Mind, body, and soul – Can the right food choices affect our well-being?

By Lena Hemsworth

Food is an integral part of our daily lives. We can’t go very long without it and it’s an aspect of our lives that gives us energy and motivation. However, as it turns out, food plays an even more important role in our lives than we might have previously thought. Just about every sphere of our lives is dictated by the nutrients and nourishment we provide our bodies. It’s no surprise that so many people are looking into proper nutrition as a cure for countless ailments. Below are some ways that eating habits affect our physical and mental state.

1. A holistic view of health

How would you define health? If someone in the streets walked up to you and asked you if you were healthy, you would probably be inclined to say yes. If you aren’t currently suffering from any diseases and don’t have the sniffles, why would you have cause to think you’re unhealthy? It’s mostly a term used to describe certain states of our body and mind that are very noticeable, like various diseases.

However, this might be considered a bit of a narrow way to view health. Organizations like the WHO use the term “health” with a broader meaning. It’s defined as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. With this in mind, you can’t really limit health by how you feel at any given moment. You need to take other factors into consideration. It combines every aspect of our lives, both physical and otherwise.

You will find that the umbrella term “health” often also includes one’s spiritual and religious wellbeing. As long as it’s something that’s part of your life, it affects your health. This is why it’s so important to approach eating habits with the same kind of care as you would approach any essential part of your life.

  1. Staying grounded makes you feel whole

Today’s world is manufactured to make us feel healthy and satisfied in just about every aspect of our lives. The only issue is that this doesn’t always translate well with our inner vision of the world. It has only been a short time since man has spent most of his time in nature. Living off the ground you walk on was a completely normal part of life and people adapted in whichever way they could. Food was something to be searched for, rather than simply picked up at leisure.

While this time was very harsh on a person’s mind and body, it was pretty nourishing for their spirit. Constantly struggling to survive and succeed was just another aspect of one’s life. This part has thankfully changed for the better, but that doesn’t mean every single change has had a positive effect. 

Consider the type of food that is sold in supermarkets. It’s often processed to the point of being unrecognizable. Because of this, it also loses much of its nutritional value. Natural and unprocessed food keeps your body in check and makes you feel grounded. It also gives you all the nutrients that your body needs in proportions that it’s used to. 

Make sure you aim for natural ingredients as often as possible. Everything from the spices you use to the meat you cook should be as fresh as possible. You want to be the one preparing and processing it so that you don’t lose out on any nutrients and minerals. 

  1. Diversity is a key part of nutrition

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Keeping a healthy diet requires that you watch what you eat. However, which attribute of the food will you be checking for? People often count calories and watch the fat content of their food to make sure that it’s healthy enough to improve their figure. There’s a lot more to it than first meets the eye. 

Some food comes from the nurturing ground, while others bloom from the branches of trees. Even meat isn’t all the same, despite coming from the same animal in many cases. Some animals are kept in cages and restricted from their natural habitat. This can affect the quality and nutritive value of your food. Plus, the stress that comes from being away from their element can make the resulting food spiritually weak. 

You need to make sure you get your food from a variety of different sources. Preferably, you will want food that is extracted from its most natural habitat. Things that are farmed on an industrial scale or kept in bad environments wouldn’t be an ideal choice. Have part of your food come from the ground in the area that you live in. Allow yourself to become a part of the local ecosystem by contributing to it. It’s a lot healthier than getting processed things served on your plate.

  1. Proper nourishment invites positivity

The role of food in our mental and spiritual health is often underestimated. It’s not something you can easily notice at first. When you find yourself on a strong and healthy diet, you’re giving your body all the nutrients that it needs, which tells your body that it’s time to feel good about it. If your diet is lacking in certain elements, you’re going to find that it will reflect on how you feel. Both your physical and mental state can be affected.

There have been many studies that have looked at food as a source of psychological problems. As it turns out, individuals that have a healthy diet are less likely to feel anxious or depressed than individuals that are on a processed food diet. More traditional kinds of eating habits that contained lots of fruit and vegetables seem to win out against a generic fast-food eating lifestyle. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that healthy food creates a healthier environment for our mind and body, but the effects tend to be pretty pronounced. 

There are a couple of minerals that have a significant effect on how we perceive things. It has been shown that getting an adequate amount of zinc and magnesium can help curbs symptoms of depression. These substances are probably used by parts of our minds on a day-to-day basis. Lower levels of these elements are likely to leave pathways in our mind obstructed or unfinished. It’s important that you consume a very varied diet that contains all the healthy vitamins and minerals that your body craves.

  1. An overabundance can keep you down

The quantity of food you eat is just as important as the quality of it. The current trend of overeating and gorging oneself is something that has taken over much of the western world, with noticeable consequences. People are getting bigger than ever before, leading to a variety of health problems. Sometimes, having an overabundance of food isn’t a very good thing.

The health problems associated with obesity are pretty well known by now. There’s a huge risk of heart and kidney problems that can develop into potentially fatal issues that can’t be ignored. However, there’s also the element of mental health that can’t be disregarded. There’s a strong correlation between those who are chronically obese and having symptoms of depression. It’s estimated that nearly half of those who are diagnosed with depression are obese at the time of diagnosis. 

It’s understandable that they would not feel good about their body and that it puts them under a lot of stress, but there’s more to it than that. Part of the issue is how a large intake of healthy food directly influences our mind. Insulin resistance, which eventually develops as someone gains and maintains a lot of weight, can affect your mind and mood. Stress is an enormous factor when it comes to both the mental and physical aspects of overeating. It’s often the reason that someone might turn to excess amounts of food. Eating as a coping mechanism for stress can create an unhealthy cycle which perpetuates itself and causes further weight gain. It’s a well-known phenomenon that is hard to prevent. 

  1. Providing energy invigorates the body

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A surprising number of people aren’t aware of how much they lack energy. Just because you’re getting enough meals in your system doesn’t mean that they’re providing you with the right kind of nourishment that your body needs. Keep in mind that your spiritual energy is also lowered when you don’t get enough energy from food.

If your diet is lacking sufficiently healthy foods, you’re going to find it difficult to do anything meaningful throughout your day. This kind of sluggishness can be attributed to your lower levels of energy. Your intuition will tell you that you need sugar to gain that energy, but it’s a bit more complicated than that.

Eating processed, sugary foods won’t give you the kind of energy you need. A candy bar will only cause your insulin to rise and you will feel tired again soon after. Energy drinks and sugary sodas will act in much the same way. You need natural and slow-releasing sugars for your body to adapt properly and absorb that energy in an efficient way.

The fruit is a great source of natural sugar that isn’t too quick to release. However, the fruit doesn’t always contain enough of the sugar that you need. It also takes a while to digest, especially fruit that’s full of fibre. For a quicker boost of energy, you can always consume organic carbohydrate supplements that are chock-full of slow-releasing sugar. They often have lots of electrolytes that your body craves. As long as you consume convenient and healthy sources of carbs, you’re going to find that you have the motivation and mental clarity to go about your day.

  1. Nutrition and sleeping

In today’s world, you would be hard-pressed to find someone that is getting healthy amounts of sleep at night. The moment that there’s any work or school to be done, people start cutting their sleep. This is a common, but detrimental habit that countless individuals have. Sacrificing sleep doesn’t just make you sleepy, it leaves you feeling drained and incomplete. It’s not something you want to do to yourself in the long run, Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happens to many, and they often stay underslept for longer time periods.

Skipping out on sleep is not only a surefire way to feel sluggish every single day, but it’s also an open invitation to various long-term health problems. What causes irregular sleeping patterns and can the problem be solved? Diet is a big factor that needs to be considered when talking about sleeping patterns. People’s working habits aren’t the only thing that’s changed over the last couple of decades. They’ve also started eating differently. Meal schedules have gotten out of sync and people are eating as they go along.

There’s nothing wrong with eating whenever you please, but you need to keep in mind that eating at certain times of the day can affect your sleep quite a bit. If you’ve ever heard your parents say that you shouldn’t be eating right before bed, you should know that there is something to that saying. Our bodies aren’t accustomed to eating before we go to sleep. It’s something that can cause a variety of problems.

For one, your digestive system is mostly shut down as you’re sleeping in bed. If you introduced food to it before going to sleep, it’s going to have to work overtime and try to digest it. This can leave the food improperly digested and your tummy might twist and turn as you sleep. Food that is rich in sugar can spike your insulin and cause you to wake up or lose out on quality sleep. Because of this, it’s pretty important that you avoid having too much food before going to sleep.

Conclusion

Our diet provides our body with so many elements that are crucial to our body’s everyday functions. When that diet is lacking, the effects eventually become noticeable and interfere with our lives. It’s something that doesn’t come up often, but there’s something to be said about the role of healthy and unprocessed foods in a happy and well-balanced lifestyle. Consider the above points and you might get the guidance you need to improve your life with your dietary choices.

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