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Does an apple a day keep the stresses away? Why nutrition is crucial for a great mind

By Christie Mappoura, Account Manager, Canton Marketing Solutions

Christie is part of the latest PMU Cohort

I know, I know… It is sometimes hard to eat nutritiously, especially when you walk into a supermarket and are imploded with all of the below:

-Unhealthy products sold at promotional prices

-Ingredient lists as long as your arm

-Healthy items tucked away in random aisles

-The smell of the bakery filtering through the air con

Whilst the scenarios above may throw a spanner in the works, brands are continuing to build unity around the question ‘what is actually healthy?’ as well as the producers improving organic and regenerative practices for people. It is possible to be nutritious, although it does require some effort within yourself.

Think about it. Your brain is always “on.” It takes care of everything, including your thoughts, movements, breathing and your senses; it works hard 24/7, even when you’re sleeping. Meeusen (2014), found that nutrition can affect multiple brain processes, for example, thinking, by, ‘regulating neurotransmitter pathways, synaptic transmission, membrane fluidity, and signal-transduction pathways’. In research, the relationship between nutrition and the way we think has been compared to an expensive car. An expensive car will function better when it’s fed the top-end petrol just like when we eat top-end nutritious food, this can help the brain function properly ultimately affecting the way we think. Ultimately, the evolution of mind and the way we think has grown over the years as nutrition in the world has improved (Herforth et al. 2015). It’s scary to think that as our food systems change, so do our minds.

Let’s be honest, we all have our good days and our bad days and we all have foods we like and dislike, but is there a link between feeling good and the foods we eat? The answer is absolutely: Good Food = Good Mood. The consequences of a poor nutrition in-take can subsequently lead to depression having an impact on our mood. Owen (2017), has named nutrition as a ‘‘complementary medicine’ and even small improvements in your nutritional in-take may translate to large gains in your mental health and wellbeing. Who doesn’t feel sluggish and bad within themselves when you’ve eaten a large domino’s pizza to yourself? With this being said, nutrition may play a role with more indirect roles to your mood and mental wellbeing. Individuals that eat a more balanced diet may be more inclined to behave in ways that are known to lessen the chance of mental health illnesses. For example, staying clear of smoking, taking part in physical exercise and having relatively good sleep habits. Start concentrating on how different foods affect your mood, especially comparing junk food to nutritious food…you will see a difference.

Many of us are restricted to our work desks for 8 hours a day and as a result, find it hard to eat nutritiously. However, in today’s fast-paced society, nutrition can help combat difficulties in the workplace. Often your mood can be affected in the workplace whether that be positively or negatively. Interestingly, your mood at work can change frequently depending on your work environment and culture and unfortunately, there are a range of obstacles at work that can affect your mood negatively causing negative thoughts, for example:

-Email arguments 

-Office politics paranoia

-Poor attention 

-Late nights and too much pressure 

However, there are ways to fight the above with nutrition. Research has shown that unhealthy eating in the workplace can reduce an employee’s efficiency by 20% which is directly linked to work accidents like poor attention and paranoia. Whilst it is not always easy to squeeze in a lunch break amongst pressured deadlines and demanding work schedules, it is so important to take a nutritious lunch break to regain your energy – DO NOT SKIP LUNCH. Eating a well-balanced and nutritious diet can contribute to a whole range of benefits for both employers and employees, including decreased stress and anxiety, boosts in mood and energy levels leading to positive thoughts in the work environment. – Fuel yourself with success, your body is just like an expensive car, remember that. 

You now can’t deny that optimal nutritional food in-take is essential for our brain health and thinking; your food choices today determine what’s on your mind tomorrow.

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