Read time: 5 minute read

Healthy eating gets a bad wrap at times – one one hand you have people claiming that it doesn’t matter, and on the other side are those who believe one bit of ‘bad’ food will literally cause disease.

So what should you believe?

The truth is always somewhere in the middle. That means, you can’t be healthy on a junk food diet, just as you can’t get sick from the occasional ‘fast-food’ binge.  

Most often when working with clients, the issue around nutrition is… 🥁

overwhelm! 

Women have learned to fear so many things that they’re stuck in a kind of paralysis, and because they don’t know, and they are stressed about it, they make less-than-ideal food choices because, well, why bother? If you don’t know what to do, and healthy food is also bad, you may as well eat what makes you happy, right? 

This post is dedicated to the main ideas around nutrition that I share with my clients. I feel this kind of approach works best. Rather than vilifying foods or eating styles, I focus on the primary reasons we need nutrition in the first place. And from there, women can make more informed choices. 

1: Some nutrients that our bodies need only come from our diet

Our bodies run off macronutrients, vitamins and minerals, taking in what it needs and excreting the excess. Our bodies can produce some of what it needs via other pathways in the body, but not all. 

As an example, fats are essential nutrients, meaning that if we don’t eat them, our body can’t produce them in order to sustain life long term. The essential fats are omega 3 fats, and these are not present in ‘fast’ or packet foods. So if you have a diet that doesn’t include whole foods laden with omega 3, you will become deficient. Deficiency in omega 3 leads to disorders associated with the nervous system – depression, anxiety, insomnia, multiple sclerosis, parkinsons and more. 

Similarly, there are amino acids (proteins) that we only acquire from our diets. A vegan diet often leads us to be deficient in essential amino acids. So, healthy nutrition makes it harder for you to miss out on important nutrients, and is more protective against deficiency. 

2: Nutrition supports mental health

When speaking on mental health, we look at two body systems – the gut and nervous system. Both of these systems need to be supported through healthy lifestyle choices, like limiting stress and sleeping well. Nutritionally, specific nutrients such as omega-3, zinc, magnesium, b-vitamins, and tyrosine are all required, and are acquired, through the diet. 

Deep-fried foods and preservatives can have a negative effect on both the gut and nervous system, inflaming it, and causing the gut wall to become ‘leaky’. A leaky gut can lead to inflammation and auto-immune reactions throughout the body, as food particles and toxicants make their way through the ‘holes’ and into the bloodstream, where the immune system then launches an attack. The downstream effects of this include immune activation, allergies, fatigue, depressive symptoms and anxiety in some individuals. 

When your mind is healthy, and your nervous system not inflamed, it is easier to make positive choices for your life and the direction it takes moving forward. When things are cloudy or you’re stressed, this is much harder to do. I think of it as clearing fog off the windows so you can see through them properly. 

So healthy nutrition protects your nervous system and gut, and thus it protects your mental health. 

3: Healthy nutrition = disease prevention

Mental health aside, many health conditions can be supported by altering the diet from an unhealthy, to healthy. A diet high in processed foods, including meats, junk foods, saturated fats, and alcohol, can once again cause dysfunction in the gut and nervous system. This can manifest in disease processes which may otherwise not occur, such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and auto-immune diseases. 

Much of your immune system is based in the gut lining, and as mentioned under ‘mental health’, heavily processed foods can disturb the gut lining, impairing the immune system all round. What does your immune system do? It is the first line of defence against invading pathogens – parasites, viruses, and bacteria, keeping these critters OUT of the bloodstream, brain, and body tissues so that you can thrive.

So a healthy diet leads to a healthy body, one which is less likely to develop lifestyle diseases. 

4: Your body produces cells that react to your internal environment, whether the environment is healthy, or not. 

New cells are built and old ones die every day, and they grow in accordance with the health state of your existing cells. An unhealthy environment does not create a healthy cell. It can’t. 

Unhealthy cells can lead to illness and disease in susceptible individuals. Your nutrition is one of the key components of the ‘environment’ those cells live in, and the easiest one you can gain control over. Other elements of the ‘environment’ include chemicals you’re exposed to, your family relations, overall feelings of safety and emotional health. 

So those are my top 4 reasons for eating a healthy, wholesome diet. Once you are in a state of health, eating deep-fried or refined packet foods will not throw this system off balance. 

Want to master this topic? Check out my super-affordable mini-course on Nutrition

Jen x

 

 

 

 

 

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