Did you know that a deficiency in certain vitamins and minerals could affect your mood, even quite severely?
I suspect you may be aware that additives in food can cause havoc with behaviour, and maybe you even know about the problems with sugar. So much has been written and shown on TV about these issues.
However, you may not have realised that vitamins, minerals and blood sugar levels affect your mental well-being. Any problems with depression, anxiety, stress, PMS, irritability and mood swings can all be due - at least in part - to what you swallow!
In my counselling practice I use every opportunity to inform my clients about the importance of a healthy diet, with plenty of fat (yes... fat), fruit, vegetables, nuts, fish and meat (yes... even fatty meat too, unless you're a vegetarian of course).
I still shudder when I think about some of my past clients: one who drank two litres of cola a day on top of countless teas and coffees, another with a diet of only chips and pizzas... and some of my younger clients in school - living off chocolate!
Are you familiar with 'comfort eating'? Do you lack motivation, suffer from insomnia, feel down and/or feel tired all the time?
Have you ever considered that your diet could play a role - perhaps even a huge role - in the way you're feeling?
Research has shown that there's a significant link between depression and weight problems*. Hardly rocket science! It's very understandable that you may be feeling down if you're overweight. Equally, when you're depressed, you probably can't be bothered much with exercise.
And guess what... that's most certainly going to have a 'knock-on' effect on your relationships (which after all are the focus of this website).
A weight problem affects so many areas of your life: your self-esteem, your activity levels, your energy, your sleep and so on.
Read on for the good news if you're dealing with a weight problem. But first ...
A deficiency in:
niacin, pyridoxine, folic acid or Vit B12, can cause you to:
A deficiency in: essential fat (such as Omega 3) can cause you to:
A deficiency in magnesium, can cause you to:
These are just a few examples! Even if you don't know exactly what it all is and what it all does, the list hopefully makes very clear the connection between diet and mental health.
Have you ever considered that your resilience could be less than optimal (or maybe completely depleted) because you're deficient in certain vitamins and minerals? Or that maybe you're feeling anxious because your blood sugar level is 'all over the place'?
Just think for a moment what happens to you during stressful times. Now consider how your body might be coping when it has to deal with the stress of all the wrong foods?
How much energy will there be left for you to deal with whatever's going on for you on a day-to-day basis?
On the whole your body compensates for - and adjusts to - stress, but too much of it for too long can cause everything to go terribly wrong. Physical, environmental and emotional stress all add to the load.
By eating the right kind of foods...
... you'll have far more energy to cope with stressful situations
... you'll be less irritable
... you'll be more patient
... you won't suffer so much from that inner tension
... and you'll sleep much better
Sounds good! But there's more... (food mentioned towards the end of the presentation, but do watch it all)
The right kind of foods help to build new nerve cells in your brain!
Of course, it follows that the opposite is true too. You can seriously undermine your brain's capacity to function optimally by gobbling up 'non-foods' and/or alcohol.
Did you know...?
Blood sugar imbalances can cause:
I hope that I've shown you how important a healthy diet and lifestyle is for your mental well-being.
I've seen my clients' moods improve drastically once they've changed their food intake. Depression disappears much quicker with counselling and a good diet.
Most definitely they experienced a reduction in anxiety and they slept much better!
As an aid to improving your eating habits, I'd so recommend exploring self hypnosis. It's a powerful and cost-effective way to address your issues, and get you started on the road to a happier, healthier you :-)
*Ellis, D. Strong Link Between Obesity and Depression. Adelaidean, November 2009, via University of Adelaide