Optimum Nutrition

What you eat (and don’t eat) impacts not only on your mood and emotional well-being, but also your behaviour, clarity of thinking and memory. Given that our brain, nervous system, neurotransmitters (chemicals that communicate mood) and body is built with and replenished by the nutrients that we take into our body, a strong connection between food and mood link probably shouldn’t come as a surprise. For example a survey conducted by the Food and Mood project found that 88 per cent of those studied reported that changing their diet improved their mental health significantly. Twenty six per cent said they had seen large improvements in mood swings, 26 per cent in panic attacks and anxiety and 24 per cent in depression. The participants said that cutting down on food 'stressors' and increasing the amount of 'supporters' they eat helped to improve their mood. Stressors were foods such as sugar (80 per cent), caffeine (79 per cent), alcohol (55 per cent) and chocolate (53 per cent). Supporters included water (80 per cent), vegetables (78 per cent), fruit (72 per cent) and oil-rich fish (52 per cent).
 
Healthy eating is therefore an essential part of creating mental health and emotional well-being and whilst most people know this to some degree few people will actually make a permanent change and improvement to their diets. Getting clear about why this is so, is one of the first steps to actually successfully changing and improving your diet.
 

The Healthy Eating Challenge

 
In a nut-shell we eat what we eat, due to habit. Our eating habits are old patterns of behaviour, usually starting in childhood, that are so ingrained into us, so familiar to us, that they are totally automatic. If we are stressed we turn to cakes, biscuits or chocolate. When we wake up in the morning we pour ourselves a bowl of cereal and milk. When we get to lunch time, we have a cheese sandwich and a packet of crisps. Most of us eat what we do, because we have always eaten that way. Our present food choices are based on what we did in the past. But what if what you eat (and what you fail to eat) is negatively impacting on your mood and health? What if your mood swings, depression, anxiety and poor ability to concentrate was directly linked to your diet? What if your diet is putting you at risk of Alzheimer’s disease, cancer or heart disease?
 
Increasing amounts of research is discovering what nutritionists, dieticians and most ancient healing systems, such as Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine have known for a long time that your thoughts, feelings and actions are intimately influenced by what you eat and drink. In fact their is now good evidence to suggest that every aspect of you – body, health, libido, appearance, behaviour, sleep, motivation, vitality, ability to concentrate and even IQ is influenced for better or for worse by your diet. Getting your diet wrong, by eating the wrong ratios and amounts of macronutrients – carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, eating foods to which you are allergic, intolerant or sensitive, or by eating foods or food components that are known to adversely affect mood – such as high-fructose corn syrup, sugar, trans-fatty acids, hydrogenated fats, additives, chemical contaminants are increasingly being recognized as a major contributor to sub-optimal emotional, physical and mental health. Depression, anxiety, autism, mood swings, ADHD and Alzheimer’s disease are just a handful of the diseases that are linked to poor nutrition.
 

Healthy Eating

 
The goal of my healthy eating programme is to provide you with great tasting food that contains the optimal forms of the macronutrients discussed above, sustains your energy and mood, meets the nutritional and energy requirements of your body, helps you maintain your optimum weight, supports the process of healing and recovery from illness, reduces inflammation, prevents disease and optimises your physical, emotional and psychological potential. In a nutshell, healthy eating helps you thrive and flourish as a human being. What actually constitutes healthy eating does however depend on you. Your level of physical activity, rate of metabolism, lifestyle, life stage, nutrient and hormone levels and the presence of stress all influence what an optimum diet would be for you. What food is available, your food preferences, the financial resources that you have available and also the eating habits of your family are also relevant. Whilst I believe most people would benefit from have a tailored diet created for them by a nutritional therapist and nutritionally trained health professionals, most people in my experience will be able to create a pretty good nutrition programme using the four steps that I use with my own clients.

How to Create Your Personalised Optimum Nutrition Plan

 

Step 1 ------------------>             Follow these Healthy Eating Principles

Step 2 ------------------>             Eat these Foods

Step 3 ------------------>             Avoid/Limit these Foods

Step 4 ------------------>             Take Supplements to Support Your Health





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