Our diet is closely tied to our health and wellbeing. The most thought-of connection is the relationship between diet and weight, but I don’t want to talk about weight, I want to talk about how the food we eat can serve us, I mean really, truly nourish us, mind and body.
The good news is that the type of diet that has been shown to keep our bodies healthy, prevent disease, enhance cognition, support mood and increase productivity is one and the same. These diets, (and by diet I just mean the food we eat, not diet as in weight loss) are all:
- high in fruits, vegetables 🍎🥦
- include whole grains, beans and legumes (no not all carbs need to be avoided) 🍞🥐
- include poly and monounsaturated fats like nuts, seeds and avocados 🥑🥜
- include lean proteins, particularly fish high in omega fatty acids 🐠🍗
- limit red meat and processed meat 🥩🥓
- limit highly processed food 🍬🍩
- avoid sugary drinks 🥤🧃
- limit alcohol 🍷🍺
Keep in mind that inclusive in the word diet is movement and sleep– 2 other “nutrients” when it comes to keeping ourselves healthy, mind and body.
Here are 10 Fun Facts about food (and some tips on how to incorporate them into your diet
- People who consumed 5 or more servings of veggies per day were 20% more productive at work than those who did not (Ummmm, get 5 servings of fruits and veggies in every day)
- Antioxidants and polyphenols found in fruits and veggies enhance immunity, reduce inflammation and improve cardiometabolic health. (vary colors- different colors mean different nutrients/antioxidants)
- 15-20 grams of protein at breakfast can suppress hunger hormones all day long and reduce snacking (consider 4 egg whites, 1 cup greek yogurt or cottage cheese, or a high quality protein shake or bar)
- Fatty fish are an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids which activate the innate and adaptive immune response (make sure you get at least 2 servings of fish per week)
- Ultra or highly processed foods are devoid of nutrients and nutritional value and do not suppress hunger hormones as much as the real thing (Shoot for whole unprocessed foods as opposed to processed foods)
- Beans and legumes provide a sustained rise in blood sugar and therefore energy, without the crash and burn of quick and processed carbs (replace your sandwich bread with salad and include a cup of beans, lentils, soybean)
- Fasting will trigger the release of the stress hormone adrenaline and stimulate the sympathetic nervous system taking attention away from focus and cognitive activities (don’t skip meals)
- Choline found in egg yolk is an important for nerve and brain function and has a positive effect on cognition
- Healthy gut bacteria is associated with reduced mood disorders and depression (Incorporate fermented foods like yogurt, miso, tempeh or a high quality probiotic into our diet)
- Symptoms of depression dropped significantly among young adults after they followed a Mediterranean-style pattern of eating for three weeks (follow the bullets above)
Ask yourself this, next time you sit to a meal, how does this serve me? It is a powerful question and a powerful way of eating with intention.
To a happy and healthy week!
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