About: how easy it is to start with changing food habits
Research has established that happiness is directly linked to food, lifestyle and exercise. A person is more likely to become unhappy if they are eating unhealthy. Their lifestyle is often chaotic and they do not exercise. Our personal happiness and state of mind are directly related to how our bodies work and how we take care of ourselves every day. The Roman poet Juvenalis (which actually means young) wrote: Mens sana in corpore sano or a healthy mind in a healthy body. It comes from a satiric poem and it is the first in a list of what is desirable in life. A healthy mind in a healthy body is one of the most important things in life.
What the Romans already knew we seem to have forgotten. But now it has been established scientifically. What are the risk factors for mental health, and how can they be identified, and what are the most important ways to remediate. Creating awareness of relatively simple factors in being healthy and happy is the best prevention. Some people are more sensitive that others. Therefore, it is very important to take action at an early stage. It is always possible to change of course.
Food and lifestyle are factors that are relatively easy to control. The single most important factor is the food we eat and lifestyle patterns such as sleep and exercise, followed by physiological factors. This means that unhappy people can consciously choose to follow a healthy lifestyle. Just by eating healthy every day they will feel happier and are more effective mentally. They will also be more resilient against drawbacks that can always occur in professional life and will have more reserves to become creative and make positive and constructive changes in life.
Eating food that is rich in fibers is THE key to a healthy mind. The brain uses a lot of energy, about of 20% of energy the body can provide whereas it weighs only 2% of the total body. It is also very efficient in the way it uses this energy. To be able to be so efficient and effective the brain needs a continuous stream of healthy energy, which means healthy sugars and healthy fats created by the body. Sugars obtained from food that is rich in fibers such as glucose that is created by our second brain, the gut. The gut is largely responsible for our emotional well-being and moods and also affects also the working of our first brain by creating the right nutrition for the brain and by creating emotional well-being and a good mood.
Your gut is your second brain. And fiber rich foods such as leafy green salads, vegetables and whole grains are very healthy for your second brain. It creates happiness and a good mood. They can can be eaten with every meal of the day. Eating unhealthy, such as processed foods and high fat dairy creates unhappiness and has a direct impact on the functioning of the brain. Unhealthy foods directly affect the second brain and also the first brain. And because the first brain does not function properly, we keep eating unhealthy which is a vicious circle. However, a virtuous cycle can be created that involves eating foods very rich in fiber which is central to the health of the gut and the brain.
Eating fiber rich foods is a key modifiable factor in gut health and leads to better sleeping, less snacking and more exercise or physical activity and better mental health. And this is noticeably almost immediately. It can be achieved with a vegetarian diet but also with non-vegetarian diets or with diets that involve eating some fish and white meat but not with every meal. Eating vegetarian can be a good thing but does not always involve eating more fibers.
Vegetarians need to take care of eating food rich in fibers. Many non-vegetarians think that vegetarians are more unhappy than meat eaters because of vitamin and mineral deficiencies that can negatively impact mental health. The main cause is a lack of vitamin B12 and Omega-6 fatty acids both of which are available in meats and fish. Vitamin B12 plays an important role in an individual’s mood and mental functioning. It is very important to compensate a fully vegetarian diet with alternatives for vitamin B12 and Omega-6 to create a balanced diet. One way to do it is by regularly eating some fish or chicken or to eat vegetarian alternatives that contain B12 and Omega-6 or to use add daily supplements or foods such as eggs, milk, yoghurt and cheese that contain B12. For Omega 3 and 6 fats it is sufficient to eat seeds such as chia seeds, flax seeds and walnuts, coconut flakes. Prunes and dates contain a lot of vitamin C.
Hormonal imbalance such a surplus of phytoestrogens caused by a vegetarian diet needs to addressed by nourishing yourself with hormone balancing foods (cruciferous vegetables) such as broccoli, cabbage, rocket, cauliflower, pak choi, kale, Brussels sprouts, watercress and turnips. Eating these vegetables activate enzymes that enhance the detoxification process of the liver. Toxins and surplus hormones are removed from the body and estrogen is balanced. Add these vegetables to smoothies juices and eat them with olive oil and lemon juice. Add them to salads or oven dishes or make soups from broccoli, watercress or cauliflower. Eat sauerkraut or oxheart cabbage in an oven dish.
Accomplishing the goal of eating healthy is maybe the first step. However, it is not enough to just start eating vegetarian by eating less food and replace with soy alternatives. You need to create the right balance whether it is based on vegetarian, pescatarian, vegan or non vegetarian foods. The right balance means that the first and second brain are in balance to create the right emotional and mental health which are the precursors for happiness. The single most important thing however is to eat more fibers as part of breakfast, lunch and dinner and not to eat any processed foods and unhealthy fats. So, to achieve mens sana in corpore sano is not so difficult to do. The Romans already knew which is probably why a Mediterranean diet is still one of the best. Actually more a way of life than a diet, and it is also very tasty and good looking. Accomplishing the goal of healthy food, healthy body and healthy mind can be reached in a few attainable steps..
Recommendation: Start with simple things such as changing eating habits by eating fibers with every meal: breakfast, lunch and dinner. It is a small step with a huge impact.
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