Your Diet—With a Side of HappinessPosted: August 27, 2012 in Healthy Eating by Craig Primack MD FACP
You’ve heard the saying “you are what you eat.” Well tell us, are you happy? So many people go about their day to day business—wake up, work, eat, sleep and repeat—without ever noticing how unhappy they are until they take a step back and evaluate. Your program for weight management in Chandler or Scottsdale is a great opportunity to take a step back and evaluate your emotional health, as well as your exercise and dietary habits.
Happiness is something that affects you emotionally and isn’t necessarily noticeable to the outside world, but a lot of people show the physical signs of unhappiness in everything they do. We aren’t talking about frowns, tears or worry in facial expressions—though those give away emotions as well. How you carry yourself, your energy level and your weight can speak volumes about your emotional health. Many people eat to match how they feel and then end up feeling worse because of how they eat. It is an endless cycle that can lead to health problems like depression and obesity if you aren’t careful.
Emotionally Improving Your Diet
Your weight management program teaches you that healthy eating habits go beyond what is on the plate. You need to learn to eat when you are hungry, stop eating when you are full and not to eat out of stress or despair. Emotional eating is a crutch that a lot of people hold onto, and once you remove that coping mechanism you are going to need to find another, healthier way to cope with those emotions like running, meditating or journaling.
Being more aware of the foods you eat and why you are eating them can help you feel healthier and make more nutritional dietary choices, but there is another way your diet can affect your emotional health. You’ve heard of brain food and heart food—nutritious items that are good for the function of those vital organs. Well, there are other foods that are also good for the brain and heart, but from an emotional perspective.
Certain nutrients are understood to actually give you a mood boost, helping you feel happier. Here are a few of the key nutrients you should add to your weight loss diet to naturally enhance your mood:
- Vitamin D: You don’t need to eat foods to get Vitamin D. This vitamin can be naturally absorbed through the sunlight, but is also found in butter and mushrooms.
- Calcium: Moderating your calcium levels can manage and prevent anxiety, depression and moodiness as well as improve cognitive function and memory. Calcium is present in dairy, spinach, almonds and kale.
- Fiber: Fiber does more than improve your digestive health. Studies show that diets rich in fiber reduce your risk of depression. You can get more fiber by eating more leafy green and cruciferous vegetables as well as fruit and beans.
While you don’t want to add anything to your medical weight loss diet without first talking to your weight loss doctor about how it will affect your customized weight loss plan, the nutrients listed above would be a healthy addition to most diets.
Don’t let your food give you the blues! Improve your mood and feel happier while you enhance your wellbeing and develop a healthier diet with these nutritional happy foods.