The importance of nutrition for wellbeing
More and more research is coming out showing the link between good diet and good mental wellbeing. Good nutrition has both a short term and long term impact on your mental wellbeing and shouldn’t be taken for granted when you are looking after yourself.
Indeed, healthy food choices are often the first thing to go when we are feeling under pressure. Most importantly, a healthy relationship with food should be established, with a variety in produce and required nutrients in the form of proteins, fats and carbohydrates.
Eat three meals a day
We should be eating at least three nutritious meals a day. Try and avoid skipping meals as this can lead to low mood, lethargy and grumpiness.
If you get hungry between meals, including healthy snacks like fresh fruit, vegetables or nuts can help keep you going. The less processed the food the better, try to aim for slow-release sugars from your food like wholegrain, pulses, fruits and vegetables. These contain Thiamin of Vit B1 which has been associated with control of mood.
Maintain a healthy weight
Ideally, we should be trying to maintain a healthy weight for our size, extremes of either, or fluctuating between the two can have a negative effect on our mental well being. Combining regular, healthy exercise with good nutrition choices is the best step towards positive mental wellbeing.
Always remember, however, that life is too short – eat the cake!! Treat yourself once in a while and then get back to making good choices again.
Tips for nutrition
Try and eat breakfast, lunch and dinner. Combining healthy proportions of protein, fats and carbohydrates. Variety is the spice of life – and of your nutrition, choose fresh whole ingredients with as little processed foods as possible.
Try cooking for yourself, find a recipe online or in a cookbook, start small if you haven’t done it before. Many people find cooking relaxing and enjoyable! Cook for friends or family and make it into an occasion. Prepare a list of good foods to buy at the start of the week – some people find it helpful to plan their meals for each day in order to shop smart.
Eat the cookie or the ice cream, don’t be annoyed at yourself for doing so, just don’t overindulge, moderation is key.
A Final Thought
If you or someone you know has an unhealthy relationship with food, there are professional supports out there which can be found in our Need Help Now section.
There’s no harm in asking for help when it comes to nutrition, seeking advice from a dietician or certified nutritionist can help you figure out what works for you and if done properly, can be beneficial to your mental well being.