Healthy Food Linked to Happiness
There is more evidence that backs up what we have always been taught: healthy, whole foods have a positive impact on our mental health and well-being. In other words, nutritious foods make us healthier and a happier – a win-win for sure.
We want you to take care of yourself and live your life to its fullest. When we feel good, we make better food choices, we sleep better and we can play and exercise harder. It’s a circle of wellness we want to promote in our Miami community.
The Science of What We Eat and How We Feel
Elizabeth Somer, author of books including Food & Mood, said in an interview with First We Feast blog that what we put into bodies has a huge impact on our emotions. “There has been a growing body of evidence, both animal studies and human studies, to support that we really are what we eat, physically and mentally. And, that makes sense considering that the only place where the brain gets its building blocks is from the diet,” she said.
Link Between Food and Happiness
We need food to survive, but food also gives us pleasure and comfort, which is often what gets folks into trouble and complicates their relationship with food. Overindulging can bring short-term happiness, and restricting food can often have the same effect – making us feel sluggish, interrupting sleep patterns and leading to weight gain. Eating too few calories not only deprives our body of the fuel and proper nutrition it needs for optimal performance, it can scare our system into scarcity mode and holding onto extra weight. The key to long-term happiness is to eat mindfully while respecting and nourishing our bodies.
Food, Depression and Stress
A recent study by Deakin University’s Food and Mood Centre involved male and female participants who were taking antidepressants and/or were in regular psychotherapy. The 67 participants all had unhealthy diets low in fruits and vegetables with little dietary fiber and lots of sugar, processed meats and sodium-rich snacks.
Half of the participants were placed on a healthy diet, while the other half continued their usual diets but were required to attend social support meetings. After three months, 32 percent no longer met the criteria for depression. The results for those in the social support group, showed much lower positive results.
Of special importance is that the research concluded that even for people with major depression, food could be a powerful antidepressant without the negative side effects of medication.
Balance is Key
At the end of the day, a balanced diet rich in lean protein, whole grains, vitamin-and-mineral laden fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats is always a good path to follow. Calorie intake should be adjusted based on physical activity, meaning the more fuel you put in your body, the more energy you want to be expending to make sure you are burning enough calories to maintain a healthy weight.
Every body is unique. While there are certainly nutrition guidelines, each of us has a bit of a different relationship with food based on our ancestral heritage, our body type, how active we are and what we do for a living. When it comes to finding the best way to fuel our body, keeping a food diary over the course of a month or two, will teach us a lot about nutrition, the food we eat and how it makes us feel and perform. Remember that what you eat today may not show up in your body immediately but may take between one and three days to impact how you feel.
Visit us today and talk with one of our practitioners about what changes you can make in your diet to help improve your physical and mental health.
Family Medical Clinic Kendall is an inner-city health clinic in Miami. We care about our community members in the Miami area. Treating families is our life’s work and passion. We support families in guiding them toward healthy nutrition. Located at 9000 SW 137th Avenue, Suite 111, in Miami, we also offer a walk-in clinic, and a lab and diagnostics. Call us today (305) 603-7824.