spirit.
And remember that even the best food should be consumed in moderation. Over-eating even good food can dull your mind. Feeling hungry before you eat is a good thing!
Consider getting some professional advice about your particular nutritional needs. It can make a great difference to every aspect of your life, from your physical health, to your energy levels, productivity and even your relationships with other people.