How Do You Maximize The Foods You Eat For Mental Well-being?
There is so much information about eating, not eating, what to eat, what to avoid when to eat, and other suggestions for a healthy body and mind. Although our bodies have a similar structure, each of us requires an individual approach to health maintenance & sustainability. Unfortunately, there is no quick way to achieving and sustaining optimal health. Many organizations, including the American Diabetes Association, have encouraged individuals, specifically those with diabetes, to adopt an individualized approach to eating, doing away with prescribed meal plans and calorie restrictions.
As always, before starting, changing, and ending a meal plan, always consult your health care provider and make sure your health team is aware of your changes. For example, a diagnosis of congestive heart failure may mean fluid restrictions, bone disorders may lead to an increase/decrease in certain minerals, and diabetes may lead to insulin adjustments.
It’s important to remember that our body works together to obtain overall balance, including mental wellness. The body produces chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin (feel-good chemicals), GABA and melatonin (relaxing chemicals), epinephrine, and norepinephrine (flight or fight responses that rev up heart rate and blood pressure), and others to support the body during life events. Too much or too little body chemicals can send us on a roller coaster of emotions or increase our emotional instability. Some of the foods we eat help our body produce enough body-balancing chemicals i.e. apples and serotonin).
For example, cortisol helps fight infection and tells the liver to produce more blood sugar while slowing down insulin’s effectiveness to turn sugar into food. So then, our blood sugars are high, which can impact our ability to think clearly.
This is the fourth week of discussing mental wellness during June of 2021, post-traumatic stress disorder(PTSD) awareness month. Please feel free to look at my previous blogs discussing dismantling myths, letting go of expectations, and reevaluating our emotions and feelings over past experiences.
So, how do you maximize the food you eat for mental wellness?
- You realize that everything you eat affects your well-being.
- You listen to your body. After eating rich food, those noises you hear may be telling you the food is too rich (sweet) for you. Your headaches may be confirming the food is too salty.
- You trust yourself and your body to lead the way. No one can and will know your body better than you, no matter the affiliations, degrees, and titles.
- You treat knowledge as knowledge and not a matter of fact for you.
- You are open and flexible to a new way of doing and thinking.
- You become a student of your health. Research foods using reliable sources and sites (National Institutes of Health, World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control, and others.)
So, continue to do what you can to achieve and sustain optimal health. You are worth every minute.
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Make this lifetime great!