Your daily food choices impact your health and well-being today, tomorrow, and long into the future. While we all have our cravings for junk food, what’s important is that the majority of the food you consume is healthy and wholesome. Good nutrition almost always leads to an overall healthy lifestyle.
A healthy diet offers a wide range of benefits. Eating right with the help of nutritional counseling is useful in helping you achieve weight loss goals and to maintain a healthy weight. A proper diet also reduces the risk of chronic diseases, such as cancer and poor cardiovascular health.
Simply put, the more nutritious your diet is, the better your overall health is likely to be. Keep reading to learn about the impacts of nutrition in your diet, along with how nutritional counseling may be beneficial.
How Diet Impacts Physical Health
What you eat has a great impact on physical health. Poor eating habits can lead to a wide range of health conditions. Excessive calorie intake, along with a diet that consists of mostly simple carbohydrates and saturated fats, can have a lasting effect on your health.
Most notably, poor nutrition is the biggest cause of the obesity epidemic in the United States. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, more than 35% of adults are obese, and more than 34% are overweight.1 About 32% of children are overweight or obese.
However, even people who are not overweight or obese face all sorts of physical health risks when they lack proper dietary nutrition. A poor diet greatly increases the risk of being diagnosed with a wide range of health conditions, including:
- Heart disease
Because many of these diseases can be deadly, it’s realistic to say that poor nutrition can be fatal. Therefore, it’s imperative to know the risks of an unhealthy diet and how to make nutritious food choices. By using nutrition counseling techniques, you can reduce your risk of certain diseases and health conditions, while also improving your overall health.
How Food Impacts Your Brain
Poor nutrition can have obvious impacts on other parts of your body, but one organ that often gets overlooked is the brain. Your brain is continuously working. It controls your breathing, movement, thoughts, and heartbeat. Even when you’re sleeping, your brain is still working. This means that your brain needs fuel around the clock, and this fuel comes from the food you eat each day—but what’s in that fuel makes a world of difference in brain function. In simple terms, your diet has a direct impact on the function and structure of your brain, and what you eat affects your mood and emotions.
Consider your brain an expensive car that requires premium gas to run. We all know that putting low-grade gas in a premium car can all but ruin it. In terms of your own health, your brain functions optimally when it’s given quality fuel. By eating a diet that consists of foods that are high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, you can nourish your brain. Wholesome foods also protect your brain from free radicals and oxidative stress, both of which attack healthy cells.
A diet that consists of processed and refined foods isn’t healthy for the brain. In fact, studies have found a correlation between a diet that’s high in refined sugars and impaired brain function.2 A low-quality diet deprives your brain of the nutrients it needs. Poor nutrition also increases the existence of free radicals, which can contribute to inflammation and even injury to brain tissue.
The good news is that by using nutrition counseling techniques, you can improve your diet and give your brain (and body!) the fuel it needs to be in optimal health at all times.
Mental Health & Nutrition: The Connection
Because what you eat can greatly impact your brain structure and function, it’s no surprise that nutrition also plays a role in mental health, emotions, and mood. What you eat impacts the chemicals that your brain produces. One example is serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is produced in the GI tract. This brain chemical regulates appetite, sleep, and mood. While we always think of the digestive system as the part of the body that processes and digests food, it also affects your emotions.
The digestive system is lined with millions of neurons, and their function is highly dependent on the good bacteria that line your intestines. These bacteria create a protective barrier against toxins, minimize inflammation, and improve nutrient absorption. These bacteria also act as pathways that send signals between the gut and the brain.
With enough good gut bacteria, you’re more likely to experience:
- Lower levels of anxiety
- Improved mental outlook
- Reduced stress levels
Studies have found that people who take probiotics are typically happier3 and experience less stress, anxiety, and other negative emotions. This shows just how important it is to understand the foundations of functional nutrition.
It’s important to holistically understand how diet impacts mental health. Studies have found that diets such as the traditional Japanese diet and the Mediterranean diet, when compared to the Western diet, produce a lower risk of depression.4 This is because traditional diets tend to be higher in healthy fuel, such as seafood, fruits, vegetables, and unprocessed grains. These diets also tend to be void of refined and processed sugars.
How Nutritional Counseling Can Improve Your Health
In today’s world, we have more food choices than ever before. While variety is nice, it can be hard to know what foods should and shouldn’t be part of your diet. With the help of nutritional counseling, you can not only understand how certain foods impact your mind and body but learn which foods you should avoid. Nutritional counseling is designed to get your diet back on track and improve your overall well-being.
Dietary changes can be hard, especially when weaning off refined sugars and processed food, but the immense health benefits are worth the change. By making healthier nutritional choices, you’ll immediately feel healthier, happier, more energized, and even better focused.
At the same time, functional nutrition also improves your health now and into the future. By eating a healthy diet, you can protect yourself and minimize the risk of chronic health conditions that can lead to pain and even early death.
Quality Nutritional Counseling
Your diet and overall nutrition have a notable impact on your health, both physical and mental. By making healthy and wholesome food choices, along with taking the proper nutritional supplements, you can greatly improve your well-being.
At Pollack Wellness, we offer trusted and high-quality nutritional counseling to enable you to achieve optimal health. While conventional medicine treats the disease after it occurs, we take a more holistic approach. Our team emphasizes the importance of improving your overall health and well-being in an effort to reduce the risk of disease in the first place!
Are you ready to live a healthier life with less pain and illness? If so, contact our team to learn about how functional medicine can greatly improve your overall health. Call our office today at 631-462-0801 to schedule an appointment.